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Greece, Israel, Italy and Turkey are the big ones that raise eyebrows when I cop to not having visited (excepting airport connections). With some unexpected time freed up this weekend I am Israel-bound, thanks to a last-minute $521 fare on Aeroflot with good flight and connection times. I used 39k Citi ThankYou Points.
If all goes well this will be my 149th UN country and 225th Travelers Century Club Country. No way to avoid history or geopolitics on such a trip and I don’t want to. I want to see for myself the land so central to world history and current events. Palestine will be my 226th Travelers Century Club Country. Rick Steves Travel as a Political Act reflects my view of travel and is a good primer.
I will have 2.5 full days. Not enough, you shout. I will do my best. I will see the core religious sites, am looking at a trip up to Haifa and/or down to Masada, and want to head deeper into the West Bank. Hard to narrow the choices when nearly every point on the map, has a ‘that sounds familiar,’ ring. It sounds like the situation in Gaza is not suited to a short there and back trip. Dead Sea is the one typical highlight I may skip.
I will be renting a car, hopefully can find one that allows entry to the West Bank. I have gotten letters of insurance for 3 different credit cards (Chase Hyatt Visa for its raised numbers, Chase United MileagePlus Explorer for another Visa, and Citi Premier MasterCard, my preferred for 3x). I am determined to not pay CDW!
I haven’t yet picked where I will sleep for the nights. The chain hotels look poor value for a traveler who will hardly be in the room and are clustered in Tel Aviv. I will be looking for smaller places along my route.
Readers, this is a land many of you know intimately, what are your suggestions and tips?