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Tripping out of Tel Aviv - Review

Tripping out of Tel Aviv: Day Hikes by Public Transportation in Central Israel
by Ronit Slyper
Paperback, 75 pages, ISBN 978-965-572-589-6
Reviewed by Carl Hoffman

For more than twenty years, I have been sitting here, right here in my little apartment in Raanana, waiting for someone, anyone, to write a book like this. My long wait is over; someone finally has.

For a combination of reasons far too complicated to discuss at the moment, I do not drive. I also do not have an overabundance of time or, frankly, energy. I do, however, love this country, love living here, and enjoy the often overwhelming array of things to see in Israel. Thank God, then, and an obliging creative author for producing this very helpful book.

Tripping out of Tel Aviv offers no fewer than 30 one-day excursions to different places in central Israel accessible by public transportation. These range from nature reserves like Nahal Poleg and Hof Hasharon, to historical sites like Caesarea, Apollonia, and the Old City of Akko. I am particularly determined to visit one of Slyper's recommendations, "Above and Below in Ramle," where a single ticket will get you up to the Mamluk White Tower and down into a boat to see the underground Abbasid Reservoir.

These day trips take the visitor to see pelicans in Emek Hefer, flamingos in Atlit, turtles in Nahal Alexander, and probably any animal you want in the Jerusalem Zoo. Each trip chapter contains a brief description of the site, a guide to how get there, a brief but detailed set of directions for when you arrive, and information on how to get home.

Ronit Slyper, an American new immigrant from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, took a year sabbatical to traverse Israel in order to provide this guidebook for, well, for people like me. These beautiful hikes, right in our own Central Israel backyard, provide many of us with an opportunity to go places and see things like we haven't been able to do since the organized tours provided by our first year ulpans at the absorption centers that were our first homes here. Slyper's brief but well-written introduction is as helpful as it is amusing. Trips are organized into such categories as "Goal" – impress a tourist, entertain friends, entertain parents, start a romance, etc., "Destination," and "Month." There is even a category of place to go when it is raining.

The overarching perspective, however, is time. Says Slyper, "This book is for the car-less explorer who tumbles out of bed on a Friday morning without a plan but eager to hike. Every chapter is a low-cost, ready-made trip with directions by train and bus that will get you there and back again before Shabbat."

Tripping out of Tel Aviv is available online at Slyper suggests that you buy a copy for yourself, or "hand one to visiting relatives so you can shoo them out of the house to get your Pesach cleaning started." 

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