I went to Israel in January of 2009 with Birthright Hillel. We had a unique experience because shortly after we arrived Israel invaded Gaza. It is referred to as the 12 Days War (there are other names as well) and we were in Israel for 12 days. More information about Birthright, Hillel, and the war can be found below. Additionally, you can find the link to all my videos from Israel and the trip plan below. Posts from the 12 days will be coming soon.
Monthly Archives: December 2013
I have decided to re-release my blog posts on Israel. Tomorrow will mark the 5th anniversary of my trip to Israel so I figured what better time to do it. My Israel posts were my first ones I posted on this blog so I had no idea what I was doing. 🙂 The majority of you haven’t read them yet so enjoy reading about my journey through Israel. It was a great trip despite the fact the country was at war. When you are done with my journey through Israel I promise I will have some new travel content for you. I still have lots of places left to write about. I have been lazy lately. I will try to do better in the New Year!
Since I love to travel I make a to do list of all the places I want to see and eat in the world. Slowly my surely I am checking them off one country at a time. I also have a to do list for my own city, NYC. The funny thing is I rarely work on accomplishing that list. I feel like the places won’t go anywhere so I can always come back to them at another time. However, that’s not true. The economy has forced a lot of places to close so by the time I go to do them I can’t. My friends and I wanted to go to lunch during our break. I decided I should cross a place off of my list. So I decided we should go to Breads Bakery on east 16th.
The place is a bit pricey, but then again it is NYC. I arrived an hour early (long story). I wanted to buy everything. I had just gone to the bank and my new twenty was itching to be spent. I wound up ordering 3 potato burekas (it’s a Sephardic savory pastry), 2 feta burekas, and 3 spinach burekas. I also ordered 4 chocolate rugelach. The guy teased with me that I was ordering for a party. It came out to $15. I got back to my table and 2 rugelach were missing. I went back to the counter and apologized. They gave me one for free. While I waited for my friends the place got packed. People were buying and eating the most delicious breads and pastries. They were also giving out samples. I decided to eat my potato burekas and I was in heaven. Yummmmmmmmm. I knew I needed to buy more.
My friends came and we chatted for a while. Flora ordered a tuna sandwich, hot chocolate, and two rugelach. The rugelach wound up being too sweet for her. They are made Israeli style so lots of chocolate and some honey. Passcell ordered an espresso looking drink and burekas. I ordered 3 more potato and 2 poppy seed rolls (they looked amazing). The rolls were so soft and yummy. I enjoyed the rugelach they transported me back to my breakfasts in Israel. The feta burekas were beyond delicious and I regret not buying more. The spinach were great as well.
I’m so glad I got to cross this place off my list. Time to cross another one off soon. I can’t wait to come back and buy more burekas from here.
This box is of the Portland skyline. I bought this past June for $7.95. I bought it at the gift shop for the historical society. The guy was super sweet and made sure I had a new one in a box. The trinket inside the box is of a rose. That’s because Portland is known as Rose City. The box reminds me of the Boston skyline one I own.
Author E.M. Forster knew the value of a room with a view; he used the phrase to name one of his most beloved novels. Here are some hotels with views so special that you’ll have a hard time dragging yourself out the door.
St. Regis Bora Bora
People tend to use the shorthand “Tahiti” when referring to French Polynesia, a vast scattering of islands that covers a nearly a million square miles of the South Pacific. Some of French Polynesia’s island chains barely break the surface of the water, but the Society Islands are mountainous, with stunning Bora Bora containing the famed double peaks of Mt. Otemanu and Mt. Pahia. Mainland Bora Bora is ringed with islands, called motu, and one of the most luxurious motu resorts—positioned for maximum vistas of the lagoon and the pair of mountains—is the St. Regis Bora Bora. Overwater villas, some with their own (decadently redundant) overwater pools, boast enchanting Otemanu views.
My best Eiffel Tower-from-the-room experience occurred at the venerable Hôtel Plaza Athénée, when I stayed in an art deco suite with a view of Paris’ tallest landmark from the glass-tiled bathtub. But with the Plaza closed for a major expansion until May 2014, view seekers should make note of the Shangri-La. Although the Plaza was where Carrie ran into “Mr. Big” during the final episode of “Sex and the City,” but the Shangri-La is no slouch is the fame department: It was the former home of Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandnephew, and its interiors are the vision of Pierre-Yves Rochon, the king of luxury hotel design. You can enjoy BVLGARI White Tea toiletries while taking in the Eiffel Tower view from one of the Shangri-La’s soaking tubs.
Photo: Drew Limsky)
Mandarin Oriental, New York City
When I first came to New York, Columbus Circle was an oddity: The household-name landmark rests fabulously on the southwest entrance of Central Park, and yet it was plainly in disrepair. The buildings that flanked it were roundly dismissed, even mocked. When plans for the Time Warner Center were announced, and people contemplated a shopping center—a mall!—in Manhattan, locals were dubious. But the glittering edifice has glamorized the location, and the Mandarin Oriental, which occupies the upper floors of the north tower, has been a big part of that renewal. Its exclusive sky lobby, Asiate restaurant and richly textured rooms seem to float above Central Park, offering some of the city’s best views of the park’s trees and trails.
Hotel Palazzo Manfredi, Rome
One of the most thrilling things about the Eternal City is how accessible the ruins are. You walk down a street, and suddenly you come upon one of the world’s most iconic sights. This is especially true of the nearly 2,000-year-old Colosseum, which rises from a low-slung neighborhood and is encircled by a greenbelt. Just a few blocks away, the Palazzo Manfredi, an elegant boutique hotel, offers great Colosseum views both from its rooms and from Aroma, the hotel’s magical rooftop restaurant. Between the hotel and the Colosseum on Via Labicana are the ruins of gladiators’ barracks—and the city’s so-called Gay Street, lined with bistros and bars.
Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
I’ve been to St. Lucia several times, and to me, there’s no point to going unless you hole up in the area of the Pitons, the twin “volcanic plugs” that attest to the island’s geologically violent beginnings. Several resorts lay claim to fantastic locations that overlook either Gros Piton or Petit Piton, but only Anse Chastanet and its more luxe sister property, Jade Mountain, offer awe-inspiring views of both Pitons side by side. The guest rooms of the two resorts have done away with one wall to maximize the panoramas, and Jade Mountain’s rooms have enviable private infinity pools that (when you stand in the right place) reflect the peaks, doubling the double vision.
Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
One of the more surprising things about pulchritudinous Southern California is how few resorts capture the area’s coastal majesty. But the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, which is actually located in Dana Point due south of Laguna Beach, makes the most of its commanding view atop a 150-foot cliff. The altitude allows for serpentine walkways, grand terraces and subtropical gardens descending from the building to the beach, an especially popular break for Orange County’s surfers. There are even terraced lawns ringed with Adirondack chairs for quiet contemplation of the rolling Pacific waves. New fireplace guest rooms boast sweeping views of the coves below, and when I stayed on the top floor, I had an endless all-water vista framed by palm trees.
(Photo: Navin Rajagopalan / Flickr)
Gritti Palace, Venice
A setting on the Grand Canal would be coveted by any Venice hotelier, but the Gritti Palace, which reopened last May after a $55 million renovation, bests all competitors. I was present during the early stages of the renovation, and I got to watch craftsmen shape and paint the guestrooms’ ornate new moldings so the hotel could once again live up to its lineage as Doge Andrea Gritti’s 16th-century residence. Now the interiors equal the hotel’s peerless view of the gorgeously domed Basilica Santa Maria della Salute, in Dorsoduro across the Grand Canal. Of course the Presidential Suite commands the front and center of the palace, but note that the corner rooms overlook two canals—so it’s gondolas galore.
I got this box near Quincy Market in March of 2007. It was around St. Patrick’s Day. There was a little shop on the corner that I picked it up from. I was on Spring Break with my school at the time. I don’t remember how much it was but it was probably $8 or $9. The box is of the Boston skyline. The trinket inside is of a lobster, which is super cute! This box is very similar to other ones I have in my collection. You will see them soon.
I bought this box on my most recent trip to Boston. I believe it was $8 or $9. I bought it at the Old North Church gift shop. I own another pillbox from Boston that I bought in Feb. 2007, which I’ll post soon. This box is obviously of the church and has two images of Paul Revere on it. Old North Church is where he had the lanterns hung to let everyone that the British were coming. The trinket inside is of a lantern.
The Brooklyn Museum has something called Target First Saturdays. At night you can visit the museum for free and the special exhibits for a small fee. They also have music and other performances. I have been wanting to go to the Brooklyn Museum for the longest time because they have a great Egyptian section. It’s considered one of the best in the world. Additionally, John Paul Gaultier has a temporary exhibit there that I wanted to see. The exhibit is usually $15, but was only $10 because of Target First Saturday. We waited online for well over a hour, but it was worth it in the end. The mannequins for the exhibit were images of real models so they blinked, talked, sang, etc. Creepy and cool at the same time. My pictures are below: