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A section of the border wall, with the Banksy Hotel just out of the frame on the left. Visiting Bethlehem.

Visiting Bethlehem for a Day

While visiting Bethlehem is mostly about seeing the birthplace of Jesus, it’s been in the news recently for a much more modern reason: the opening of the Walled Off Hotel. On a recent day trip to Bethlehem with a group of fellow bloggers, this hotel, designed by the mysterious graffiti artist, Banksy, was our first…

columns in the synagogue at Capernaum

Your Trip to Israel: 5 Christian sites in the Galilee

 Are you considering a trip to Israel? Certainly you should visit Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and perhaps Masada and Bethlehem. While I’m not a Christian, all religions are interesting to me in terms of their cultural and historical importance. In Israel, I’ve visited Muslim sites, of which the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem is…

a bag of candy ready to hand to a flight attendant

Gifts for flight attendants: an experiment

Despite all the uproar over United Airlines’ treatment of a man who resisted being bumped from a flight, I think it’s safe to say almost every flight attendant acts in a professional way, and they show remarkable patience. In praise of flight attendants Passengers misbehave: the internet abounds with examples. (See this article, or this…

The falafel part of my first "bite" on my Bitemojo tour.

Bitemojo: A new twist on culinary tours

If you ever take a Bitemojo tour, make sure you start with an empty stomach, good walking shoes and plenty of time. You’ll need all three. Disclosure: I took a Bitemojo tour in Jerusalem because I could do it for free as a participant in a TBEX conference for travel bloggers. It’s not something that…

Khan al-Umdan, near the port in Akko old city, as seen through the closed-off entrance. Built in 1784, it included 40 columns made from stone brought from ancient Caesarea and Atlit. It seems to be abandoned now.

Akko Old City: Jerusalem without the politics

Two separate people in two separate parts of Israel gave me the same advice: “Go see Akko old city; it’s Jerusalem without the politics.” They were right. Akko, also called Acre, looks much like Jerusalem’s old city. It has the same narrow, winding, stone-paved streets. The market streets have ancient arched roofs and the sellers…

My room at Kibbutz Inbar, one of the ILH hostels in Israel

At my age? Staying in Hostels in Israel

I haven’t stayed in a hostel in years. In a post I wrote back in 2007, I blamed it on the shared shower, and described how awful they can be. It’s not just that, though. As I get older, I have more trouble sleeping. I wake up easily, and then I’m grumpy the next day…

The Happiest Kids in the World on 1001 Travel Tales

This week’s episode of 1001 Travel Tales podcast is an interview with Rina Mae Acosta, blogger at Finding Dutchland and co-author of The Happiest Kids in the World: How Dutch Parents Help Their Kids (and Themselves) by Doing Less. You can listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or just by clicking on the SoundCloud…

The Tower of David, as seen from outside the Jaffa Gate. The tower you see, also sometimes called the Tower of David, is a minaret.

Going to Jerusalem? First Visit the Tower of David

As one of the first things visitors see on entering the Old City of Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate, the Tower of David makes an imposing impression, with its massive stone walls and towers topped with crenellations. The first thing your tour guide will say is that this citadel has nothing to do with King David from the…