It was a great day.
We woke up in Cairo, enjoyed breakfast overlooking the pyramids, and visited with our new "friends" before heading to the airport. We flew with Turkish airlines, our new favorite airline. They were amazing.
Our flight arrived in Istanbul around noon and we began our 12-hour layover adventure in Turkey. Istanbul is now one of our all time top favorite cities. We don't really enjoy cities, rural charm always trumps urban chaos for us, but Istanbul was truly impressive. After we'd had all the fun we could get (aka - got too cold at night), we headed back to the airport to catch our 1 a.m. flight to Tel Aviv.
We arrived around 3:30 a.m., hoping to be allowed entry to Israel without any issue. With their necessarily high security we've experienced their reputation for serious interrogation upon entry more than once. Instead, the guy checking us through looked as tired as we felt, barely acknowledged our existence, and without uttering even a quiet "shalom," issued our new 3 month tourist visa and we were on our way. Best entry ever. I credit the holiday - it is Pesach (Passover) today. Hag Pesach Sameach - Happy Passover Feast!
The best, most affordable way to get to Jerusalem after arriving on your own in Tel Aviv, is to take the Sherut (a.k.a. "Nesher"). These 10 passenger vans take you to most desired addresses in and around Jerusalem. They don't leave until they are full (in our experience) which was unfortunate because we were the first to crawl in at 3:30 this morning. We were the first on the van, but our address is the furthest from Jersualem proper, closer to Bethlehem, so we were the last stop. We made it home just after the sun came up.
It was a long, 3 country day. We had a great trip, traveled hard, and are glad to be back in Jerusalem for "Holy Week." Now I've got a LOT of photos to edit and will be posting details and pictures of our adventure soon. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers as we've traveled, considering all we undertook and the cultures we crossed, it went supernaturally smoothly. Here are a few sneak peak pictures from the three countries we traveled in one day - details on each to come!