We had a great day of travel with no hassles from security very few problems along the way. Our flights were mostly full, but left on time and were quite smooth. I even managed to sleep some this time. It is now almost 9pm, so I thought I had better get a quick post up before I get too groggy to write.
It was very warm in Tel Aviv, 95 degrees when we landed. They have a new system for visas at Ben Gurion airport. Instead of a stamp in your passport, they scan the passport and issue a credit card sized slip of paper that has your passport pic and a bar code, with the dates of your entry. We all got through passport control quickly, so either we looked like a trustworthy lot, or this new system speeds things up considerably.
The bus ride to the Dan Hotel was uneventful. The drive from the airport to Mount Scopus takes about an hour through busy afternoon traffic. I stayed at the Dan Hotel in January of 2012, and I do recommend it. It is a short walk to the light rail if you want to go into the Old City at night or Ben Yehuda street. I am not sure I would recommend taking a large group (skipping the tour bus), but for a couple of people it is a great way to get around.
The group seems to be getting along great. Several were good friends to start with, others just met this week. Dinner was a nice buffet, although Kyle was not happy when he found out the beef he ate was in fact beef tongue. The desert bar got a half-dozen thumbs up, I mostly drowned my sorrows in a plate of hummus and veggies.
Tomorrow we head to the Old City, starting with the rampart walk around the north side of the city, from Jaffa gate to the Damascus Gate. We will visit the Western Wall and the Davidison museum at the Southern Wall excavations. As I have said before, that is always a highlight for me because of the quality reconstruction of the Roman era streets, the Arch, and the Temple steps. If you want to “walked where Jesus walked,” then the Southern Wall excavations are the place to visit.