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talking of a bumpy start

View Shalom Israel - 2020 on Ils1976's travel map.

Ever since booking this trip I was looking forward to it, but at the same time I had my doubts as well. I booked a tour group with all single people and budget wise it was cheap too, so at times I thought I was crazy to have done it and I felt I should have done more reading about the country itself, but than again ... this was my crazy way of saying ... let's go with the flow!!!

Since my flight wasn't leaving till 2 PM, I decided to take a train early in the morning straight from home instead of booking a hotelroom the night before. There's nothing like a goodnights rest in your own bed before starting a new adventure.

A little after 8 AM, I left my home and took the train straight towards Berchem, my first quick stop of the day. With a good mood and smooth railing I arrived at the train station about 45 minutes later only to notice that the track I was supposed to take about half an hour later had a delay of more than 40 minutes of another international train. What the heck was going on?

I must admit that after mere minutes I got a bit suspicious and as I was talking to a girl from the station, I quickly learned that my train wasn't going to arrive ... at least not for the next upcoming hours.

What the hell !?!

Getting a flashback of former trips where me and Tania had to travel for several hours to get home, I didn't feel up for it this time to zigzag across the Netherlands in order to get to the airport with the possibility to miss my plane ... this was not going to happen to this girl, that's for sure!

Quick thinking made me call my brother who was able to get a few hours off from work. As I took a train back home, I met up with my brother halfway and miraculously enough I made it and arrived at Schiphol with a speed record of 2 hours. I was just glad that there wasn't that much traffic.

Check-in was a piece of cake and besides getting rid of my luggage, I got to answer two simple questions about the ongoing Corona virus, which was recently discovered in China, but since I didn't travel to China or Italy (the virus hot spot of the moment) in the last few weeks, I was cleared for traveling.

With my best friend around it is more than easy to kill time for a few hours, but now that I was flying solo, I must admit that it was a bit harder. First I discovered all the shops, actually even did a bit of shopping, had something to eat, to drink and with half an hour on the clock, I slowly walked towards the gate. I tried to seek out my fellow travellers for this trip but because I was so busy with work the last few months I didn't even knew how large the group was. It was definitely going to be a surprise once we landed at Tel Aviv.

Boarding the plane was going well and before I knew it, we were flying towards Israel, it was going to be a 5 hour flight and I must admit, it felt like it would never end. When I found my seat, minutes after it was crystal clear that I didn't had the row all to myself. A young orthodox jewish family were going to be my companions for the next few hours. Luckily I had the window seat but that was the only positive thing about it.

As we were airborne, I was amazed about the fact that the young fellow on my row was more concerned about his hat than his own 1,5 year old son. The task for keeping him busy was all for the young wifey and let me tell you ... it wasn't easy!

I don't know why it always happens to me, but there was only one kid screaming in the plane and let me tell you, when it is sitting next to you, it is nothing more than hell!

The mother clearly felt a bit sorry and did everything she could for her little son, but no use ... the first hours I was so glad for my iPod and great music. When he finally fell asleep, I could relax for a while, had a read in the air magazine, a bite to eat and with the window as my only companion, I kept myself busy looking outside into the sky ... clouds, no clouds, clouds, no clouds ...

As we landed in Tel Aviv it was already quite dark and although I prepared myself for a long interrogation, it seemed I didn't need to worry all that much. The waiting line was long, but as it was my turn, the officer just looked at me, looked at my passport and into the country I was.

I quickly picked up my luggage and went on my way to the arrival hall to meet up with the rest of the group. Some of them were already waiting so I said hello and although some of them gave me a friendly smile, some of them seemed to be out of this world. Strange group it was going to be, but hey we are in Israel, so who cares!

It took us more than half an hour before our group of twenty was finally complete and as we met up with our friendly Belgian guide Inès, we walked to our luxury bus and before we knew it, we were on our way to Netanya, our homebase for the night.

While we drove out of Tel Aviv, Inès told us that we normally were assigned to another guide called Henk, but sadly enough he was in Europe a few weeks back and now with the virus spreading, he was in quarantine for at least 14 days. I didn't mind too much, as it soon turned out I was the only Belgian in a group of 19 Dutch people. It was nice to have a fellow Belgian in the group, especially as I soon learned that she also came from Antwerp, a place close to my heart.

Arriving in Netanya, we were all knackered, but hungry as well ... luckily the staff of the hotel had prepared us a late dinner and while we enjoyed the yummy food, the group came more or less together and soon we started talking about past travels and ones yet to come.

It must have been 11 PM when I said goodnight to the group and went to my room. I was completely out of it and glad to hit the sack. It was a long eventful day and I soon drifted off.

Posted by Ils1976 07:23 Archived in Netherlands Tagged airport tour plane group asia

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Happy trails in the future, Ils!

by Vic_IV

I sure hope so Victor! The same of course!

by Ils1976

I hope I will read in following entries that your group came together well - it's so important on this sort of trip!

by ToonSarah

haha, keep on reading and yep ... no worries there! :D

by Ils1976

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