Day 1-2: After 36 hours of travel, I am finally here!

After 36 hours of travel, including layovers, I finally made it to Israel, which is where my journey begins.

I know 36 hours seems like a lot, and in fact, it really is, but for my budget and travel needs, these are the flights that worked best.  I thought the 8 hour layover I had in Beijing would be rough, but I learned a trick, and I will fill you in later in this post.  I was just glad to finally get to Tel Aviv, and I was extra excited to know that after 36 hours, I did not feel exhausted or ill.  I tried something new, and I credit my comfort after 36 hours to the combination- compression socks, scopalamine patch (for motion sickness), and a visit to a special lounge in Beijing, where I was able to shower and nap.

Let's get started!  For the next few weeks, I will be posting exclusively on my trip.  This will include, history, sights, food and culture.

I started off flying from Tokyo to Beijing.  I have been there before so I didn't feel that I needed to be taken on a quick trip out of the airport to sight see all evening.
On the flight, I was served this meal.  It was actually pretty good.
Here is my secret weapon in China for my long layover.  This is an hourly hotel room.  I won't lie, this was rather pricey, but very worth it in the end.  I showered, ordered room service for dinner and took a 3 hour nap.
The rooms were very clean and definitely sufficient for my needs.  The shower was perfect too.  Somehow, in the end, with the nap, I felt well rested on my next flight and didn't even fall asleep.
I ordered some dinner, and this soup came with my entree.
For dinner I had one of my favorite Chinese dishes- eggs and tomatoes.
I was happy to find a Starbucks after I woke up and checked out.
Next up was the longest portion of this trip.  I flew from Beijing to Madrid.
This time we were served 2 meals, and I think they look rather similar.  I liked that there was dragon fruit on this first tray.

Once in Madrid, I headed to the place I found last year that had good food and one outlet so I could charge my phone.  There are actually only 2 outlets that I found in that area, so I was happy to see this one open.  I ordered some olives and tortilla Espanola.  It was a tad too early in the day for me to order wine.
After a short layover in Madrid, I waited to board my flight to Tel Aviv, which is where I was meeting up with my mom, step dad and my sister, Rachel.
Thankfully I was able to get a little more sleep in on this flight.  The meal resembles the others I had eaten before, so I picked at this a little, and mostly ate the fruit.
I loved these little oil and vinegar packets.
Once I made it to Tel Aviv and cleared customs, I met up with my taxi driver, who is someone I met last year when I was in Israel.  He took me to our hotel, Prima.
As I was getting ready to walk in the door, I heard my name.  I turned to see my family ordering from a juice and ice cream shop across the street.  I immediately ran to join them, suitcases and all, and I enjoyed a cherry ice cream.  It was great because it was so warm outside and I came from Japan where it was much colder, so obviously I was dressed in something warmer than I really needed.  On that same note, since it was really hot outside, the ice cream started melting quickly and made a huge, but tasty, mess.
Next stop was my room.  My sister already had some of her things set up, but there was still plenty of room for me.
Here is a lovely view of the sun setting over the Mediterranean Sea.  Our hotel is right by the beach, and in fact is right next to where I was standing to take this picture.
None of us were actually too hungry for dinner since we were all messed up with what time it really was- I came from Japan and they came from the east coast (USA).  We decided to try out this Irish Pub, Molly Blooms.  It was actually really good and pretty busy on a Sunday night.  We sat outside, which is something I really miss.  It's not nearly as popular in Japan as it is in Europe.
My sister and I split the smoked salmon sandwich.
We all split the fish and chips, which were awesome.
My mom ordered a nice looking salad.
After dinner we walked around a little more and explored, all the while seeking out dessert.

Joe and I ordered some of the frozen yogurt with fruit toppings.  Mine was plain yogurt topped with peaches, banana, strawberry and chocolate chips.
Here it is at another angle.  I definitely enjoyed this one!
Joe topped his with fruit and a fruit syrup on top.  Looks like some dates and watermelon from this angle.  I think we will be trying that place out again before we leave Tel Aviv.

Also, in case anyone finds this as cool as I do, I have technically now circled the globe.  I didn't do it all at once, but by flying from Beijing to Madrid, I officially completed a circle around the world (over many years of course).  I happen to think that is neat.  Now, I just need to get to the Southern Hemisphere, and that is coming up later in 2012!

QUESTIONS: What was the longest time you ever spent traveling?  For me, it was definitely the 36 hours it took me to get to Israel from Japan.  What are some travel tips you have for surviving long journeys and not feeling burnt out by the time you get to your destination?


Beth said...

I'm excited to read about your trip!

I think the longest flight I've ever taken was one back from Rome a few years ago. We had 6 hour delay (3 in the airport, 3 in the tarmac) and we missed our connection. No fun!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

Glad you made it to Israel and are with your family! The hourly hotel sounds like a great idea! I think your layover experience would have been very different without it...

My longest trip was a flight from Frankfurt to San Francisco. The airplane had some engine damage, so three hours into the flight we had to turn around. But before we could land, they had to dump most of the fuel, which took forever. Then they repaired the airplane for a couple of hours, but we weren't allowed to get off. So what was supposed to be a eleven hour flight turned into 20+ hours on the airplane. Not fun.

Enjoy your trip! Looking forward to your posts!

Special K said...

YOU are so awesome! Congrats for trekking across all the way around the world....looking forward to seeing you come my way!

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