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Showing posts from August, 2010

Solomon's Chariots - Eilat mountains

Eilat is not only about the beach and ocean. A fun activity (though probably not in the heat of the summer) is a chariot ride among the red mountain. Solomon's Chariots leads groups in NahalShlomo and Wadi Tzfahot. The clients sit in chariots and guide the donkeys that lead the chariots (not difficult at all). Once on the trail, there is a stop while the leader makes pitas and hands out tea. A bit kitschy but alot of fun among nature. It is a nice off-beat activity to do while in Eilat.
Shlomo's Chariots - www.merkavot-shlomo.co.il - reservations recommended

Eilat water activities

When we first moved here, everyone told us that we must go to Eilat for Chanukah vacation. After that vacation, I vowed never to return to Eilat. I found it to be overcrowded and depressing. Also, while Eilat is warmer in the winter than most other places in Israel, it is still not warm enough to feel comfortable in the water (and some days it is even chilly and cloudy).
At my kids' urging, I decided to give Eilat another chance by vacationing there for a few days in the middle of August. Again, everyone told me that it is ridiculous to go to Eilat in the heat of the summer. Once again, "everyone" was proven wrong. Yes, Eilat is very hot during the dog days of August but it is a dry heat so not as uncomfortable as other places, Also, there are fewer crowds than during Chanukah vacation. And, finally, summer is the best time to partake in the water activities of Eilat, which is one of the primary attractions of Eilat. We parasailed, snorkeled, went in glass bottom …

Royal Gardens Hotel - Eilat

Many hotels in Israel boast that they are 5 star hotels. I like to say that most are the equivalent of 2 star hotels with 5 star prices while my husband likes to say that most have 5 star lobbies with 2 star rooms. The Royal Gardens Suite Hotel easily falls into this category on all fronts. Our accommodations consisted of a bedroom and a small living room/kitchenette area. I found the rooms to be dated and tired, though clean. In contrast, the public areas, such as the lobby, are beautiful and fresh. The pool area is fabulous with lots of small pools and springs and all sorts of different types of seating - beds, chairs, folding chairs - scattered throughout. In addition, the staff was attentive and helpful. Finally, the hotel is well located - literally two minutes from the beach. Given the cost, I would not say that this is the best value for your money but it is a fun and relaxing place to vacation.
Royal Gardens Hotel - www.isrotel.co.il - 08-638-6666

Opera In the Park - Tel Aviv at its finest

Every summer for the past several years, the Israeli opera performs an opera in Yarkon Park that is free and open to all. This year's performance was Carmen. As usual, events in this country, especially free ones that attract large crowds, make me apprehensive. But, once again, I was pleasantly surprised. The event was well organized and the crowd well behaved. We arrived two hours prior to the 9 PM start, enabling us to snag some of the well placed and coveted plastic chairs. There were many who simply brought blankets and spread out in the back. It was amazing to turn around at one point and literally see tens of thousands caught up in the energy of the event. Mayor Ron Huldai introduced each of the scenes - adding a charming feature to the night. Food and drink are available for sale but feel free to bring your own nourishment. Just be aware that glass bottles and folding chairs are not allowed in.
For more information on future Israel Opera events go to www.israel-ope…

Herzliya - Fun in the Water!

One of the perks of living where I do is that the Herzliya beach is literally fifteen minutes from my house. Herzliya has a wonderful marina with lots to offer such as scuba diving lessons, surfing camp and cafes right on the beach. And, of course, there are the boats. The "Tornado" is a small speed boat that is not for the faint of heart or those with queasy stomachs; but for those who are more adventurous, this is the activity for you. For approximately twenty minutes, the boat speeds through the ocean hitting wave after wave (and leaving the passengers soaked). Do insist on life jackets, even if the boat operator tries to discourage you. The "Holiday" is for those seeking a more subdued experience. It is a twenty to thirty minute boat ride, albeit on a slower and bigger boat. For those who crave the action, the "Holiday" does have mesh-type platforms built into the front of the boat where one lies on one's stomach - in essence, catching the …

Ben-Gurion House - a piece of history in Tel Aviv

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion's Tel Aviv residence (he also had a residence in Kibbutz Sde Boker) is a small gem tucked away in central Tel Aviv. The house and its personal objects are preserved as if David and Paula Ben-Gurion still live there. Most impressive is his large library - essentially several rooms - that contain some 20,000 books. On one of our visits we saw a short film (in English) depicting Ben-Gurion's life. It is worth a visit if you are spending the day in Tel Aviv. Admission is free.
David Ben-Gurion House - 17 Ben-Gurion Street - 03-522-1010

Better Place - Is the Electric Car the Wave of the Future?

Shai Agassi, a dynamic Israeli businessman, believes that the electric car is the wave of the future. To convince the rest of us, his company, Better Place, has opened a beautiful visitor center located at the Glilot interchange. Yes, there is no doubt that this is brand marketing at its best (almost at a cult level) but the 90 minute tour is interesting and a lot of fun. There is a short film followed by the opportunity for those with a driver's license to drive one of the demo electric cars. Children ages eight and above can ride in the backseat. Those of you fascinated with high tech and sources of energy will love this one. English tours can be arranged. And best of all, it is free!
Better Place - www.betterplc.co.il - you can arrange sign up for tours online or by emailing visit@betterplace.com


Dig for A Day - Bet Guvrin with a twist

Bet Guvrin, located on the Bet Shemesh road, is a national park that consists of various underground complexes dating back to the Hellenistic period. One can explore the park on one's own but, for a slightly different (though pricier) experience, one can join Archaeological Seminars' Dig for A Day which entails digging and sifting in one of the underground caves in the hopes of finding pottery and other remains. Younger children will enjoy that activity as it is similar to digging in a sandbox, albeit an ancient one! But the highlight of the day, certainly among the older children, was crawling through an unexcavated cave system. Our dynamic guide, Assaf, really tried to bring the various activities all together and to make history come alive. The entire activity takes approximately three hours. Be sure to bring water, hats and clothes that are comfortable and that can get dirty.
Dig for a Day - www.archesem.com - 02-586-2011