Philip Farina

Phil Farina

Philip Farina

Middle East » Jordan » North » Amman June 21st 2023

On June 19 we left our Glamping compound for the dreaded long day in a bus. There comes a day in every tour that no matter where you are going there is one terrible day spent traveling. If you recall, we started our tour in Amman in the north of Jordan and traveled ever south to Petra. We had many stops along the way so the travel was not bad...but the reverse was not so much. We were in Petra and our evening destination was the Dead Sea Resort hotel (Holiday Inn) for 7 of us; while the rest of the travelers were heading to Amman to board flights home, or to continue with another tour. Many continuing on were Aussies! Australians have a thing that their country is so far away, about 24 hours to ... read more

Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra June 21st 2023

Today we visit Petra, a UNESCO World heritage site. Petra, like many other places on our tour required some preparation, so let’s start there. It is HOT in the Middle East in June, July, and August. In fact, the tourist season is winding down by June because it is HOT. September and October are great months to go. November and December as well as January and February are the wet season. In the high mountain areas it will snow! So the best time to go is late March through early June. Shoes. A word about shoes. You are not here to impress anyone if you are on tour so leave those dress shoes home. They add weight and are not at all necessary. Your best friend will be a good pair (I prefer 2) of walking ... read more

Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra June 18th 2023

I apologize as I am a full day behind in the blog, but we traveled so long and saw so much that when I got to the hotel at 10:30 PM (we started at 8:30 AM) I was bushed and went right to sleep. Today we started out on the bus and headed towards Petra. Our first stop along the King's Highway was the city of Madaba. This is a very ancient city and boasts two major sites, The Greek Orthodox Church and Mt Nebo. The church is dedicated to St. George who slew the dragon. The current church is from the 18th century. The church was built on the site of a Byzantine Church from 560 AD. Although the church is relatively new, the builders uncovered a mosaic floor of profound importance. It was not ... read more

Middle East » Jordan » North » Jerash June 16th 2023

Let's start tonight with a little comment on Touring Etiquette, shall we? Touring is very different from vacationing. With a vacation, you are in charge. You can do what you want when you want and for how long. You travel how you want and, basically, you are in total control. Not so in touring. When you are on a tour you are part of a whole, meaning if you are late, or you get lost or you want to stay longer someplace, you are disrupting everyone else on the tour. Your actions have consequences not only for you but for everyone else. If you are part of a tour, LISTEN to your tour guide. BE PUNCTUAL (meaning showing up at the bus or for a meal 5 minutes before time. PAY ATTENTION to directions from your ... read more

Middle East » Jordan » North » Amman June 15th 2023

Today we leave Israel and head to Aman for our final 6 days of touring. Out of the original 25 travelers, we were reduced to 6 traveling on to Jordan. We arrived at the hotel lobby before 9 AM expecting to see Khadar, who said he would introduce us to our new driver. Well, no Khadar and no new driver. By 9:15 we were a little concerned. One of our members spied a large white van sitting outside all morning and she decided to see if that was our van....It was! We were off to a bit of a rocky start. It was about 90 minutes to the border with Jordan and that went well, that is until we got to the crossing. No one had prepared us for exactly what we were supposed to do. ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Jaffa June 15th 2023

All good things must come to an end. The Israel portion is about to join the fond memory books. Today is the last day of our Israel portion of the tour. We got up a little later today, almost like we were on vacation, and prepared for our final 1/2 day of touring. We traveled around Tel Aviv and came to the site where Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was fatally shot by an assassin in the center of the city. Politicians in Israel, like politicians everywhere, have their lovers and haters. Rabin was loved by many but a radical few felt he had sold out Israel in favor of a peace accord and, for this reason, a radical hater ended his life during - of all things - a peace rally. It is a chilling experience ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Tel Aviv District » Tel Aviv June 14th 2023

Before we get on with touring, let's discuss money. On many of our family trips, we have always found that using local currency was the best option for general purchases, especially in the local markets, small restaurants, and gift stores. Not so here in Israel. This country craves the US dollar and I found that US Dollars were the preferred currency for everything. The small and large shops, markets, and restaurants (basically everywhere), they priced everything in dollars. This presents a conundrum. Do I or don't I change dollars to shekels? My thoughts. Use a credit card. Visa and Mastercard are accepted everywhere, American Express in less than 1/2 the locations, and Discover in no place that I found. If you use a credit card, there are many advantages. You have a record of what you ... read more

Middle East » Israel June 13th 2023

Middle East » Israel » North District » Lavi June 12th 2023

Before we tour this morning, a little story about taking a shower in Israel. If you open your day with the thought, "We are not in Kansas anymore," that will help! Many hotels in Europe do not have a washcloth. If you are desperate to use one, pack your own. You may need it 50% of the time. In Isreal the Dan Panorama had them, but the Kibbutz Lavi does not. Also, there are no shower curtains, If you are lucky there will be a 1/2 to a 1/4 glass wall on the side closest to the shower head that MAY prevent you from completely flooding the floor. Another fun thing is the shower head or lack thereof. You see, in most European bathrooms, showering is not like we do at home: the big shower head, ... read more

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