Travel to Jerusalem with Joanne Dannon

What was your experience traveling to Jerusalem? 
 
selfieI was fortunate to be selected by an amazing women’s organisation to go to Israel. Thanks to generous donors, I only had to pay for my airfare and personal expenses. To be given this incredible gift of a free trip, all expenses paid was a brilliant opportunity and I loved every minute of it. Most of the time we were in Jerusalem and our knowledgeable guides breathed life in to the city. We weren’t there just as tourists but had the opportunity to absorb religion, culture and heritage. 
 
 
 
How did it come about?
 
Thanks to an amazing group in America, they have created a world-wide organisation to allow men and women the opportunity to travel to Israel on a spiritual journey. Since returning, I have supported and fundraised for the group (we have a branch here in Melbourne, Australia) that allows other people to also enjoy this incredible experience.
 
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Places your visited? 
 
We walked our feet off and saw the sites, markets and places of worship. One of the highlights was going in to the tunnels beneath the Western Wall to see thousands of years of history. There is also a private women’s prayer room, far below the ground, which was very spiritual to spend time in. 
 
Apart from sightseeing, we also spent time listening to talks, learning dancing and meeting the locals. We had lunch with a family on the Sabbath which was really, really nice.
 
I can’t list all the places we visited (there were so many) but I just loved walking around and looking at the buildings. Everything has been either restored or preserved. All history is important.
 
When I was there, they were building a car park but when the builders came across some historical artifacts, all work stopped and the archaeologists moved in. 
 
 
 
Any tips for people wanting to take this journey?
 
Take a tour! Lots of people want to do it themselves and that’s fine but a guide will show you so much of the city that you can not see as a tourist. It’s a beautiful city. Take walking shoes and look around, there’s so much to see.
 
 
 
Any dos and don’ts for first time travelers to Jerusalem?
 
Take good walking shoes. Many of the lane-ways in old Jerusalem are cobbled, so you need good shoes. If you’re there in summer, I highly recommend a pair of Naot sandals. I bought a pair on my first day and wore them everyday of our trip – they’re that comfortable.
 
The Israeli breakfasts are amazing and a good start to the day. You’ll also find the iced coffee (available everywhere) perfect when you’re hot from so much walking.
 
Allow lots of time to visit Jerusalem, there is so much to see and if you’re religious take a pocket bible (or you can buy one). You’ll want to read it whilst there. There’s so much history documented in the bible and you’ll be reading it where it was written. 
 
Jerusalem is a religious city and everything shuts on the Sabbath, from Friday night to Saturday night. There’s no public transport or shops open (some of the Arab section will be open). 
 
 
 
 
What was the outcome of your visit? 
 
I had such a brilliant experience in Israel that I had to set my book there, in fact, I’ve written two books – Falling for Mr Wrong and A Magical Christmas in Jerusalem which is part of this 2 in 1 book An Unforgettable Holiday.
Falling for Mr Wrong is a fun romance with an Australian heroine being chased across the country by the paparazzi when the handsome hero saves her. Unbeknownst to her, the hero is a reporter. 
 
A Magical Christmas in Jerusalem is an inspirational, sweet read which features a romance between an Australian tourist and the tour guide. I just loved writing this story and spent much time creating a meaningful backstory and family history for my hero.
 
 
Anything else you want to add?
 

 

Go and visit Israel. There’s so much to see from the history, to the amazing culinary experiences to having fun (e.g. swimming in the Dead Sea). The religious aspects of the country make it even more interesting but the sheer beauty of the landscape is just breath taking.
 

Joanne Dannon, an Australian author, writes to give her readers the experience she loves to savor–indulging in a sigh-worthy-happily-ever- after, being swept away from the everyday by diving into a delicious romance novel. author-pic

Joanne is a happily married mother of two heroes-in-training who loves spending time with friends and family. She can be found on Facebook and her website www.joannedannon.com chatting about reading, writing, cooking, vintage-inspired dresses and all things romantic.

 

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Bidding on Love

A Magical Christmas In Jerusalem

Australian project manager Kiara Lonsdale is career focussed and determined to provide and care for the grandmother who raised her. Taking time off work to vacation has never been high on her agenda, but this year she’s made an exception. She’s helping her gran fulfil a life-long dream by accompanying her on a Christmas to the Holy Land tour.

An Unforgettable Christmas
An Unforgettable Christmas

Jacques Lenoir and his extended family run tours in Israel and he’s committed to their business. Jacques feels responsible for his grandparents’ welfare since they risked their lives, and others’, as operatives in the French Resistance, during the War.

But over romantic dinners in the desert, camel rides, and mud baths at the Dead Sea, sparks fly between Kiara and Jacques. Will this only be a holiday romance or will a touch of Christmas magic make it last a lifetime?

A Magical Chanukah in New York

Lisa Sassoon has shunned the scandal of her loser-ex cheating on her by escaping to New York. Instead of sightseeing, she’s become a recluse focusing on helping the less fortunate at a homeless shelter.

Gabe Olivari, entrepreneur and savvy business New Yorker, can’t let go of the pain of losing his best friend. So caught up in his own grief and believing he doesn’t deserve to be happy, he compensates by pushing everyone close to him away.

But when Lisa and Gabe meet, there is an instant connection that forces them to question not only their behaviours but their aspirations.

Can a dash of Chanukah magic help Lisa and Gabe realise that sparkling dates and dreamy kisses can lead to more? Perhaps even a lifetime of happiness?

Available on:

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Photographs courtesy of Joanne Dannon. Copyright © Joanne Dannon.

40 thoughts on “Travel to Jerusalem with Joanne Dannon

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    I loved reading about your tour to Jerusalem, Joanne! Thanks for sharing this trip with us.
    Congratulations on the release of your book! Reading these books made me want to take a trip to New York and Jerusalem 🙂

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      Aw thanks Nas 🙂 Jerusalem is seriously the most amazing place to visit, as is the rest of Israel. If you love history, then you’ll love Israel. I’m so glad you enjoyed my books and thanks for your kind words 🙂

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    Sounds like a fabulous trip! I’ve always wanted to visit the city and experience the history first-hand!

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      Hi Meredith – you should definitely put Jerusalem (and Israel!) on your to-visit-list 🙂

      The history there is incredible. For example, the port of Jaffa is still in use and is 5000 years old!!! Wow!!

      Thanks for dropping by 🙂

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      Awesome Meradeth! We should certainly visit and see all the history…and the dead sea too.

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    I can only imagine the excitement of walking on those ancient walkways. I’m sure you have innumerable ideas for books from your experience.

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      Hi C.Lee

      I definitely do have plenty of ideas 🙂 I’ve done two books in Israel and would love to do another 🙂

      I’m going to Hong Kong soon, so I reckon I’ll soon be writing a romance set in Hong Kong 😉

      Thanks for dropping by 🙂

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      Hello Sandra! Thanks for coming by to read about Joanne’s adventure!

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      Thanks Sandra – it definitely was a once in a lifetime experience 🙂 thanks for dropping by 🙂

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    What a unique and amazing experience. I have a co-worker who visits every other year and comes back with wonderful tales and spirit is so fulfilled by the experience. It sounds like yours was too, Joanne.

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      That’s so wonderful to hear! Thanks for sharing 🙂

      Being on the tour really helped make our trip even better because our guides were so amazing in sharing their knowledge. Plus we got to hear amazing speakers, meet people, learning dancing etc….

      Thanks for dropping by x

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    I would love to visit Israel, but I’m not sure I could manage the heat. Still considering it, though.

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      Hi Jacqui – when I went in July, the heat in Jerusalem and the desert was intense and really, really hot.

      But then it can snow in December in Jerusalem – ha! but is mild in Tel Aviv.

      I’d love to go back in September or April, when it’s not as hot.

      Highly recommend you go – so much to see. Australia is so far away but I’d love to go back to Tzfat and spent two weeks writing there in the hills. It’s so beautiful, mystical and full of arty-folk 🙂

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    I had a feeling lots of walking was involved. I had friends who went there last year and absolutely loved it.

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      For sure – I walked my feet off. Thank goodness for my Naot sandals. Best $100 I spent whilst I was there. They’re not cheap but really supportive, especially on the cobbled laneways.

      So glad your friends had a brilliant time too.

      As I said above to Jacqui, I’d love to go again (sooner!!!) but it’s 24 hours away from Australia!!! My dream is to spend time back in Tzfat writing 🙂 Sigh!!!

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        I do hope you can fulfill this dream Joanne. And spend time writing there, coming back with new stories!

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    I visited the Holy Land back in the late 80s. What a fascinating place. I’d love to see it again. I’m very happy for you that you took this tour; I’m sure it really enriched your writing life and life in general.

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      For sure Robyn – it really did. As mentioned in my interview, I’ve written two books based on my trip – Falling for Mr Wrong and A Magical Christmas in Jerusalem.

      I’d love to another one 🙂

      You’ll have to go back and see Israel again, it’s so different. Jerusalem is so beautiful and sparkles like a city of gold. It’s been beautifully restored and is truly magnificent to see. I was there in the early 1990s and it’s very different, the walls and stones are all polished! and is so modern yet so ancient!

      Thanks for dropping by x

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    I’ve been to Israel. It’s a nice place to see. I especially enjoyed the Galilee area in the North. Very pretty!

    It’s funny how vacations can inspire stories. So neat that you used Israel as a setting for your stories!

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      How wonderful Sherry 🙂 Yes, I agree the north is just beautiful and I actually had my hero and heroine spend time there in “Falling for Mr Wrong”.

      Thanks for your kind words. I just loved being there, it’s such a remarkable country. I love history (a lot!) so being surrounded by places thousands of years old was very inspiring. Made me wish I wrote historical novels 😉

      Thanks for dropping by x

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    Sounds like an amazing trip. I think it is wonderful to hear tips from someone who has been. If I ever get there- I do agree that a guide would be the best way to learn about the rich history in Israel. I am curious about those sandals now. 🙂 Thanks for sharing and best of luck with your writing!

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    Hi Jess – yes, it really was an amazing trip because so much was packed in. We heard amazing speakers and got to meet locals; it was an incredible experience and I would love to go back again.

    I looked up the sandals and there are heaps to choose from but these are the ones I bought/wore – https://www.naotshoes.com.au/products.php?pid=354

    Thanks for the well wishes and for dropping by x

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    Great interview. I’d love to visit Israel one day. What an amazing place. Good advice on those walking shoes!

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      Thanks so much Lynda 🙂

      If you can go, go! You’ll be so happy you did 🙂 Just make sure you make enough time to see everything. I’ve been twice and still haven’t been to Eilat, Beersheba or Haifa!!! Looks like I’ll have to go again 😉

      Thanks for dropping by x

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        Joanne, Lynda is from Brisbane and writes inspirational stories. It would certainly be awesome if she goes!

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