Countries, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Ho Ho Holyland

Bah Humbug to all those who whinge about Christmas decorations being out… in Israel it’s Ho Ho Holyland already.

Now, we won’t get too hung up on the wherefores.

Just to say that Jerusalem Santa Issa Anis Kassissieh, the official Ambassador of the Holy Land Santa, has been filming in Israel’s Golan Heights.

And, of course, with Israel being a little warmer than Lapland JS has parked the sleigh for a kayak.

Jolly Golan Christmas

Sticking his oar in: Santy

Santa’s journey began at sunrise, on a kayak on the River Jordan, a waterway I know well from my G Adventures trip.

Adaptable JS carries his Christmas tree and presents.

And he then strolls through the citrus and almond orchards typical of the Golan landscapes.

Sporty Santy

Froome, Froome: Getting on his bike with Chris Froome

Sporty Santy then gets on his bike to cycle with British four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome.

And his fellow team members of the Israel Start-up Nation professional cycling team who are currently touring Israel.

Santa’s little helpers: Israel style

JS ended the day at the Kursi National Park, site of the Miracle of the Swine.

And there as the sun set overlooking the Sea of Galilee, he spread love, peace and joy to the children of the Golan Heights.

JS will be back too later in the year when for those who don’t know The Promised Land will be unaware there will be snow on the ground.

Israel deal

Santa Pause: Where to go next

El Al, as we all know, has its route now out of Dublin, with a sample four-day return trip In January from €625.

And out of the UK from London from £287.

So, it’s Ho Ho Holyland and Go, Go, Holyland.

Asia, Countries, Culture, Flying, Ireland, UK

Travel to the Promised Land Israel close

And travel to the Promised Land Israel close before the end of the year.

Israel, as we all know, has been the real leading light in vaccine roll-outs.

With half its population now having had their second jags.

And boy have they been celebrating with this year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day a real cause for celebration.

It has brought people out on the streets to sing, dance and watch the fireworks display.

Dublin is El Al City

Israel, of course, was the shiny new El Al route from Dublin for 2020, only for it to be interrupted by Covid.

The good news is that Sharon Bershadsky, Director at the Israel Tourism Office in London made real connections on her visit to Dublin last year.

And she is keen to get the Irish out to Israel as soon as we can.

A land of our childhood

From May 23 vaccinated groups of international travellers will be allowed out to Israel initially in a pilot scheme and then through a phased approach.

And don’t we all want to get out there but again our political leaders continue to drag their feet.

I’ve said it before that I’ve got real close to stepping on holy land.

I have seen Israel from Mt Nebo, Moses’s last resting place, and by the Jordan where John the Baptist baptised Jesus with G Adventures.

Israel is over there: Atop Mt Nebo

And I’m determined to step across into Israel. And yes, you can do countries with G Adventures.

This ancient land of Israel, and all its previous incarnations, is the one country we all know from childhood.

Even if we have never been there, through our religious classes.

So it’s a real challenge to present it anew but one which Sharon succeeded in consumately.

Best of both worlds

No place like dome

The appeal of the Promised Land is obvious, it’s not called that for nothing.

And its historical and religious sites will always draw us there.

But Israel is a diverse country of peoples, cultures, geography… and of course culinary.

There is more than milk and honey although both are to be recommended and used in many of their best dishes.

Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is a combined trip which will give the traveller the best of both worlds.

Modern hip beach Mediterannean Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where three religions meet.

Hotting up

Good to go

Jews, Muslims and Christians all come together too in Haifa on the northern coast in a model of co-existence.

Israel really is a country of contrasts with the traveller able to lie back and think of…

Well, nothing on the Dead Sea, or take a boat out on the Dead Sea and snorkel or tuck into the barbecue and Israeli wine.

In fact the water may just be a blessed relief.

From the heat of an Israeli summer with temperatures hitting the high 40s… great for me, I must admit.

Because of the year that’s in it, it may be the Autumn or Winter when we all get out there which is real good by me.

 

 

 

 

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Flyday Friday extra – Laid-back in Portland

When the hippies had had enough of Haight Ashbury they moved up to Portland.

Which is what the cult American TV comedy series is all about which boasts the best of the Saturday Night Live crowd.

I know it’s my kind of place from their American Travel Fair parties www.ipw.com where we whacked back whiskey and ‘let her buck.’

And my Dad’s cousins are out there too.

Portland hoved into view with the announcement that British Airways www.ba.com will fly five times a week to beautiful Oregon from London Heathrow.

With return fares from €540 in World Traveller.

Visit www.travelportland.com and www.traveloregon.com. And it’s great for cruises… www.portlandspirit.com

Al have some of that

The Israelis are more used to waiting than the rest of us… in fact it’s the story of their people.

We in Ireland have been waiting too for a direct route out to Tel Aviv.

But it is now only a few months off with non-stop flights starting from May 26… http://www.elal.com.

The closest I got to Israel was 20ft across the Jordan and in the Red Sea in Jordan… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/petra-jordan-jesus-and-the-sands-of-time/. With G Adventures… http://www.gadventures.com.

Now to make that long-awaited next step.

Swede Christmas

It’s the time of year when you surf the channels trying to find something that hasn’t got Christmas lights on it.

Which is how I came across an Abba programme on Sky Arts.

Of course the Abba Museum is one of the most popular sites in Stockholm.

But it’s not the Swedish capital we’re flagging up here.

But hailing from a second city myself, Glasgow https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/15/sportstraveltraveltravel/ it’s second city Goteborg, or Gothenburg to you and me, that I’m flagging up here.

And Ryanair’s http://www.ryanair.com early Christmas presents…€9.99. While Frankfurt is the same price.

So let’s thrown in some Scandinavian and German memories here…

With https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/the-call-of-the-fjords/, https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/04/29/ich-bin-ein-hamburger/. And https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/dresdens-renaissance-martin-luther/

MEET YOU IN THE SKIES