Guide in Jerusalem

This item appears on page 31 of the November 2010 issue.
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I was in Israel for a conference and had three days afterward (Sept. 11-14, 2009) to revisit Jerusalem. In particular, I wanted to visit the Herodium, a conical hill near Jerusalem where the tomb of King Herod the Great was identified only in 2008, and Hezekiah’s Tunnel, a very interesting relic of Biblical times that wends 500 meters through solid rock, with running water on the floor the entire way. Hezekiah’s Tunnel is near the Area G excavations of the City of David, just outside the Dung Gate.

On the Web, I found Shmuel Browns (phone 02 562 0785), a licensed Israel tour guide originally from Canada, and made arrangements by e-mail for a one-day tour with him on a Sunday. In addition, he helped lay out a program to follow the day before on my own and recommended reasonably priced hotels.

I used one of his hotel recommendations, St. Andrew’s Scottish Guesthouse (P.O. Box 8619, 1 David Remez St., Jerusalem 91086, Israel; phone 009272 2 673 2401), at $95 per night including breakfast. It turned out to be a real jewel, within a secluded compound and walking distance from the Old City’s Jaffa Gate.

The information Shmuel provided me beforehand helped me have a rewarding self-guided tour on Saturday (the Jewish Shabbat), when many sites were closed. The guest house recommended a driver, who charged $100 for a little over four hours. I visited the tombs in Kidron Valley, Mary’s Tomb by the Mount of Olives, the Garden Tomb, the Kennedy Memorial (well outside of town), the Israel Museum and the Rockefeller Museum.

On my Sunday tour, Shmuel drove me to the Herodium in his car and guided me over the site, which is located on the West Bank, eight miles from Jerusalem. We returned to Jerusalem and he escorted me through the Old City, offering insight I had not had on previous guided and independent tours. Finally, we took the tour through Hezekiah’s Tunnel.

Shmuel was knowledgeable and accommodating. As I recall, his rate for a guided one-day tour was $275. When he needs his car, as we did for the Herodium, the cost rises to about $325.

If you want a guide by the hour or by the day, I highly recommend Shmuel Browns, and St. Andrew’s is the best small hotel I have seen in Jerusalem.

JOSEPH B. LAMBERT

Glenview, IL

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

I was in Israel for a conference and had three days afterward (Sept. 11-14, 2009) to revisit Jerusalem. In particular, I wanted to visit the Herodium, a conical hill near Jerusalem where the tomb of King Herod the Great was identified only in 2008, and Hezekiah’s Tunnel, a very interesting relic of Biblical times that wends 500 meters through solid rock, with running water on the floor the entire way. Hezekiah’s Tunnel is near the Area G excavations of the City of David, just outside the Dung Gate.

On the Web, I found Shmuel Browns (phone 02 562 0785), a licensed Israel tour guide originally from Canada, and made arrangements by e-mail for a one-day tour with him on a Sunday. In addition, he helped lay out a program to follow the day before on my own and recommended reasonably priced hotels.

I used one of his hotel recommendations, St. Andrew’s Scottish Guesthouse (P.O. Box 8619, 1 David Remez St., Jerusalem 91086, Israel; phone 009272 2 673 2401), at $95 per night including breakfast. It turned out to be a real jewel, within a secluded compound and walking distance from the Old City’s Jaffa Gate.

The information Shmuel provided me beforehand helped me have a rewarding self-guided tour on Saturday (the Jewish Shabbat), when many sites were closed. The guest house recommended a driver, who charged $100 for a little over four hours. I visited the tombs in Kidron Valley, Mary’s Tomb by the Mount of Olives, the Garden Tomb, the Kennedy Memorial (well outside of town), the Israel Museum and the Rockefeller Museum.

On my Sunday tour, Shmuel drove me to the Herodium in his car and guided me over the site, which is located on the West Bank, eight miles from Jerusalem. We returned to Jerusalem and he escorted me through the Old City, offering insight I had not had on previous guided and independent tours. Finally, we took the tour through Hezekiah’s Tunnel.

Shmuel was knowledgeable and accommodating. As I recall, his rate for a guided one-day tour was $275. When he needs his car, as we did for the Herodium, the cost rises to about $325.

If you want a guide by the hour or by the day, I highly recommend Shmuel Browns, and St. Andrew’s is the best small hotel I have seen in Jerusalem.

JOSEPH B. LAMBERT

Glenview, IL