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Travel: SFO to TLV- Israel, via Zurich Oct 20th/2021

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

The short touch-down stay in California, between the end of July and late October

was brief, had past fast, yet was most joyous.

The 2 daughters, their husbands and 2 grands all came over for a visit with us and stayed under our roof, for few weeks in Aug. and up to mid Sept. (more on the family visit ( here)

The house got fully crowded, for a brief while, filled with many joyous voices and children delicious raucous, and then, once all returned to their life’s routines, back in Israel, the silence, stillness and serenity re-engulfed the walls again.

The famous Jewish tale about the Rabbi and the Goat kind of summarizes the experience...

On the weekend prior to our departure, and after we partied with our dear friend -

Ephraim Margolin at his 95th Birthday celebration, arranged by his terrific 2 sons,

we end up, after the party, at Golden Gate Park.

Ephraim is highly esteemed attorney, well known for his brilliant Criminal and Constitutional Law work, as well as for the services he generously granted for many years to the SF Israeli Consulate.

But most, Ephraim is a true Jewish scholar and a rare wise mench.

At Golden Gare Park

known as the equivalent to NYC "Central Park" , in my humble opinion, Golden Gate Park is much more lush and nicer.- being the very biased Ca Bay area resident I am.

I have not frequented the Golden Gate Park - for at least 2 years.

A visit of a dear friend from Israel - Edna, who the birth of her first granddaughter brought her to the area, also occurred just prior to our departure.

Hosting Edna for 2 days,motivated us to venture out for a sight-seeing exploration of the city, the park, and the extravaganza pyrotechnic performance, which took place on Oct 16th at the park.

Pyromania Live Art installation

The fine arts De -Young Museum inside the Golden Gate Park was featuring an amazing in-doors exhibit, named "Forever De Young" as well as an out-doors, multicolored site specific Atmosphere Pyrotechnics fireworks and smoke performance.

Judy Chicago a Jewish Artist, an Author and a Leading Pioneer of the Femenist Art Movement, whose career spans over 6 decades, had created, this largest to-date (out of 14) and most elaborate public pyrotechnic performance, an engagement with the landscape, named "Atmoshperes" right in front of the museum.

A huge crowd gathered and huddled densely on site, as if Covid -19 never collected its lethal dues from the area. The many attendees waited with much anticipation, to have the artist -Judy address the excited crowd, from a specially erected high tower, and to spectate this one of a kind, immersive performance of colorful smoke and bright light in violet, pink, orange or teal colors. Indeed it was a true "feast for the eye" spectacle.

In addition to enjoying a class on "King David" given by my friend Nitzi, as well as lunching on Friday's with the women of the East Bay "Parliament" and seeing few movies in real theaters (the German film I am your Man, is not to be missed), a special concert was also in the cards.

Concert at the Paramount

A moving tribute evening for the beloved late Conductor Michael Morgan

who was the Musical Director of the Oakland East Bay Symphony for 30 years (died at 63 in 2021) was another delightful cultural public event, we manged to enjoy, just on the eve before leaving to TLV.

The 2 hours concert featured a variety of local musical assembles, quires and dancers.

The uplifting free for the public, community concert dedicate to the musically versatile conductor, was at Oakland’s monumental over 3000 sits Art Deco Paramount Theater.

If you have never visited this gorgeous interior building, then I highly recommend

At SFO International Terminal

To my delight I continued basking in beauty and color, also when arriving at the

SFO international Terminal E. The volume of passengers was quite low.

A fantastic display of Art Glass was cased on display for the traveling public.

The glass work was of an esteemed American artist, and few others international ones.

An American Glass Artist - a founding member of the American studio glass movement who was also an instructor at the U of California, Berkeley and the California College of Arts and Crafts, received the main attention.

Other fabulous pieces

And one by Red China

PCR Test & Vaccination Proofs

Getting ready to board the flight required a PCR testing, which if you are based in the East Bay-Oakland area, can be easily taken in a drive-in service offered by

"Test the people" at 5700 Martin Luther king Ave, Oakland (nearby children's Hospital).

In San Francisco- Mission District (2730 21th St.).

Furthermore a proof of vaccination was required to be seen at the check-in counter.

The process is smoother if you have the original proof test/vaccination cards or paper copies to show, as phone photos can get tricky for the staff.

Israel request of its returning citizens to fill up the following (Hebrew) forms (24 hours prior to landing) . (Forms in English).

And another PCR (80NIs) test is required upon landing at the BG airport, which is advised to be pre-paid on this link's site. A Serological test (129 NIS) can be also taken at the BG airport upon landing.

Negative PCR test and positive Serology results, which can be obtained in less than 24 hours, will release you from the mandatory quarantine, imposed on arriving travelers.

With 2 Pfizer vaccination shots given in Israel and a Moderna buster, given in Ca, which was approved by the Israeli Health Ministry, (Tel: *5400) upon our return to Israel, we were eligible to a "Green Pass" (giving access to restaurants/cultural events) after showing the buster's proof document, at our local Macabi (National Health service) branch..

Flying Out

The evening, non-direct flight on from SFO to Zurich with Swiss Airwhich we booked for the first time (as not to loose big quantity of expiring miles) was quite empty, efficient, and non-eventful.

The Zurich airport had a much more livelier traffic, of transiting passengers when we landed in mid afternoon. All the duty shops were opened, though quite empty, while many of the attractive restaurants, were pact with travelers., as were the departure lounges at the central terminals.

It is worth taking the service Train's short ride, from Terminal G ( the embankment terminal), into the A/B Central Terminals , at where the waiting space is larger, and where many more duty-free stores, restaurants and lounges were opened, even if one needs to go forth and back, via passport control, as to catch from Terminal G. the continuation flight to TLV.

The size and quantity of stores, stoked to the rim, with the famous delicious

Swiss Chocolate (Lindt being my favorite) at the A/B Central Terminals, were a true feast for my coveting eyes. It was excruciating painful to keep me away from the amazing variety of the chocolate choices, which I let myself devour only by eye-balling.

Swiss-Air flight from Zurich to Israel which departed on time, on Oct 21, around 11:00pm was completely full. You can count on the hyperactive Israelis to keep wondering the globe, despite off and fueled by, the unavoidable risks... In contrary to the uneventful first flight's segment, the one from Zurich to TLV revealed an unexpected occurrences. The young sweet fellow in the sit in front of me, who kindly helped lifting my carry-on to the top compartment, suddenly started shaking and convulsing, 2 ours into the flight, scaring, the neighboring passengers. 2 Doctors passengers, on the flight (one can always count on having Jewish Dr on flights coming in or going out from the Jewish nation) immediately showed up, in response to the staff's summoning, via the plane’s PA system. They joined the already 4 flight attendants who were trying to assist the poor guy, that apparently got very noxious , dizzy, and kept throwing up. Some medical attention and crew intervention did the trick and the calm returned to what otherwise was a short (3.5 hours) but sleepless flight.

BG airport terminal upon landing at 4 am early Friday morning, (Oct. 22nd) astonishingly seemed to be one huge busy congested central station hub. Flying out Israelis, packed the departure hall, while, long curvy lines stretched throughout the arrival hall, the PCR testing areas, and at the Taxi ride service, with very few operating taxis at sight.

After taking the PCR and Serology test at the airport, for which we got the required results releasing us from the need to quarantine, already by Friday's early evening.

wee finally made it back to our TLV apartment at 6:00am, and crushed into bed.,

Few hours of catching up on lost sleep, were sufficient, to treat the the kids and grands to a Friday eve dinner at our place, which made our joyous and sweet family reunion, worth all the travel troubles, after also being sugared with a Swiss divine Chocolate...




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