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7 Days in Israel: Part 1 {doughnuts, Jerusalem, an amazing hotel, and political discussions}


If you missed my other trip posts, read the Day #1 recap, the Day #2 recap, and the Day #3 recap.

Day #4 of our Epic Trip to Italy and Israel with the  was an exciting day — we were flying to Israel and we couldn’t be more thrilled!

7 Days in Israel

We had to split into two groups for the flights… and gratefully, I ended up with the later group that didn’t need to leave until 8:45 a.m. 🙂

The lounge at the airport was amazing — probably the nicest airport lounge I’ve ever been in (of course, I’m too cheap to actually pay for an airport lounge pass when I’m traveling, so I don’t have a lot of different airport lounges to compare this one, too. 🙂 Our hosts took such great care of us on this trip and flew us Business Class everywhere — so the lounge passes were included at all the airports!)

I may have let out a little squeal when I saw that there was not only a barista at the lounge and I could get my favorite Cafe Latte, but that they also had doughnuts. I know, I know… we are in ROME and on our way to ISRAEL and here I am geeking out about doughnuts.

But sometimes, it’s the little things. Also, doughnuts are right up there with pancakes in being some of the best food ever invented, in my book! 🙂
7 Days in Israel

We left the hotel in Italy at 8:45 a.m. and arrived at our hotel in Jerusalem at around 5:45 p.m. — it was a long travel day, so this amazing hotel room couldn’t have been more welcoming.

{Yes, there was a TV in the bathroom mirror. I turned it on just to take a picture. I never had a moment to watch TV the whole trip, but it was cool to take a picture of it!!}

7 Days in Israel

I was pretty blown away at the accommodations! But seeing as we were going to be going-going-going-going while in Israel, I was SO grateful for this room to come back to at night for the 4 nights we stayed in Jerusalem.

Interesting side note: We were actually supposed to stay at a different hotel across the street, but they moved us at the last minute because Vice President Biden came into town and was staying there for the first two days so we couldn’t stay there while he was there (I’m not sure if they cleared the entire hotel or if they just needed some of our rooms or what, but it was kind of fun to know that we got “booted” from our hotel because of him!)

After a fancier dinner where we heard more about the (I was SO impressed with it and cannot WAIT until it’s open so our family can go!) and also had a lively discussion about politics with (he’s an American-born Israeli historian, author, politician, former ambassador to the United States, and current member of the Knesset for the Kulanu party), I headed to my room to catch up on some work and get to bed before a big day in Israel the next day.

7 Days in Israel

Stay tuned tomorrow for a l-o-n-g post about our first full day in Israel!

Have you ever been to Israel before? If not, what would you love for me to blog about my trip there? Let me know in the comments!

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  • B. says:

    I find the idea of a tv in the bathroom mirror kind of horrifying, actually!! Lol!!! 🙂

    Wow, what a beautiful hotel! And so funny that you were kicked out because of Biden!

    Thanks for sharing!!

    • Jo says:

      It did feel a little weird! I forgot to mention in the post that I took the pictures for Jesse and didn’t plan to share them here… thus the reason it looks like my stuff is literally plunked down on the bed/floor of the hotel. Because I had just gotten there and was exhausted, but I was excited about the hotel so dumped my stuff down and took pictures! 🙂

  • Beth says:

    I’m really enjoying your accounts, and was really impressed that you met Michael Oren. He’s such an amazing speaker and I think the wisest voice around when it comes to Israel. Looking forward to more pictures and stories about your trip!

    • Jo says:

      He definitely provided some rousing debate and conversation at the dinner table!! I was so impressed with how well-spoken and articulate he was!

  • Nichole says:

    Your trip was sponsored by Museum of the Bible, right? What was the purpose of your trip?

    • Jo says:

      The mission of this trip was to bring together a diverse group of people to get excited about the Bible and how it has impacted history. They secondarily wanted to give us a behind-the-scenes look at how the museum has come together and their heart behind it (we got to meet many different people and groups they are working with — such as those from the Sistene Chapel, those from the Jewish faith, those at the Vatican museum, etc.)

      {We weren’t asked to blog about anything about the trip… I just chose to because I had such a great experience and received many requests to share about it!}

  • says:

    My sister and parents visited Israel a couple years ago. It was a life changing experience for them, to say the very least. They said it made the Bible come to life. They also loved the food, and did a TON of walking!

    I would also love to know the more about the reason behind going with the Museum of the Bible!

  • Sarah says:

    Wasn’t there some terriost type attacks during the time you were there? Or just before? I am curious if you were nervous? I know I would be!

    • Jo says:

      Yes, there was — it was the day before we came! Yikes! The American who was killed was from Nashville. 🙁

      They hired security to be with us, as a result, and were careful where we went. They also asked us to stay close together as a group when we were in areas that were known to be more dangerous and we had a few people with us who knew which areas we especially needed to be mindful of, etc.

  • Cheryl says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your experiences in Israel! Please keep blogging about the sights, sounds, people and (of course) incredible Israeli food! You’re in for a treat on Purim! Hope you make it to Hezekiah’s tunnel, Masada, the Dead Sea, Caesaria, the Banias, the Haganah museum, Yad va Shem… : )

  • says:

    I’m really enjoying these posts! I am so glad you are doing in depth day by day accounts.

    Also I love that you posted a picture with your stuff strewn about! I saw in your comment above that it wasn’t a picture you intended to post but for some it’s so comforting to see that lol so I’m glad you went ahead and put it up there! You always remind me nobody is perfect and not to let imperfections hold me back. (Side note but that’s how I feel when I see the occasional typos here to. Whenever I see one they are always encouraging to me and remind me perfection is not necessary to be impactful. And I hope you hear my heart in that, I’m not pointing that out to be critical but letting you know I’m thankful for you just sharing anyway! And I didn’t see any in this post just a general statement ?).

    Ok on to what I would love to hear about. I am looking forward to hearing about what it was like to actually be in the places where so much of God’s eternal plan unfolded.

    I’d love to see and hear about what had the biggest affect on you and why and anything you feel the Lord impressed on your heart about His love for people and cultivating a deep relationship with Him as a result. I know you spend quite a bit of time consistently with God, reading your bible and praying, was your spiritual experience during that daily time any different there or any takeaways that will be different in your relationship with Him as a result of actually being there and walking where Jesus physically was and all the different things you saw and learned about from the people there.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hubby and I went to Israel for our 2nd time in December…we were mostly in Jerusalem, by plan…and a couple days in Arad with friends too. It is an amazing place!!

  • Jen says:

    You had me at doughnuts.!!! I feel like I’m a weirdo though….so glad to hear you do too!

    Also, I’ve loved the trip in general…my hubby and I looked at your Rome pics and reminisced about our pre-kids Europe trip. Fun to see another’s pics, because it brings back memories in a different way than your own that you’ve seen a bunch of times!

  • Christy says:

    Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. Makes me giggle because, travel can be intense and exhausting at times..and then there’s the currency and language and foreign outlets. you will catch up to yourself very soon…

  • Elizabeth says:

    I have such a desire to go to Israel and I am loving all your posts. I love hearing about the sights, sounds and feelings that come with visiting there.

  • Lindsay says:

    My sister just sent me a link to your article because my husband and I are heading to Israel this year. We are so excited to go so I’m looking forward to hearing more about your trip. Especially as we are planning everything that we would like to see while we are there!

  • Kimberly says:

    I have nvr been but enjoying every detail of your trip nvr too much.
    Thank you for sharing your trip awesome to hear and see.
    God’s Blessing’s and Love to you Always.

  • bracha says:

    I have been there 3 times.. Anything you write is about Israel is amazing.. I feel like I am there with you. Israel is living history.

  • Avenlea says:

    It sounds like it was an awesome trip!! Thanks for sharing all the details with us! 🙂 How did you know what to pack and did you get a chance to wash clothes while you were there?

    • Jo says:

      They gave us some guidelines on what to pack and I also did my own research. It helps that I’ve traveled overseas before. I washed clothes in the bathroom and hung them up to dry! 🙂

  • Sarah D. says:

    Yes! Of course, we want you to blog about your time in Israel!! 🙂

    • Sarah D. says:

      Haha, I misread the question at the end of your post. I thought it was asking for us to let you know if we wanted you to blog about your time in Israel. That’s what I get for speed-reading! 🙂 I would love to see pics, hear about the food, what you saw, your impressions, etc.

  • TEresa says:

    My son went last summer. He went with a group called Covenant journey. For $500 he has the most amazing trip stayed in the best hotels and went to all the historical sites. If you have a christian college student you should look into it. Changed his life, made his faith so much stronger.

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