We arrived at Nashville airport at 8:30am with our passports and our negative Covid test results from the day before. Our group made our way through security and onto the first of two flights to Israel. A few hours later we arrived in Newark New Jersey with only 20 minutes to make it to the next gate heading for Tel Aviv. After providing proof of our covid test and going through another body scanner, we got in line with all the rest going to Israel.
I was disappointed to see that I had the middle seat for the long flight. But on one side was one of the group leaders and on the other side of me was a lovely Israeli lady who started chatting with me. Within minutes she and I were pulling out our phones to show each other pictures of our families and talking like we were old friends. She told us that her family owns a wonderful bookstore in Jerusalem. We discovered that her bookstore is close to where we will be staying so happily wrote down the address so we could stop in on our new friend later in our trip.
Since I was in the middle, I had a hard time sleeping so instead I ended up spending the flight watching movies and getting up for a lap around whenever either of my neighbors got up. We watched the sun rise as we were flying over Greece.
We arrived at the airport and were met at the gate by someone who would escort us through the airport. He took us to the international check in where they issued us a visitor visa but did not stamp our passports. Then we went downstairs to claim our luggage. With suitcases in hand we then had to get online and pay for our second covid test that would be done there at the airport. The area that they have created is huge and well organized so we were immediately led to the next available station so they could give us the test. From there we were led outside to met up with our tour guide Ronnie who will be with us for the rest of our trip. We piled in the small bus and made our way to a small building where they would give us our third Covid test-this one they would take a small blood sample to test and we would have to stay in our hotel room until it was all cleared.
So we drove up the coast, following the blue of the Mediterranean until we came to Netanya where we would spend the first night at The Seasons By The Sea hotel. Our rooms are pretty simple, but the view from the balcony is nothing short of amazing! When we got word that we were clear to leave our rooms we went down to explore more of the town and the sea. Can’t wait for tomorrow when we will really start seeing more of the beautiful country.