I’m gonna preface this post by saying that I made a certain someone unhappy that I was going to Israel. I have also said to the certain someone that I am happy to take them to Israel.
This trip was booked in middle of November. I had a thought and then booked it. Israel is somewhere i’ve wanted to go but it was never high on my list of places to go.
I spent a good couple of hours trying to figure the logistics of it out as there wasn’t a direct flight from Stansted to Tel Aviv. The way I ended up doing it was flying to Paphos in Cyprus and then on to Tel Aviv. This was also the cheapest way of doing it.
The train to the airport was a mix and match too. I had to do Peterborough to Ely, Ely to Cambridge, Cambridge to Stansted Airport. I just managed to get the airport train as the train from Cambridge was running late. Had I had to wait another 30 minutes I would have had about 65 minutes to clear security and to the gate. Too narrow of a time frame for this old fool!
I flew to Paphos and then had to wait for 4 hours before the flight to Tel Aviv. I have decided that more than 4 hours on Ryanair is a hellish time. The flight to Paphos was 4.25 hours. The blessing after it was the 4 hours in the airport to relax. It was really weird too – the airport had no flight transfer lane so I had to go through arrivals and then back through security.
The flight to Tel Aviv was the shortest I have ever been on with Ryanair (possibly with the exception of East Midlands to Dublin) and was 36 minutes. We were at cruising altitude for around 2 minutes before starting our initial descent.
Once we landed, we went to a proper gate and used a jet bridge. First time on a Ryanair flight I have ever done that.
Getting through the airport was fairly straightforward. I went to the electronic gates and had a paper printed to say I was allowed in – that was in. Getting out was a whole other story (that will be told at the end of the post. Stay tuned dear reader).
I got a ticket for the train to Tel Aviv and this is where the real fun started (rolls eyes). I finally found the bus station that was supposedly across the road from the train station but was in reality about 500 metres from the station. I got there and had to go through airport style security which was fun fun fun.
The bus station is on 7 floors and there is no rhyme or reason as to what is placed where. I followed the hostel directions with no luck. I happened across the floor I needed but the bus was just leaving. There was another bus I could take but I had to try different floors to find it with no luck. I went back to security and asked them and they didn’t really know.
I went back to the 4th floor and happened upon the bus I needed. I asked the driver if he went to where I needed and he did. The trouble I had is that buses in Israel don’t take cash and you need a paper ticket or a Rav card to tap on the reader. I had neither. The driver was kind enough to let me on for free. Thank goodness.
I finally got to the hostel and checked in. In true Chris Wilcox luck, I was on the top floor because I requested a bottom bunk. I know right. I finally got to bed around 23:00 after having been on the go from 05:40. Phew. Sleep was well needed.
The rest of the post will talk about what I did when I was in Israel.
As I had quite a few hours to kill before I had to be at the airport I decided I would have a lie in before checking out.
Once I checked out, I decided to get on the bus to the bus station and then go to the train station to go to Jerusalem just to kill time.
I managed to kill time just by getting on the wrong bus. Only me right! I got to the train station by the University and did the usual security check before getting the train to Jerusalem.
I got to Jerusalem and hopped on the tram to kill some time before getting the train to the airport. Once I got to the airport this is where it got interesting (if I may use that word). I was selected for additional screening and I spent about 10 minutes answering questions on who I came to Israel with, where I went in Israel, what I did in Israel, where I stayed in Israel, what I did for work, where I worked, how long I have been working where I do, who I came to Israel with (yep, asked it twice), who paid for the trip.
Once that was done, I went to security and everything was checked in my bag and case. EVERYTHING! Had to get all my coins out, my souvenirs out, electronics, cables, keys, they wanted to know what my RSA fob was.
After about 40-45 minutes I was finally done and went to passport control and then to the departures lounge. I was glad the flight was a short one as I was super tired and wanted to relax once I got to Paphos.
So yeah, remember when I said it took a couple of hours to figure out the logistics of this trip and the flights? Well, part of it was a late evening arrival to Paphos and an early morning flight to Cyprus. I was going to stay in a hostel but cancelled it as I saw the airport had comfy seats through security so thought I would just sleep on those.
Well… Well… Well…
I checked and security and departures closed after the last flight left and re-opened a couple of hours before the first flight. I had to sleep on the metal benches in the airport. I think I managed about 3 hours kip and then about an hour on the flight, I was so glad once we landed in Stansted.
I got home and showered and then slept as I had to go to work. I know right! I’m crazy for doing in this way.
You can see all my pictures from Tel Aviv here
You can see all my pictures from Jerusalem here
You can see all my pictures from Bethlehem here