Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Happy are those who find refuge in you, whose hearts are set
on pilgrim roads.
There is no question of how we are getting TO the Holy Land Land. Flying is the only feasible way to get our family to Israel.
The big question was how on earth are we going to get around once we are there. My initial plan was to rely on public transportation. I had a really, really bad experience with renting a car when I was traveling in England with my husband’s family. My husband’s brother drove the car and it was awful. Simply awful. I dreaded each time we had to get back into the car and then as soon as we got out, I kissed the ground. I decided right then and there that I would never, ever ride in a rental car in a foreign country again.
And so I set about my plan for exploring this new-to-us land:
From the airport, I discovered that the best option is to take a sherut. This is a shared taxi which holds 10 people. There are other options. A private taxi is much more expensive. The train is a scenic, but slow way to get to Jerusalem. The bus is an option as well. But, after my research, it seemed that the sherut is going to be the way to go.
In Jerusalem we will be able to rely on public transportation, walking or even the possibility of renting bikes. There is a brand new light rail system in Jerusalem. I have been reading there have been some issues with this, but I am kind of hoping they are ironed out by the time we get there. If they are, we will probably rely on this form of transportation. There is also a very reliable bus system which would be acceptable as well. I have told the kids to be prepared for lots of walking. The location of our hostel puts us in walking distance of many things. The bikes? We’ll have to see about that. All seven of us ride without training wheels now, so maybe this would be fun too.
Our pilgrimage is going to take us to Galilee for four days right in the middle of the trip. I looked into taking a bus to Nazareth, which is where we will be stationed. There is one that went there. Late in the afternoon. We would lose a whole day in the Galilee. There are few direct busses to the smaller cities surrounding Nazareth and there are times the bus drops you off miles away from the places we want to visit (the Sea of Galilee, Cana, Mount of Beatitudes, etc.). If was just myself, my husband and the teenagers, this might be ok. But, I can’t ask a 5 year old to do that.
I did some reading and it seemed like renting a car to drive to and around the Galilee was going to be the best option. The people on Tripadvisor promise that driving in this part of Israel is not difficult and essential to see everything you want to. I was looking on the website of our hostel and saw that we could rent a car through them. One simple e-mail and it was taken care of. Our 7 passenger minivan will be dropped off at the hostel and then we drop it off back there when we come back to Jerusalem.
This is requiring a HUGE amount of faith on my part. I have to remember that my husband is not his brother. He will drive carefully and will do everything he can to keep us safe. From what I have read, the people at both of the hostels we are staying at are very helpful with travel advice. We will be in God’s hands!