A Date in Jerusalem

by Brian on August 9, 2012

in Just For Fun,Travel

Every year on our wedding anniversary, my wife Jody and I try to get away to a bed and breakfast/spa, somewhere in Israel for a night or two. This year, however, the prices were even higher than usual – the cost for a vacation in Israel was double that for a flight and hotel in Bulgaria (a sweet deal, assuming lightning doesn’t strike twice). But with two kids now in the army, including one in basic training, we didn’t want leave the country.

So we made an anniversary “date” in Jerusalem for our 24th. It turned out fabulous at a fraction of the price. With all of the children out of the house (our youngest is at sleep away camp), we slept in, then headed for the Israel Museum where we breezed through the special exhibit “A World Next Door – Glimpses Into the Life of Hassidic Jews before getting lost in the Modern Art section of the museum (the collection of Dada period paintings is quite extensive).

Perhaps appropriately, we stopped for lunch at “Modern,” the museum’s upscale restaurant. The food is pricey and decent – Jody called her salmon one of the best she’s ever ordered out, but my beef stew with root vegetables didn’t pass into “excellent” zone. But it was the business lunch and, this being August, the entire museum was packed with children, so maybe Modern was overwhelmed.

Jody and I love to hike, so we zipped back home, packed up some granola bars, dates, figs, nuts and the dog (the latter was for walking not eating), and drove to Har Eitan, adjacent to the Sataf National Park up the hill from Ein Kerem. Har Eitan includes an 8 kilometer ring route around the mountain; the ups and downs are moderate and it’s wide and smooth (no concrete) making it ideal for joggers and bikers (we saw many) as well as small dogs with sensitive feet.

There’s not a lot of shade on this tiyul, so the best way to handle this hike is either to hit it early morning or at the end of the day when the sun is heading down and the summer heat starts to dissipate. We brought a flashlight just in case we timed it wrong and full darkness set in (it did).

How do you end a perfect date in Jerusalem? We stopped by Aldo on Emek Refaim on the way back, bought a small take-away carton of gelato (French Vanilla, Cookies and Cream and Bittersweet Chocolate), returned home, and ate our sweet treat while watching an episode of our favorite TV show, “Parenthood.”

Initially I was disappointed by the idea of not leaving town for our anniversary, but it worked out very well and the price, at just under NIS 350 (including too much ice cream), was way less than a tenth of what it would have cost to go away. If you have a special day coming up, you couldn’t do better than playing tourist in your hometown.

I originally shared our anniversary plans on Israelity.

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