I had considered package tours to Israel and Jordan but was unsatisfied with the itineraries. I had kept Wendy Perrin's’ article in Condè Nast Traveller on “Top Travel Specialists”. I decided to contact the Susan Weissberg from Wyllys Travel who was listed as one of the experts for Israel and it turned out to be an excellent decision. Susan spoke with me and assessed my interests and developed an individualized itinerary which covered the sites I was interested in touring. Susan’s organization and attention to detail made the trip go smoothly and flawlessly which was quite a feat considering all the transfers that took place. Susan had informed me that we had a special service to escort us through the airport upon arrival and departure in Israel. I had no idea how valuable that service would turn out to be. We were met at the gate upon arrival in Tel Aviv and quickly escorted through a special elevator to a private van and transported to immigration where we went to the front of the line and processed through immigration. Upon departure, we arrived 2 ½ prior to our flight and had no time to spare. If it were not for the special service getting us through the many security check points, we would have missed our flight (I estimate it would have taken 4-5 hours to get through all of the lines).
Susan was known by name at all of the hotels and tour companies, and they all made a point of ensuring we were happy and well served. We received excellent rooms with views at all of the hotels. Upon arrival at the Carlton Hotel in Tel Aviv, the manager personally greeted us and Susan had roses, an excellent bottle of wine, and fruit in our room. All of the extra attention to detail and perks by Susan made for the perfect trip including her selection of our guides.
Yuval De-Joannes guided us for our 8 days in Israel. I can’t say enough about Yuval. He was, by far, the all around best guide I've had in my over 30 years of travel. Yuval’s knowledge of history, religion, civilizations, and his familiarity with the country and people is unsurpassed. He is very well read and someone who loves to learn and is always researching and reading to expand upon his knowledge. Yuval is able to quickly assess the interest of his clients and adapt the tours and sites to individual interests. We were interested in buying quality Olive Oil and Yuval took us to a small local family owned business that was starting to press olive oil that day. It was quite a treat. We had a fairly aggressive schedule and Yuval made sure to plan out the days and adjust as necessary to ensure we saw all the sites on our itinerary plus a few extras. Whether you are walking the path of Jesus and his disciples, or through the ruins of the cities build by Herod the Great, Yuval, through his storytelling abilities, brought the history and its characters to life. Yuval always supplied us with bottles of water and when the days got hot, he pulled out the icy bottles which were always a welcome treat. Whether it was sites to see, or restaurants, Yuval always had the perfect recommendations. Yuval is a very kind and good hearted person and it was a pleasure to spend 8 days with him. He took good care of us and I hated for the time to end but we still had our visit to Jordan ahead.
All of the transfers at the Israel and Jordan borders went smoothly which I again attribute to Susan’s stellar planning. Our Jordanian guide Odehi (Audi) meet us at the border and guided us to Wadi Rum and Petra. Audi was also an excellent guide and was very knowledgeable. Audi had a background in geology which made the tour of Wadi Rum all the more interesting. He too made sure we were well taken care of and escorted us both day and night. We took a cooking course at Petra Kitchen which was very fun and Audi stayed until class was complete and escorted us back to the hotel.
Throughout the trip, Susan and our guides made us feel very safe and we had no worries and were free to enjoy the experience of Israel and Jordan.