Trip to Israel and Jordan

Raise your hand if you like to travel.  We do.  With two kids it is getting harder mainly because of the expense, however, in September, we made the decision to take the kids to Israel for Marc’s cousins wedding.  When you have family that lives in other countries or even across the coast it becomes a struggle to maintain relationships since you don’t get to spend the time with that you want with them and there are competing demands for your time off from work.  Since Marc is an only child and his dad is an only child it is important to us that our kids maintain a connection with the family that is there so, we went.

The culture of weddings in Israel is very different.  Nothing can happen on Shabbat so alternative days had to be considered so this wedding took place on a Tuesday.  It just so happened to be the first week of school for our kids so we had to make a decision.  After going back and forth for a few months we decided it was more important to be with family. Months later I am not even sure my kids remember that they missed that first week.

For the wedding, I elected to leave my camera at home and just enjoy myself.  Apparently at Israeli weddings it is about the food.  And, there was a lot of it.  The cousins told us that is was important to make sure everyone is well fed so before the ceremony there were plenty of drink and different food stations.  There was so much food I actually thought it was the meal.  The bride and groom mingled with everyone during this period which was really nice.  Next was the ceremony and at the end off it the couple didn’t walk down the aisle, all the guest went up to them to congratulate them.  It took me a minute to realize what was going on. Next was more feasting and dancing.

During all of this we told the kids it was a “yes” day. They ran around with their cousins playing hide-n-seek, had lemonade drinking contests and ate more crap then I can remember.  At some point my kids collapsed and fell asleep while the music and dancing continued on.

If you haven’t been to Israel, it is a beautiful country. There is so much history, numerous landscapes and interesting sites.  Over the last few years we seen quite a bit but really wanted this trip to be about family and relaxing.  Marc’s cousin just built an AMAZING new house with a pool in the backyard so that is where we spent most of our time especially since it was still so, so hot out.  We managed a few trips to the beach and did a little bit of local sightseeing.

Once the wedding was over, everyone was back at work and school so we planned an excursion for the four of us to Jordan. This ended up being a highlight of the trip.  Despite the wall of heat, the kids really took to the country and loved every moment.  We flew from Tel Aviv to Eliat, and from the Eliat airport it was a short taxi ride to the border.  Once there we walked across the border to Jordan.  These days most of us experience border security at the airport but I’ll tell you it is a completely different experience when you are walking and see the fence, barbed wire and security with guns.

Since we were only in Jordan for a short time we hired a guide to take us everywhere and coordinate lodging.  While we normally do all of the logistics ourselves just being able to sit back and relax was nice.  Our first stop was Wadi Rum where we took a jeep ride through the desert.  Ezra loved this and I am pretty sure a smile never left his face.  We were there when the sun was setting so the rocks and sand turned a beautiful shade of orange plus the temperature dropped a little making the heat a bit more bearable. After a few hours we had to continue on to Petra but I really wish we had planned for a night in Wadi Rum.  I have never seen so many stars in the sky before and I would have loved more time taking in all in.

We arrived to the hotel late at night, had a quick bite to eat before going to bed and starting our next adventure at Petra the following day. The actual site was even more impressive than the photos.  We hired a guide to give an overview and he  was wonderful with our children and then spent some time exploring before leaving for Israel.  I’ll say getting up early was the right call because the morning temperatures were way more manageable.

Below are some of the photos that I took on the trip.

 

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We left Boston in the evening, I think around 10pm, so we put the kids in their PJs and played numerous games of Go Fish before the plane took off.

We were pretty excited about our AirBNB that Marc found.  It was in a great section of Tel Aviv, a few blocks from the beach and a bit eclectic.

Marc’s cousin built this beautiful house which is where we spent most of our time.  The kids loved the pool.  Even though I hate swimming I went in it every day to get a break from the heat. Despite the language barrier the kids got along really well.   What kid doesn’t love video games?  Next to the house is a beautiful park and playground where we spent one evening.

Marc’s parents stayed at a hotel near us so we spent some time with them.  In all of my trips to Israel, I had never been to the Carmel Market so we spent one afternoon there where I saw a child in a Habitat Camp t-shirt. A lot of our time was spent at the beach and at a nearby playground the kids kept asking to go to because they wanted to play on the  adult exercise equipment.

 

Again, there was lots of family time and wedding planning going on.  While a lot of the conversations were in Hebrew I could tell there was still a lot of pre-wedding stress.

We did spend one morning in Caesarea which is just north of Tel Aviv.  Ezra loved exploring the old fort and I loved the hummus restaurant we found.

Our second side trip was to Haifa.  Marc and I had visited the city  before but we thought the kids might enjoy seeing the Ba’hai Gardens.

As I mentioned early, one of the trip highlights was traveling to Jordan.

On our last day we walked around Yaffo.

And, then home! 

Beth Ann is a photographer based in Belmont MA just outside of Boston. She is currently booking Boston MA Newborn photography, Boston MA family photography and Boston MA baby photography sessions in the Boston, MA area. Be sure to contact her to photograph your newborn, baby, family or wedding.

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