If you want to learn a huge amount about Jerusalem and Israel (or I’m sure any other sites this Company visits), whilst doing so in an engaging and energising way, then book a tour with them now! Especially with Nadia, who is the best guide I’ve ever had. It’s worth the price.
For context, I went on 12th June and was a solo traveller with little knowledge about the history of Israel and Jerusalem (or Islam/Christianity/Judaism) but have travelled extensively and usually find group day tours interesting but often struggle to be truly engaged / excited. Often guides tell you numerous facts about touristic places of interest in a rehearsed manner, whilst you stop off at the relevant sites to take pictures and then move on. I’ll break down why this tour was the highlight of my trip:
Tour guide: Nadia is magnetic - her enthusiasm and passion to share her knowledge means you genuinely engage with everything she says. Mixed with a great sense of humour and personal interactions with everyone in the small tour group (whilst still being professional / respectful and caring), you won’t find yourself getting bored as I often am when people simply throw facts at me. Instead, I didn’t want to miss a word and she made me want to learn more. She was honest about her potential bias given her background and did a great job of giving a balanced and fair view given the sensitivity of some of the history discussed and sites visited. I didn’t think she was preaching one view at all, which can be a concern for some when doing these tours, but instead did a great job to help people understand the nuances around the complexity of Israel and Jerusalems history in an empathetic way. She encouraged people to ask as many questions as they wanted. She’s also highly intelligent with fascinating life experience - her background growing up and living in cities all over the world, including being a lawyer at a top firm in London, to then studying again to become a tour guide in Israel is amazing, giving her a refined perspective that honestly wouldn’t be the same with most qualified tour guides. Above all, she really cared for everyone to have a great time and take away what they wanted from the experience. She’s also very relaxed and happy for you to not pay attention, or rest or do frankly whatever you wish! I had the best day and learnt so much thanks to her.
Tour bus/organisation: pick up and communication was good from the Company despite booking at the last minute. A later start than other tours is also much better for enjoying the day. The tour bus / van was clean, well equipped and reflected the price paid with a lovely and helpful driver too (thank you Sir!). The group size was big enough for a solo traveler like me to enjoy whilst feeling small enough to be a personal experience. They also dropped me off at the airport on the way back to Tel Aviv - very kind of them and saved me a lot of time, allowing me to squeeze the trip into my schedule, in another example of going out of their way to accommodate you.
Jerusalem: a unique and fascinating place given the history I learnt on the day! You can read enough online so will skip the details here
Lunch: food was a platter of vegetarian options (you could order meat separately) - salads and mezze to share with others. Bring other snacks in your bag if you’re the type to get hungry.
What to bring: bring some cash for the drinks break and if you want to buy any souvenirs (this is one thing I think they should have told people about in advance as I didn’t have cash, although Nadia kindly lent me some) - another good thing about this trip is you don’t stop off at any shops and feel pressured to buy anything - instead if you want to finish lunch early you can buy something from the shops nearby at your own discretion. As expected, you will need sun protection and water (or just buy it during the break).
They also took group pictures that she shared after the tour which is a nice touch.
Thanks again Nadia - from your London PE friend!