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Saturday, June 10, 2023

Back From Vacation

I'm back from our 5 week vacation:  
We spent two weeks on a Mediterranean Cruise which had daily stops in ports in France, Italy and Spain, then we spent 3 days in Rome, and then flew to Israel for 2 weeks to visit family. 

It was a 13 hour flight from Tel Aviv to Miami so I'm totally jet-lagged and my post shows it. The photos do not match the story.
I promise to organize my photos for the next post!! 

vacationing couple

We sailed on Celebrity Reflection cruise ship for a Meditteranean cruise  and was very pleased with the ship, the food, and the entertainment. 

hummus with salsa and eggplant
Food in Israel - hummus with salsa and grilled eggplant ( Recipe to follow)

The cruise accommodated my special eating needs which included a strictly gluten-free diet along with my vegan diet (skip if you are not into what I was able to eat gluten-free and vegan)

What did I eat? 


I chose to go to the breakfast buffet most mornings where there was a gluten free section with bread, rolls, and muffins. I usually took the bread, got some sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and capers. I asked for guacamole to spread on my bread and enjoyed the meal with a cup of dcaf cappuccino made with almond milk. 

Picnic in Israel on the way to Sefat an ancient town in Israel. My cousin packed the meal.


Most of the time, we were out touring during lunch time and usually skipped lunch. 
However, when we would return to the ship around 4:00, there was always salad available and gluten-free pizza, GF bread, fruit, hummus, etc. 

stuffed peppers, rice, vegan
Vegan stuffed peppers-  ( easy recipe to follow) from my sister in law


We always ate in the dining room and I pre-ordered my meal the evening before. We requested anytime dining and  the computer always had my order. 

street vendor in Jerusalem, breads
On the streets of Jerusalem in the old city. A peddler selling bread! Not gluten free!

Indian recipes, Italian recipes, and my favorite dinner was dish of tofu, rice, and vegetables all tossed together. It was so good, I ordered it multiple times. There was also gluten free bread at each meal as well as wine and gluten free dessert.

vegan stuffed grape leaves
My cousin in Israel made these delicious vegan stuffed grape leaves

This is how it worked for dinner. The night before, I filled out a menu of what I wanted for the next evening from a list of choices. The Italian spaghetti dinners were just ok because I did care for the sauce- it reminded me of Campbell's soup. 

pastries, Middle East
 More pastries on the streets of Jerusalem - not gluten free- The best place for gluten free was in Italy .

In Israel, we mostly ate in the house of relatives. My husband has 50 (maybe more) first cousins in Israel as well as 3 aunts. We stayed with relatives in Tel Aviv / Bat Yam area,  Jerusalem, Rishon and visited relatives in Sefat and Haifa. We stayed in a hotel in Tiberias with my husband's sister and her married children and grandchildren. 

I  was not "gluten-ized" until I ate in a restaurant in Israel. We were on the beach in Bat Yam (near Tel Aviv) and decided to eat in a very charming beach front restaurant. 

I asked the waiter if anything was gluten -free. 
He went into the kitchen and returned saying that the kitchen said adamantly not to eat anything on the menu because of cross contamination. 

But I thought. What could be in a plain salad? 
So I ate a salad and the was the first time in all of the travels that I had severe stomach pains and "Shil-Shul" (Hebrew for diarrhea) for about 2 hours- not fun!!! I should have listened!! Europe and Israel take gluten-free very seriously. 


  1. Quite the culinary adventure! The cruise did well with your dietary needs! I hope you write more about your visit to Israel. It is one of my dreams to visit there!

  2. Welcome back! The picture of you & your husband is wonderful -- you both look radiant & well-rested (and I definitely would never have guessed that you spent nearly two hours "de-glutenizing" your system). Overall, sounds like a lovely visit, and plenty of delicious gluten-free food!

  3. Looks like that you had a great vacation, Judee. Welcome back and take some rest :-))

  4. Welcome home. Nice being able to order your meal the evening before! It sounds like tou have a great cruise and lots of visiting.

  5. What a fabulous trip you had (until that fateful salad, anyway)!

  6. Got distracted so this may be a repeat! What a fun trip--except for the one incident. We just returned from Greece so totally get your jet lag! Welcome home.

  7. I'm so sorry about your salad! But the rest of the photos and the trip sound wonderful and you both look so very happy! Welcome home!

  8. I'm sorry about the restaurant misadventure, otherwise a good trip.

  9. Wow, this seems like the trip of a lifetime! And I'm so glad you were able to eat gluten-free (well, except for at that one restaurant -- ouch!). Finally, who knew Italy, land of bread and pasta, would be the best at being gluten free? I'm glad that you had such a good time and can now get some well-deserved rest. 🌎😀

  10. I enjoyed both your posts about your trip, and look forward to followups! We have been to Italy and Israel several times (though no cruises yet), and love both places. I make Israeli mezze all the time, combining home-made and premade dishes, and I love hummus and eggplant dishes, of which they do so many.
    best, mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  11. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us. It has been a long time since I was last in Europe, so it was fun to live vicariously through you. I was interested in the stuffed peppers. I am growing six different varieties in my container garden this year, so I’m always looking for new recipes.

  12. I am so envious, Judee!
    Love, love, love all the photos from your glorious vacation.
    I'd love to visit Israel someday.

    Hugs and blessings


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