Friday, January 15, 2016

You're Going Where??!!!!

Yes, that seems to be the most popular response when we tell folks where we are headed. This trip was planned way back in September when things were relatively calm. As luck would have it, by October everything started escalating and has not really slowed down any. It was decision time - do we cancel everything and hide under the bed or go and live our lives. This is a trip that we have wanted to do for a very long time and every year we say "maybe next year will be better".  It will never be "better". It is what it is. We're afraid if we don't go now, there will be nothing left to visit later or may not be able to travel. So we are moving ahead as planned.

I have been working with an Israeli travel agent in Brookline, MA who has become sort of a surrogate mother. Since we do not want the "bus" experience, she has provided us with multiple tour guides and private car transportation. Rima is very stern about when we can be on our own and we cannot. Another plus is that the agency's main branch is in Tel Aviv.  If there are any problems or changes, we will always have someone to contact.

We have also registered with a program called SMART. Each US consulate and embassy will know where we are as well as contact information.  In addition, I now get direct email updates on situations that are happening or might happen in the places we will be visiting. So that hopefully, we will be able to avoid these hot spots.

Are we anxious, nervous? A bit - me more so than Geoff (he can be so Zen sometimes). However, I have to think that once we are traveling, it will all be different than reading the news. I continue to do research and try to soak in as much information about all that we will be seeing.  We discovered a great show on PBS called Time Scanners.  With new technology, they can now scan these architectural sites built millenniums ago, and figure out how they were constructed.  So far we have watched, Hagia Sophia (initially a church, then a mosque, now a museum in Istanbul), Petra (this one is amazing) and we have one more left, Jerusalem. Saved that for last.

This is a fairly long trip with a lot of touring but also quite a bit of built-in "down" time - would also love to get in a bike trip somewhere.  I will try to print the full itinerary in my next post. But a quick summary is: Istanbul, Cairo, Nile Cruise, some more Egypt, Tel Aviv, more Israel, Amman down to Petra, Jordan, back to Israel, Eilat, Mitzpe Ramon (Negev Desert), Dead Sea, Masada, Jerusalem.

For now, I am trying to get over this cold that my husband has so generously passed on to me. Keeping our fingers crossed for the Patriots tomorrow. Probably start the packing process next week - ugh!  That's it - stay warm.

Next time... The Itinerary: Dates & Places

No comments:

Post a Comment