Israel Day One

Much has happened since the last post. I’ve finished my twelve year career at Lakeland Regional Emergency Department. I was filled with contradictory emotions as I completed my last shift on Friday night. Joy and melancholy rushed in together to create a whirlwind of sentiment. The nursing and support staff were wonderful over my last few days, which seemed like a continuous party and showers of well-wishes from my co-workers. I can’t thank them enough for their kind words and expressions of love.

Party Time in the LRMC Fast Track.  My "Bon Voyage, Dr. Carey" cake is replete with plenty of sand toys to play with on the beach! :)

Party Time in the LRMC Fast Track. My “Bon Voyage, Dr. Carey” cake is replete with plenty of sand toys to play with on the beach! 🙂

With eighteen straight days of work behind me, Cindy and I were ready to fly off to the Holy Land, a trip we had been planning with our church in Lakeland (All Saints’ Episcopal Church) for the past several months. For some inexplicable reason, neither Cindy nor I slept well Friday night. So, we started out our trip a little tired and grumpy – not so good when we have a long, long, flight ahead of us. After picking up a few odds and ends, we drove to the Tampa International Airport for the first leg of our flight: Tampa to JFK in New York. Our three-hour flight went off without a hitch, arriving in New York at around 9:30. After a quick snack, we boarded our completely filled Boeing 747 for the almost ten-hour flight to Tel Aviv. Once again the flight was uneventful. Even with our purchased upgrade to Comfort+ seating, ten hours on a plane is not fun. Cindy and I could not get seats next to each other so we both sat in middle seats (no aisle or window seats available) for the flight. Fortunately, we both were surrounded with very nice and personable people. I was excited to learn that the guy on my right played defensive line for the Georgia Bulldogs in 1988. He also was an Olympic weightlifter and a World’s Strongest Man competitor. The bad news is, that’s not the body size you wish to have next to you when you are in a middle airplane seat. It wasn’t so bad, though.

From the look on my face, you might think this is at the end of our long flight.  Not so.  This is checking in at Tampa. :(

From the look on my face, you might think this is at the end of our long flight. Not so. This is checking in at Tampa. 🙁

A couple selfie on our flight to New York

A couple selfie on our flight to New York

Leaving Tampa Bay

Leaving Tampa Bay

My neighbor for our 10-hour flight to Israel.

My neighbor for our 10-hour flight to Israel.

Cindy and I slept little on our overnight flight that left New York around midnight. We perhaps slept for 1-2 hours each. We arrived at the Tel Aviv airport shortly after 5 p.m., Israel time – a full seven hours ahead of Florida time. It was so exciting to make our approach over the Mediterranean Sea to touch down in Israel. The entry into the country was quite simple and efficient. We made our way through the short lines of passport control, found our luggage and joined the tour group. There are 34 of us from All Saints’ who’ve made the trip to the Holy Land. We’ve done a couple of tour groups before, but this is especially nice since we are touring with friends.

Cindy kept busy on the plane by, among other things, crocheting.

Cindy kept busy on the plane by, among other things, crocheting.

Landing in Tel Aviv, Israel!

Landing in Tel Aviv, Israel!

Looking over the food court at the Tel Aviv airport.

Looking over the food court at the Tel Aviv airport.

We made it to the Holy Land!

We made it to the Holy Land!

Because it was raining quite hard when we first arrived, the bus pulled around from its normal spot to pick us up under a canopy. We boarded and began our 40 minute ride north up the Mediterranean coast to Netanya. Tel Aviv is the business and banking center of Israel, but not the capital. That distinction is owned by the city of Jerusalem. One might imagine Israel to be an ancient place of ruins and rural landscapes, and it is, but it is also a country with very modern cities like Tel Aviv.

Aboard our very modern and comfortable tour bus, with our guide, Ze'ev, introducing himself.  Both of his parents are holocaust survivors.

Aboard our very modern and comfortable tour bus, with our guide, Ze’ev, introducing himself. Both of his parents are holocaust survivors.

The rain stopped very soon after arrival.  This gorgeous rainbow appeared a few moments later. (Taken through the bus window)

The rain stopped very soon after arrival. This gorgeous rainbow appeared a few moments later. (Taken through the bus window)

Interesting Billboards in Israel.  Vertical blocks, rather than the horizontal, elevated ones we are accustomed to seeing in the States.

Interesting Billboards in Israel. Vertical blocks, rather than the horizontal, elevated ones we are accustomed to seeing in the States.

After a short while, we made our way through the Sharon Plain to arrive at our destination for our first night’s stay, Netanya (Hebrew: gift of God). This city of almost 200,000 is home to a large Jewish immigrant population. Over the past few years, it has become the home of a large number of French Jews who are fleeing France over the increasing anti-semitism. Our hotel for the evening was the Netanya Ramada, a gorgeous hotel sitting right on the Mediterranean coastline. From our dining room, we could watch the sun set over the Mediterranean Sea. How cool is that! We did not arrive at the hotel until after 7 p.m, so by the time we finished dinner (which was eaten immediately upon arrival), it was dark. Cindy and I made our way to our lovely room before I took a quick 10-15 minute walk along the beachfront. The temperature was cool, in the mid-50s, so the walk was invigorating and served to wake me, at least, temporarily. Back in the room, we hooked into the excellent and free hotel wifi and I took a nice hot shower. We planned to make it to bed around 10 o’clock to be ready for our wakeup call at 6:45 a.m. A busy day awaits us on Day Two!

One of the many modern apartment buildings being erected in Netanya for the increasing population.

One of the many modern apartment buildings being erected in Netanya for the increasing population.

The lobby of our hotel.

The lobby of our hotel.

Our dining room for our evening meal.

Our dining room for our evening meal.

A comfortable seating area in our hotel room.

A comfortable seating area in our hotel room.

The Netanya Ramada, as taken from my evening walk.

The Netanya Ramada, as taken from my evening walk.

The waves of the Mediterranean gently caress the sandy beach, well below the waterfront park.

The waves of the Mediterranean gently caress the sandy beach, well below the waterfront park.

20 thoughts on “Israel Day One

  1. This is awesome! I feel like I am visiting right along with you! Thank you for sharing your experiences. Can’t wait for the next post.

  2. I can’t wait to read your blog, and see your pics of the Holy Land. Just want you both to be carefull. I’ll be praying for you. I’m also praying for my friend, Virginia and her husband who are in Turkey for 3 months on a mission trip. Soooo much going on over there, it’s scary !!!!!

  3. yea! Glad you made it! That was so nice of your co workers to wish you well! I know they’ll miss you! You’re an awesome ER Doc & they know it

  4. LRMC is losing a great doctor! However, I am thrilled for you. Stay safe and have fun in Israel. The blog and pics are neat!

  5. And I too am traveling with you. Your trip is a dream of mine and I shall make it through your eyes and blogs. Thanks for sharing. I love you both and will pray for you. Nancy

  6. Congrats on moving on from Lakeland Regional to new adventures!! I’m glad you were able to celebrate with your co-workers. Enjoy your trip and be safe!

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