Continuing our voyages around the Mediterranean--Italy in 2009 with Marcus, Turkey in 2013 with both kids--we decided to spend winter break in Israel this year. We left from Boston the day after Christmas, and flew Alitalia to Rome, where we had a seven-hour layover.
This was just (barely) enough time to clear customs, stow our excess carryons in the left-luggage department, and take a taxi to the ruins of Ostia Antica, about 10 minutes from the airport. Ostia is a very well-preserved ancient Roman town--you can see bakeries, houses, the necropolis, the baths, the forum, etc., and it was very empty and a great chance to be out in the sunshine and fresh air after a night on the plane.
Marcus loved running around and climbing up steps and investigating different areas, and though the weather was chilly, it was still a fun stop. From Ostia we took the subway two stops to the modern town of Ostia, where we got lunch (both pizza with mushrooms from a little shop, and also a Turkish sandwich) and some Kinder eggs (ah, lax European laws!) and then took a bus back to the airport to go back through security and take our short connecting flight. We landed in Israel around 7:30 in the evening, and got our bags swiftly and then the rental car.
From there it was a short 10-minute drive to our hotel (the Atlas Sadot hotel, with a bit of an odd location--on the third floor of a shopping center/mall inside a hospital and military complex). The next morning we enjoyed their great breakfast buffet and then after a quick pass through the shopping center looking for a SIM car (no luck), we got into the car by 9:30 and on the road.
Driving wasn't the easiest thing in the world: the roads were speedy and curvy, and the signs, though they did have English on them, also had Hebrew first and Arabic second, so it meant scanning through lines of (to us) gibberish until our eyes settled on something that we could make sense of. Still, we only had a car for the first four days, and it was really great to be able to move around at our own pace and see more of the country.
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Created: 1/11/15. Last Modified: 1/11/15.