Barbara Shaw Gifts - My Bad Experience

Several months ago, I stopped in the Barbara Shaw shop on Emek Refaim in Jerusalem after I received an email advertising a bag that I liked. The tote bag was not in stock, but the salesperson offered to ship it to my house in Israel (I paid the cost of the bag and delivery upfront). When I called the store after several weeks had gone by without the delivery of a bag, the salesperson promised to send another one. When I called a second time as months had gone by and still no bag received, the store refused to do anything. Despite my request, I did not receive a refund nor a bag (and no proof of delivery).  I have ordered items worldwide and have never faced a situation where a vendor has not delivered the product or a refund. Needless to say, I will not be patronizing Barbara Shaw gifts anymore!

Whiskey Bar - a wow experience even if you are not a whiskey lover

Recently, we had an amazing evening at the Whiskey Bar and Museum in the Sarona complex in Tel Aviv. Being surrounded by 1,000 whiskey bottles with the chance to try whiskeys from all over the world must be heaven for whiskey lovers. But the very hip atmosphere of the underground wine cellar and the excellent food from appetizers to desserts will win everyone else over as well (and the whiskey cocktails and whiskey dessert are a must, even if you are not a whiskey lover!).

Whiskey Bar - Sarona Compound, Tel Aviv - 03-955-1105 Reservations highly recommended

See the Country on a Segway

Segways may be of limited use in "real life", but they are a great way to see the nooks and crannies of Israel. Many tourists "segway" in Jerusalem (highly recommended), without realizing that segway tours can be even more interesting in other parts of the country. The Segs company has an expansive list of segway tours offered all over Israel. I did both the Jaffa and Haifa two hour tours which were the perfect way to get to know the ins and outs of each of these places.  Both times the guides were informative and entertaining.  I am looking forward to seeing the rest of the country!

Segs - - - 054-585-0405 - reservations a must - specify if you need an English tour AND participants must be age 16 and older

Kayaking at Rosh Hanira - fun, history and sports all in one!

The father and son team that runs this operation provides a great experience all around.  Most importantly, safety is paramount. Everyone wears life jackets and receives a short instruction lesson, and, the guides kayak alongside the group. It is a little rough until you get out to sea, but then it is smooth sailing as you kayak along the beautiful beach, and through the Rosh Hanikra grottos from a totally different perspective than walking through them.  The guides provide short explanations regarding the geography and history of the location which makes this not only a fun and active experience, but a meaningful one as well.

Kayaking at Rosh Hanikra - - Reservations a must - the sail may be cancelled if the sea is too rough

Jerusalem midnight bike ride - a totally different way to see Jerusalem

This approximately three hour bike ride starts several hours earlier than midnight and requires stamina and strength for the many hills of Jerusalem, but it is a unique way to experience Jerusalem.  Yuval, our English speaking guide took us through various points of interests such as the Promenade in Armon Hanatziv, the First Station in Baka, and the Christian, Muslim and Jewish quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem.  We took a few breaks so that Yuval could provide some history, but for the most part, he wisely let this beautiful city speak for itself. As the night moved forward and the alleys started to quiet, the magic of this sacred city was overwhelming.  This is a great way for first time visitors to see some key points of interest which they can return to in daylight hours.

Jerusalem Midnight Bike Ride -  - RESERVATIONS A MUST!  Dress in warm layers that can be removed as Jerusalem nights can be chilly and bring a water bottle.

Lumina - Israel food establishments continue to put themselves on the culinary map!

We have been to Lumina - the upscale meat restaurant at the Carlton hotel - twice now, and both times the food blew us away.  Chef Meir Adoni combines interesting tastes in every dish (like shawarma with a Mexican twist) that challenge your palate, but somehow work to be delicious. This is not for those seeking basic meat and potatoes and it is not an inexpensive meal, but anyone with a sense of adventure who wants to enjoy food on a completely different level should run here!  The restaurant ambiance is casual elegance.

Lumina - Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv - 03-520-1818 - RESERVATIONS A MUST!

Omanya leather center - enjoyable crafts activity

We were looking for a fun but short activity with our 12 year old on a cold and rainy winter.  Omanya leather center is located near Haifa.  You choose a leather piece that you prepare from sanding to painting under the dedicated supervision of the staff.  The choices range from small key chains to large pocketbooks (in various price ranges).  Make sure to take a look at all the beautiful leather goods prepared by the artists of this family-owned business (all for sale).  Plan on spending about one to two hours at the Omanya leather center.  A great family activity that is appropriate for all ages!

Omanya Leather Center - Kibbutz Ofek - 04-878-4330 or 052-839-1797 - reservations a must!