The Amazing Race Meets National Lampoon’s Vacation

Posts Tagged ‘rome’

Andrew’s Day 9

Posted by madtrippin on April 16, 2008

Today we checked out of the hotel in Jerusalem at 2 am and flew over to Rome.  Based on news coming out of Gaza, we left at a good time.  Somehow, 3 of our group of 12 had been scheduled for 6pm flights, rather than 6am.  It got fixed and we were on our way.

When we arrived in Italy, our guide picked us up at the air port at drove us into Rome.  We were supposed to have the afternoon off, but wound up seeing a bunch of the big sites.  We first saw the colleseum.  I took tons of pics, but will only post a few here.

We saw a few of the old ruins that dated all the way back to 100+ AD.  There were several Arches of triumph and temples.  It was all really interesting.  In fact, several of the sites had been repurposed by churches, thus preserving them. 

We also saw several of the locations made famous by Mussolini.  One of those was the location that you see him making several speeches from the 2nd story balcony (center) on archival footage, including a speech announcing Italy’s entrance into WWII.  Every one of them show a massive crowd cheering him on. 

We finished the day with a trip to the famous Trevi Fountain.  That place was crazy and, apparently, one of the best places to get pick-pocketed.  When you’re there, it’s not too hard to imagine how easy it would be for thieves to do their business.  I tossed a pic of our parents at the fountain.  What do you think… Adam?

Looks like we’ll be hitting the Vatican tomorrow.

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Andrew’s Day 8

Posted by madtrippin on April 15, 2008

We got something of a late start today – 9:00am.  We’ve been leaving the hotel at 8:30.  We headed over the Garden Tomb today.  This is also a possible location of Jesus’ tomb – the other being at the Russian Orthodox church both Gabe and I complained about a few days ago.


Historical records and the bible both seem to point to the Garden Tomb as a more likely location.  It’s actually an interesting site.  It’s owned and operated by a non-denominational, non-profit group.  It’s a one-acre site just outside the old city walls and is brilliantly landscaped.


We then headed to another church that was just above the garden of Gethsemane – the name escapes me at the moment.  This is where Jesus is said to have been tried by the Jews before going before Pontius Pilot.  The mosaics were crazy.  I would have posted some photos, but I had already packed my camera cord for the trip we’ll be taking to Rome in the morning (we leave at 2:00 am for the airport in Tel Aviv).  Gabe has some good shots on his last post (read at your own risk).


Then we headed back to the hotel with a half-day free.  We all took a short rest and then we (Gabe and our parents) went out to the old city to walk the crazy labyrinth and do some last minute shopping.  We’ve really got this haggling thing down to a science.  The key is to be prepared to walk away, even if you really want the item.


I wanted one item and the vendor started out at $40, which was a joke.  I just started walking.  He then went down to $20 (“because business was slow today” he said).  I turned and told him it wasn’t even close and started walking again.  He then went down to $15 and just before I got out of earshot, he went down to $10.  Man I’m good.  I learned from the best – my mom.


Here are some shots of my kids I downloaded from the camera before the trip, just to have some images in my post.  The first is of Emma (She’s 8 years old) and the second is Noah (5)

 with our neighbor’s dog Lenny.







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Andrew’s 1st Day…

Posted by madtrippin on April 8, 2008

This is really the second day, but first in Israel – the first was ALL travel.  I won’t be posting pictures this time, as there’s no WIFI at this hotel and it’s getting late, but we’ll work it out for tomorrow. 

Sunday night I checked my flight, just for the heck of it and found out my original flight was cancelled and resceduled to arrive in NY at 10pm.  The problem with that was that the flight to Rome was to leave NY at 4pm.  Needless to say… I freaked out and talked to the travel agent and they said to just show up when you were supposed to be there and the airline would fix it. 

Monday at 4:45am the cab showed up and took me to the airport to the tune of $57.  I got there and rescheduled a flight at 6:00am through Detroit and then NY.  Met up with Gabe, mom and dad and the rest of the group at crazy insane JFK.  We hopped on the overnight flight and then transferred in Rome to fly to Tel Aviv.  I learned that, although most Europeans cherish the use of standing in line… that doesn’t apply to Italians or Israelis.

The flight to Rome was really long, but bearable.  I listened to an audiobook – I am Legend – not bad.  I slept all the way through the flight to Israel, then hopped on a bus for Tiberias with the crew.  Israel is much more diverse than I’d thought (in terms of climate).  It’s mostly very dry, but there are some moist fertile areas that are totally based on agriculture.  We saw the Sea of Gallilee and took a few pics and saw the notorious Golan Heights.  We’re staying in a hotel right across the Sea of Gallilee from the heights and Syria for 2 days.

The trip as been pretty uneventful as of yet, other than Gabe’s inappropriate comments, that fortunately, everyone in the group seems to think are funny.  We’re also going to try some Israeli beverage called Sakura (not sure of the spelling or pronunciation really).  More on that tomorrow.

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Travel Itinerary – Italy

Posted by madtrippin on April 5, 2008

April 16 – Free Day

  • Flight from Tel Aviv to Rome
  • Check into hotel
  • The rest of the day is open
  • Maybe catacombs

April 17

  • Colosseum
  • Mamertine Prison
  • Pantheon
  • Forum
  • Circus Maximus
  • Arch of Titus
  • Baths of Caracalla
  • Arch of Constantine
  • Victor Emanuel Monument
  • Monti Region
  • Spanish Steps
  • Trevi Fountain

April 18

  • Vatican
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Sistine Chapel

April 19

  • Flight from Rome to New York
  • Overnight in New York

April 20

  • Flight from New York to Minneapolis
  • Back home to friends and family

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Travel Itinerary – Israel

Posted by madtrippin on April 5, 2008

April 7 – Travel Day

  • Minneapolis to New York
  • New York to Rome (overnight flight)

April 8 – Final Travel Day – Free Day

  • Rome to Tel Aviv
  • Check into hotel – Tiberias
  • Remainder of the day is open

April 9

  • Sea of Galilee Boat Ride
  • Capernaum
  • Ancient Boat Build
  • Mount of Beatitudes
  • Tabgha
  • Chapel of the Primacy
  • Jordan River

April 10

  • Beit Shean
  • Nazareth
  • Cana
  • Tel Megiddo
  • Caesarea
  • New Hotel in Jerusalem

April 11

  • Jericho
  • Qumran
  • Bethlehem
  • Shepherd’s Field

April 12

  • Haas Promenade
  • Mount of Olives – man I love olives
  • Chapel of the Ascension
  • Garden of Gethsemane
  • Mount Zion
  • House of Caiaphas
  • Upper Room
  • King David’s Tomb

April 13

  • Southern Wall Excavations
  • Teaching Steps
  • Western Wall
  • Cardo
  • Pool of Bethesda
  • Church of St. Anne
  • Antonia Fortress
  • Via Dolorosa
  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre

April 14

  • Masada
  • Dead Sea Tour

April 15

  • Ein Karem
  • Garden Tomb
  • Afternoon Free

April 16

  • Fly from Tel Aviv to Rome
  • Check into hotel

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