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Wholly Amazing Visit to the Holyland

Education is the movement from darkness to light

“Education is the movement from darkness to light”

By Heidi Creed

** If you don’t have the time to read this whole piece, here is  my Israel Highlights Video. Enjoy!

Education comes in many forms, and I’d like to argue the most valuable lessons are those that come outside of the classroom. They are the ones that teach tolerance, resourcefulness, and how to be a decent person in a shared world full of differences. I’m not sure there is a better vehicle than travel to move from darkness to light when it comes to education.  It’s important to note that I took this photo above in a small remote village in Wadi Rum, Jordan.

Israel flag in AkkoI recently had the opportunity to travel to Israel with our preferred destination specialist company, Travex, along with other travel industry professionals.  It was a working trip that featured visiting many hotels and experiencing just about everything a client of ours might wish to experience from the sights to the cuisine.  The expectations were high but it shaped up to be the journey of a lifetime.

I opted to take this trip not as a pilgrimage. I was intrigued and fascinated by the ancient history as much as current events, and ultimately went as one who wants to step away from the headlines and form her own opinion while embracing the intrepid nature of the destination.

Going into the trip I felt confident Israel should be on every well-traveled travelers list– and it delivered.

Why visit Israel?IMG_9770

  • Safety. Let’s address the elephant by starting with safety.  Statistically Israel is safer than most Western countries including the United States. We experienced not a moment of discomfort, concern, wonder or worry.  There was never a feeling of resistance or instability.  You would never know it’s a region surrounded by peril, and perhaps because that has been its story for thousands of years.  There were many church groups, youth groups and travelers of all kinds.  I have felt more unsafe walking the streets of San Francisco (sorry San Francisco) than I did anywhere in Israel.
    • Know before you go:  Airport security is tight.  You will be screened by TSA a second time before boarding your flight to Tel Aviv from the US, and you will be asked screening questions and have your bags closely inspected when returning home.  It’s not a big deal so just give yourself time. It’s in everyone’s best interest.


  • History. It’s the obvious one, but a visit to Israel is the next closest thing to time travel.  See first hand sites and ruins from events you’ve grown up learning about.  A visit to the Yad Vashem Remembrance Center is a must to learn and pay tribute to one of the greatest atrocities of the 20th century: the Holocaust.


  • Diversity.  From the culture to the landscape to the Israeli breakfast (more on that in a minute), you will experience it all – and whatever your belief, it’s all divine!  Ancient towns, desert fortresses, robust vineyards, coastal cosmopolitan cities; all built among surprisingly lush terrain in the north, contrasted with a barren desert that almost feels other-wordly to the south.
    • Know before you go:  Israel is casual country.  Comfortable and modest clothing and shoes are the way to go.


  • There is so much to do in Israel. The abundance of holy sights is enough to keep you occupied for days, but even the most devout might relish in a little adventure. In this video you’ll hear about our day near the Dead Sea.
    • Know before you go:  make sure to pack water shoes to visit the Dead Sea. The salt rock floor is very rough.
  • Food and wine.  You are certain to consume your body weight in hummus, but beyond that the food is fresh, flavorful and abundant.  About that Israeli breakfast: plan to start your day with a consumption strategy.  Even if you aren’t a breakfast person you’re sure to find something.  The typical breakfast spread at most hotels offers a dizzying array of deliciousness: fresh baked bread, meats, cheeses, mueslix, eggs, vegetables, and make sure you save room for dessert of halva or baklava.  Then while you’re out touring you have plenty of high quality options for kosher and non-kosher dining.


The experiences we had:

Sightseeing in Tel Aviv and Old Jaffa

Caesarea – Ancient Roman town and fortress

Historic walled port-city of Akko

Haifa’s Baha’i Shrine and the Persian Gardens

Explore the Land of the Galilee

Safed’s ancient synagogues and the vibrant Artists Quarter

Home hospitality with a local Druze family

Visit Bethlehem

Tour the Holy City to Three Faiths: Old City of Jerusalem

Judean Desert and the Dead Sea

Holocaust Memorial at Yad Vashem

Israel Museum

Wine Tasting workshop

king david

The Iconic King David Hotel, Jerusalem

A few of the preferred accommodations:

David Intercontinental Hotel, Tel Aviv

Royal Beach Hotel, Tel Aviv

Hilton Tel Aviv

Dan Tel Aviv Hotel

Dan Carmel Hotel, Haifa

Mitzpe Hayamim Resort & Spa (will re-open in Nov 2018 from extensive renovations)

King David Hotel

Waldorf Astoria Hotel

Orient Hotel (Isrotel Exclusive Collection)

David Citadel

Sun rising over the Old City Jerusalem

And finally…

Planning a trip to this region requires the help of a true travel professional and destination specialist.   With so much to see, thoughtful itinerary design and execution is essential, and the best guides will ensure you make the most of your journey.

I will save my Jordan extension for a separate post, but extending your program with a trip to Jordan to see its wonders that include Petra and Wadi Rum is very worthwhile and easy to do.

Town & Country Travel is proud to partner with Travex, experts for travel to Israel.  We would love the opportunity to plan your journey of a lifetime to the Holyland.  Please call us at (805) 495-9888 or email to get started.  Shalom!

Enjoy my   Israel Highlights Video, showcasing all I experienced, and all that Israel has to offer!

2 comments on “Wholly Amazing Visit to the Holyland

  1. Shannon OBrien
    March 1, 2018

    Awesome Blog!!!


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