Posts in category "Travel"

All Along The Watchtower - Masada and the Dead Sea (Israel Trip part 4)

All Along The Watchtower - Masada and the Dead Sea (Israel Trip part 4)
Continued from part three Over the Hills and Far Away…. The Judean hills around Jerusalem look a lot like those in Tuscany.  That is no coincidence I’m told.  The natural vegetation is mostly scrub, given the desert terrain.  The early pilgrims and other foreign visitors planted olive and pine to resemble the topography back in... Read more »

The Promised Land - Part two of the now legendary Israel Trip

A view of the Western Wall from above.
Link to previous article - Thirty-six hours in London Moses and the children of Israel wandered around in the desert for forty years. The old joke goes that even back then, the men wouldn’t stop and ask for directions. It also took me forty years of wandering around the US, Latin America and Europe before I made it to Israel, and no, I didn’t ask for directions either. Nor did I need a GPS to find the way. In 1984, I almost made it there. I got as far as Perugia Italy, the same city where Amanda Knox got in trouble, when I made the mistake of calling home. For reasons that are unimportant now, I turned around and went home, instead of continuing on to Greece, and then Israel. Almost thirty years later, I finally made it, accompanied by my wife, gifts for our relatives, some things my daughter requested, and a full on case of “traveler's diarrhea.” I tell you that, not because I want to be guilty of TMI, but so you can understand why I spent the following morning learning about the Israeli health care system, and not at the Israel Museum, where the rest of the group of visiting parents went. Despite not having an appointment, I waited no more than fifteen minutes before being seen by an American trained doctor. After being poked and prodded, then giving him all the pertinent details I could think of, he made his diagnosis, and sent me off to the pharmacy. The visit cost about a hundred bucks, and the prescription set me back about ten dollars. If I were a citizen, it would have cost me nothing. By the way, of the small sampling I queried, no Israelis had anything bad to say about their medical system. Armed with antibiotics and electrolytes, I let nature (and modern medicine) take its course. Lunch was out of the question, and rest was the order of the day, in an effort to make the trek into the old city of Jerusalem in the afternoon. Somebody needs to introduce the Israelis to Gatorade, because I sure could have used some to rehydrate. Nonetheless, I tagged along with the group, a bit woozy from loss of body fluids and no food. As I remember, we meandered along in the old city, as our guide pointed out significant landmarks. We learned that the Ottomans constructed the large walls that surround the old city in the 1500’s. The old city itself is divided into four quarters – Muslim, Armenian, Christian, and Jewish. Unfortunately, most of structures in the Jewish quarter were razed by the Jordanians after 1948, and were not rebuilt until 1967 when Israel recaptured the city. All construction is done with Jerusalem stone, so all the edifices retain the old look and feel. There were some shops along the way, where we purchased gifts, and even wandered into the Muslim market or shuk, where my wife purchased some spices. Later we found out, these could have been obtained for a lot less in the Mahane Yehuda Shuk (Jerusalem’s largest outdoor market.) ...

London Calling - Thirty Six Hours in the UK

London Calling - Thirty Six Hours in the UK
This is part two of a several articles on my recent visit to the UK and Israel Link to part one Even though the title suggests this voyage starts in London, like many of my scribbles, it’s another non-linear story that begins with planning a trip to Israel.  When we determined that in the course... Read more »
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Amazing Journey - Chronicling My Trip to Israel

Amazing Journey - Chronicling My Trip to Israel
The story of this journey actually begins at the end of a grueling twenty-four hour voyage home, while trying to figure out how to put a wonderful and exciting ten-day odyssey to the Holy Land in perspective.  As a writer, one has to separate out the personal things (that would only matter to a few... Read more »

My 11 Favorite U.S. Cities to Visit (by a Chicago area resident)

I've been here more than any other city, mainly because of convenience, but can't discount it for that. I love the Calatrava addition to the art museum, Summerfest, the Safe House restaurant and much else.
Memorial Day weekend is a time when many people hit the road, or catch a plane, to visit one of America’s great cities, national parks, recreational areas or wherever their family or friends may be. I stayed put in my suburban Chicago home this weekend, but had flown to Denver (home to the peer bear... Read more »

Paradise Found - Ocean Isle Beach NC

I found a little bit of paradise on the barrier islands that make up the southernmost part of the North Carolina coast.  Nestled halfway between Wilmington, NC and Myrtle Beach to the south, this picturesque island is almost exclusively single dwellings and seven miles of pristine beach.  To the west lies a few small inlets,... Read more »
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The Mandarin Oriental - An Elegant Oasis in the Middle of Las Vegas

The Mandarin Oriental - An Elegant Oasis in the Middle of Las Vegas
Some people go to Las Vegas to get fully immersed in the Sin City experience.  Stay on the “Strip” aka Las Vegas Boulevard, hit every casino, from the Mandalay Bay all the way to the Wynn.  At the same time, not every visitor to Vegas is a gambler.  A lot of trade shows take place... Read more »

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
by Steven Leventhal Last week I got back from a short trip to Sin City. Usually, my jaunts out to Las Vegas are ostensibly to play poker, one of my favorite sports; and don’t say Texas Hold ‘em is not a sport until you’ve played in an event where you have to sit at a... Read more »

Playing Tourist for a Change

Playing Tourist for a Change
by Steven Leventhal I just wrapped up nearly a month of playing tourist guide to family and friends visiting Chicago.  My hosting duties took me to locales as varied as museums, Second City, a Fourth of July parade, and the Taste of Chicago. Sunday in the Park by Georges Seurat Nearly a month ago, I... Read more »
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The Newseum - Not Just for News Junkies

This past weekend I had the opportunity to go see the Newseum in its two-year old new home at Pennsylvania and Sixth Avenue in Washington, DC, a few short blocks from the White House.  Who knew the Blackhawks would be in the Stanley Cup finals when we booked our trip.  At least, I got back... Read more »
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