azrieli center 88 298.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
As I scurry across the newly constructed helipad on the roof of Tel Aviv's Azrieli Towers (chaperoned by a burly security guard and with the roar of rotors drowning out any attempt at communication), the scene strikes me as vaguely reminiscent of a crime-movie getaway.
An inelegant bout of nausea immediately on embarking in the awaiting craft swiftly puts paid to this notion. Overcoming my queasiness, I soon find myself echoing the gasps of fellow journalists taking a bird's-eye tour of Tel Aviv courtesy of Limocopter, the company responsible for the city's first-ever commercial helicopter rides, which will depart Azrieli on a prior-reservation basis as of this week.
Hovering just a few feet above the Tel Aviv skyline, I observe the city's blend of old and new, the buzz of metropolitan life jutting against mellow beachside recreation. That landscape, according to Arnon Toran, Azrieli's CEO, is among the many awe-inspiring views available, whether passengers be businessmen looking to cross Tel Aviv as quickly as possible, tourists, or thrill-seeking locals in search of an invigorating day out or a romantic excursion. Prices start at NIS 1,000 per ride.
"Limocopter is the only commercial service providing the opportunity to experience the delights of the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee in one day," asserts Toran, probably exaggerating. "Our passengers can also enjoy routes incorporating the rich historical and religious appeal of Jerusalem juxtaposed with the vibrant modernity of Tel Aviv, the scenic port resort of Eilat along with many other awe-inspiring vistas."
These allures notwithstanding, if my experience at sky level has taught me one thing, it's that for me, even the most awesome vista is best exerienced with my feet firmly on the ground. I'll leave the height-scaling to those with stronger constitutions.
For information and reservations call (09) 952-0520 or visit www.cnairways.com. Helicopters must be booked at least 24 hours in advance.