Digging Israel

Looking to work, literally like a slave, in the hot sun for no or low pay some summer?  If you join an archaeological dig in one of the ancient sites in Israel, you will sift soil where King David walked and Jesus trod. You will see and feel the past, alive in your own hands and on the soles of your feet. The thrill and incredible excitement of finding authentic treasures such as pottery, mosaics, glass, and gold that are thousands of years old and holding them is hard to describe.

What’s in store? Dust! Heat! Stones! Sunburns! Brains! Brawn! History!  New friends. And sometimes even romance… (hey, you never know…) So shake out your shovel, grab a hat with a big visor, slather on the sun cream and join one of the many major archaeological excavations scattered throughout this modern-ancient land, some near cities, some on the shores of the Mediterranean, some in the mountains or deserts.

Biblical Archaeology Review publishes a wealth of information on their excellent website: http://digs.bib-arch.org.  They show which digs are current, which ones need extra hands and where, exactly, they are located in Israel as well as in Jordan, Italy and Spain.


Instant Incas

No longer a week’s trek or four hours by chugging train, Inkaterra, top Peruvian eco-tourism company, now offers helicopter service direct from Cuzco to Machu Picchu, the extraordinary pre-Columbian fortress city of the ancient Incas.  Half-an-hour on their five-passenger, non-polluting French-built Allouette bestows the gift of extra time (and strength) to explore the spectacular, sacred, enigmatic sites in the high Andes mountains.

Their Heliexplorer trip is an incredible opportunity to spend 2 or 3 nights in Inkaterra’s eco-friendly, charming Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, a little village of whitewashed cottages with excellent, authentic food and a unique Andean-style sauna that sit prettily amongst the orchids in the Machu Picchu Cloud Forest.

This incomparable hotel becomes home base for side trips to rarely-visited Choquequirao, the recently uncovered ancient Incan ceremonial site, similar in purpose and grandeur to Machu Picchu.

Click on www.inkaterra.com and then on “Inkaterra Heliexplorer.”

Buy Buy

If you love ethnic markets, crafts, antiques, jewelry and all the arts that will evoke the essence of the country in which you bought them, do check out the very interesting high-end tour operator, Artisans of Leisure.

Their luxury excursions delve deep into fine marketplaces, shops and private designer showrooms for unique local arts and crafts — one-of-a-kind jewelry in Hong Kong, traditional Spanish country cookware, antique English garden furniture, ironwork in Morocco…and on… The best hotels and sophisticated, expert advice is part of the deal, as are shopping excursions customized to the traveler’s interests, private bi-lingual guides, and the logistics of private transfers, special appointments, packing and shipping – and all within the context of cultural immersion.

“Shopping overseas is a highly experiential way of traveling,” says Ashley Isaacs Ganz, president and founder. “It offers an authentic window into another culture’s history, traditions, and aesthetics… and the objects one acquires overseas remain forever imbued with the stories and memories of that place.” For additional information, call (800) 214-8144 or click on: www.artisansofleisure.com/