1 Flying across the Atlantic on an EL AL 777 - We were flown courtesy of EL AL - We were treated to a visit in the cockpit. My nephew, Chris Herbert and I really enjoyed talking to the pilots about the smooth and uneventful flight.
2 The captain was very informative about the route, the topography below, and the weather conditions.
3 Our seats were very comfortable. The flight left NYC on time 11:50PM and we went right to sleep, waking up at 7AM NYC time. The time difference is 7-hours and the flight takes approximately 11-hours.
4 The in-flight map was very helpful, as it refreshed our geography.
5 The flight crew was so gracious and friendly. Posing with Yair, Rona, and Yosa - My makeup artist, Daisy, is to the far left.
6 The flight crew from coach class also came for a photo.
7 Daisy slept very soundly.
8 Rona preparing the passengers for landing
10 Approaching Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion International Airport
11 The airport
12 Feeling quite rested, we were transported by van to the luggage pick up.
13 The paparazzi knew we were coming.
14 I was greeted with a bouquet of roses upon arrival.
15 Geoffrey Weill met us at the airport after passing through customs.
16 In front of the Masada Lounge
17 The drive to our hotel in Jerusalem took about 30 minutes. Here we are approaching the cemetery walls outside the city.
18 This is the town of Abu Ghosh, which is famous for its gardens and plant nurseries, and also for its hummus. In fact, in 2010, it set the Guinness World Record for the largest dish of hummus!
19 In 1920, the British passed a law that everything newly constructed in Jerusalem must be built or faced with local limestone. That law is still in place and as a result, the city is very beautiful.
20 Approaching the city one gets a good view of the String (Harp) Bridge designed by Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrav, the world’s expert on suspension bridges.
21 It is the longest, curved single support suspension bridge in the world. It is known as the Harp Bridge or String Bridge due to the massive wires strung from various points of the single finger down to the bridge itself.
22 The construction is very unique and modern and there were many discussions over whether it would fit into the Jerusalem landscape.
23 When we arrived at the King David Hotel, two of my friends, Maureen Cogan and Ronnie Heyman, were just leaving to go to dinner. These NYC ladies are very active in Jewish philanthropy.
24 The floor of the King David Hotel has a long stone insert in the floor signed by famous guests.
25 Here I am with Chris on the terrace of my lovely hotel suite at The King David Hotel.
26 The view from my room was beautiful. It faced due east over the pool and terraces.
27 Located on the top of Mount Zion, is the Church of the Dormition, where the Virgin Mary fell into eternal sleep. Neighboring is the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, where Kind David is buried.
28 I was promised that on a clear day from here, one can see the neighboring country of Jordan.
29 After a bath and after we changed our travel outfits, we took a stroll along the shopping street of Mamilla.
30 This is the ATM machine where we changed American dollars into Israeli currency.
31 The entrance into Mamilla Avenue, where old buildings meld very well with new - This area was recently redesigned by architect Moishe Sadfie.
32 This is the street sign
33 During the reconstruction, many of the buildings had been taken down. However, each stone was numbered and put back in exactly the same place. As you can see, many numbers are still visible on the stones.
34 The house behind the cafe was where Theodore Herzl lived. He is the father of Zionism.
35 Many shops sell old silver items, such as menorahs, chalices, and goblets.
36 Strings of blue lights cascade like clouds or waves down the entire length of the Avenue.
37 Every night is shopping night.
38 Michal Negrin is one of Jerusalem's designers.
39 She creates vintage inspired designs, including jewelry, fashion, home décor, and accessories.
40 This is a Franciscan orphanage above Mamilla Avenue.
41 A young lady was playing an ancient bowed instrument on the avenue.
42 This is the Duane Reade of Israel.
43 Sigal Dekel is another famous Israeli designer. Her collection is more contemporary.
44 The Tower of David looms overhead. This ancient citadel was built in the sixteenth century upon a base dating from three thousand years ago.
45 The King David Hotel off in the distance
46 Outside the avenue of shops, one comes upon a great view of the city - ancient, old, and new.
47 Chris took this great photo of the city - The King David Hotel is off in the distance.
48 Our security was ex-military and very well-trained.
49 A group of tourists riding Segways passed us.
50 On our way to a restaurant for dinner, we saw crowds waiting for their buses home.
51 The first restaurant we ate at was Machneyuda. It has delicious food - very modern and fresh. The menu changes twice a day depending on what is in the local market.
52 The kitchen at Machneyuda is tiled in many colors. Assaf and joseph, the chefs and co-owners, were smiling and the staff is very happy.
53 I am at the table in this crowded and very lively restaurant with Chris and Daisy.
54 We ordered anise flavored Mohitos.
55 And wonderful Israeli chardonnay
56 Great blue boards of food arrived with drinks. Appetizers included water melon with goat cheese and small flash-fried fish. Tomato, chick pea, and ceviche salad, a cucumber salad, and shot glasses of a delicious cold soup, plus, lots of humus.
57 The small white fish could almost be devoured entirely - bones and all!
58 Canning jars were filled with creamy polenta, sauteed mushrooms, green onions, and aged goat cheese - so delicious!
59 A pita bread was served with melted goat cheese, herbs, tomato pesto, and spicy minced meat.
60 The music, although almost deafening, is so good and so much fun. It takes only a few minutes to get in the swing of the night. The waiters and owners dance constantly.
61 As the music builds, the staff claps and dances.
62 And dances!
63 At one point, one of the chefs played his pots and pans, like drums!
64 Saying goodby to the chefs after enjoying so much wonderful food. Machneyuda is very creative, very 'new', and very very tasty.
65 Outside the restaurant, we were greeted by some avid fans who wanted photos.
66 Posing for photos
67 The fellow on the left owns a falafel stand and I promised to go there for a wrap the next day.
68 In Jerusalem, there are fresh juice stands everywhere - watermelon juice, lemon juice, pomegranate, and orange.
69 Pomegranate season is upon us. Pomegranates are prized for their seeds and the juice of the seeds - I love pomegranate juice!
70 Just outside the market, we found a giant pomegranate tree laden with fruit.
71 After our dinner at Machneyuda, we went to Chakra Restaurant where we ate zucchini carpaccio with virgin olive oil and reggiano.
72 We also tried their fire grilled eggplant with feta, tomato, and olives.
73 And rich chopped liver flavored with calvados and served with a fig confiture.
74 There were also delicious Greek olives.
75 We indulged in fresh vanilla ice cream with sesame paste.
76 And frozen margaritas