News of the Cruise (Part 11: A Last Hurrah)

Shabbat was over, and the good ship Diadema was now steaming towards Marseille, the final port of call on the “AACI’s Marvelous Kosher Cruise” before we would return to Barcelona for the flight back home. It occurred to me that we were headed towards two very different versions of Marseilles: the politically correct city described in Wikipedia (the second largest French city, with a history going back 30,000 years, a major center for trade, industry, and tourism), or the less glamorous one described here (For many years, the busy port city of Marseille has suffered from a serious image problem. Dismissed for its down-at-heel reputation, urban decay and often alarming crime statistics, it’s been the black sheep of the Provençal coastline.) A very serious image problem indeed! Maybe that’s why there was so little interest among our cruise mates to head into the city, even though there is, by all accounts, a lot to see there. I can’t imagine what people expected to happen if we were to wander through Le Panier. Seasoned travelers have stated most emphatically that your chances of having your pocket picked are much greater in Rome or Barcelona, but who’s to say? Continue reading

Another Day in the Jordan Valley

Here’s a stumper for you: think of a place where you’d never ever want to live, and…… you can’t imagine why anybody else would want to live there – but…… you’re truly glad that somebody is living there. Are you ready for my answer: The Jordan Valley – not that far from where we are, a little bit east of Yerushalayim. And that’s where Shelley Brinn (along with tour guide Susie ben-David) was taking us on a Thursday when it was supposed to rain, but we caught a break, and it didn’t. Continue reading