This week’s Photo Friday takes us to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, where you can tour tunnels that expose roads and ruins that date back to King Herod the Great.
Wailing Wall, Jerusalem

This is the latest of our weekly travel photo series, inspired by #FriFotos on Twitter. This week’s Photo Friday subject is Holy Places. While I thought about using some photos from our Easter trip to Rome, I realized that I had never felt religion as such a powerful force as I did in Jerusalem.  The photo above […]


On Photo Friday, one of my favorite Jerusalem pictures, taken in the city’s Muslim Quarter.
Jerusalem pictures

Jerusalem lends itself easily to pictures. I found this scene while wandering through the Muslim Quarter last May. Parts of the Quarter are fairly chaotic and crammed with tourists (the Via Dolorosa, where the Stations of the Cross begin, starts here), so I appreciated the quiet of the chess game.

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2010 Travels: Best Surprise

by Chris on December 29, 2010

Best travel surprise of 2010? The diversity of Israel as a vacation and holiday destination.
Israel, Jerusalem, Dome of the Rock

Out of a travel schedule that included two sailing cruises in the Caribbean, two trips to Europe, one long weekend in Mexico, and time exploring cool new regions in the U.S. (Hocking Hills, I’m looking at you!), I’ll always remember 2010 as the year when I first went to the Middle East – and fell […]


While my trip to Christian holy sites in Galilee didn’t lead to any Hallelujah moments, it did put me back in touch with stories and verses that have been unfamiliar for decades and connected me with a belief system that I hadn’t examined in a serious way since high school. And that in itself proved to be a spiritual experience.

I’m not a religious person. But I did feel stirrings of something spiritual while touring the sites that are holy to Christianity on my May trip to Israel, sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism.  Although it’s been years since I’ve picked up a Bible, the stories from the Old and New Testament have been ingrained […]


Visiting Masada is one of the most significant things to do during your stay in Israel. Some tips on visiting the mountain fortress, which lies in the Judean desert near the Dead Sea.
Masada (Massada), Israel

Confession time: I have this thing for Peter O’Toole (not old alcoholic Peter O’Toole. I’m talking Lawrence of Arabia Peter O’Toole). And I also have this thing for rebels, be them of the Star Alliance, Jimmy Dean or Robin Hood variety. Peter Strauss isn’t too bad either. Needless to say, the mini-series Masada rocked my […]


Need a reason to add Tel Aviv to your Israel itinerary? Try the world’s largest collection of Bauhaus architecture, plus historic Jaffa, Israel and some of country’s best shopping and nightlife.
Bauhaus building, Tel Aviv, Israel

Bauhaus architecture has never earned the respect of, say, Art Deco, Art Nouveau or Craftsman style buildings, at least among the general public. But the Bauhaus school, based in Germany between 1919 and 1933, laid the foundation for most Modernist design.  Noted practitioners included Swiss painter Paul Klee, Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky and school head […]

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To stamp or not to stamp: should you get an Israeli passport stamp when you visit Israel?

Before my trip to Israel last week, I wondered if I should allow immigration officials to put an Israeli stamp in my passport. It’s not that I didn’t want the stamp, which is partially written in Hebrew, as a souvenir.  I love collecting passport stamps and am genuinely disappointed when immigration control merely swipes the […]


Floating in the Dead Sea at Israel’s Mineral beach.
Dead Sea mud, Israel

Spa types have always told me that minerals and mud from the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth, are good for your skin. But our guide Tamar from the Israel Ministry of Tourism made it sound more like the Fountain of Youth than a facial. “People come out and say they feel 10 years […]


Who makes the best hummus in Israel? Sa’id, in the historic town of Acre, is a good contender.
Hummus at Sa

Israel’s great culinary debate, akin to pizza faceoffs in Chicago or cheesesteak wars in Philly, boils down to one question: Where can you find the country’s best hummus? On my trip sponsored by the Israel Ministry of Tourism, we sampled an entry today at Sa’id, a classic hummus establishment in Acre (Akko), a city on […]


Lots of questions and leave your carry on with us, please: my experience with El Al airlines’ security, en route to Israel.

I’m in Israel this week as a guest of the Israel Ministry of Tourism. We have an action-packed itinerary that takes us through Haifa, Rosh Pina, Tel Aviv, Masada and the Dead Sea and Jerusalem. I had to get here first, of course. And, true to their reputation as the most security-conscious airline out there, […]