Credit where credit is due – Dans Deals for the win again! Cheap tickets to Israel, for two weeks, with a long stopover on the way in… Barcelona!
Booked a private English speaking tour (Barcelona Day Tours) in advance that picked us up from the airport – there’s a place you can pay to store your luggage in the airport. The tour was on the pricier side, but they take care of everything for you, and we got to see a lot… the beach, Olympic arena, views, architecture, and nature. There’s a Chabad in Barcelona and a lot of Jewish history from the Medieval times. There’s also a kosher restaurant (fleishig) there, but it wasn’t open during the hours we were out and about.
We were then taken back to the airport, where we found out our flight was delayed 15 minutes… then half hour… an hour… 3 hours… 6 hours… not taking off at all! The only information available was from one lone stewardess, who kudos to her, only fainted three hours into being yelled at by a plane full of angry Israelis + the Israeli Judo team. And that’s when the Whatsapp group was born, which consisted of more angry Israeli’s, ways to get back to Israel before Shabbos, and talk of refunds (we ended up emailing ElAl describing said trip, and they offered us either free RT tickets from Israel to Europe, or $641 cash. We took the cash).
Hour eleven is when the flight was officially cancelled; representatives were sent around asking who needed to be put up in a hotel overnight, compliments of ElAl. When asked if transportation to hotel would be provided, they answered in the positive. We then followed up by asking how far away the hotel was… two hours each way! Thanks but no thanks. We contacted all American relatives at that point to get us on the next flight back to Israel, which ElAl paid for, with a quick stopover in Rome. Naturally, we slept in the airport at that point.
We got to Israel with one suitcase lost, and three hours to get to our AirBNB in J-lem from Tel Aviv. B”H we have a friend who lives in Israel who was joining us for Shabbos – she was able to buy us pre-made food for Shabbos. We also had to run around buying new clothes for the girl who was a suitcase down (more about that later). The AirBNB we used was on Yaffo, and he was super accommodating, considering we arrived a day later and right before Shabbos. (ElAl also reimbursed us for the day we didn’t end up spending in Israel).
We ended up sleeping most of the Shabbos away, because it was the first time we had a bed in 72 hours. No hair or make-up was done. We did get to walk to the Kotel on Shabbos though! Motzei Shabbos we did a classic Ben Yehuda ice cream run. Remember, this is a judgement free zone.
SUNDAY – we met up with other friends in Israel. The goal of the day was to get our suitcase-less friend the essentials needed for continued travel. Ran through all the classics in one day: Yafo -> ben yehuda -> geulah -> meah shearim -> mamilla -> kotel -> Old City light show! We took a cab that had a flat 150NIS rate to the airport from Jerusalem (+972 50-632-2091) that you can Whatsapp. You can also take a shuttle bus from the Tachana Mercazit straight to the airport that’s really cheap, leaves every hour, and has USB charging ports on board. We then packed and got ready for our next stop… Greece!