Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia-Oh My!!!!!
Sunday morning-5:00AM-Getting ready for a trip to the Negev. The weather, 104 degrees in the shade. Eilat is on the Red Sea, in the southern part of Israel. Israelis love to spend their vacation there, because the water is clear and cool. We arrived at the bus station at 8:00 for our 5 hour trip. This was definitely going to be an interesting experience. This was the first time we were traveling to the Negev Desert and in the summer yet. After about an hour and going south, the land became very rocky. As I said before the landscape changes as soon as you leave Jerusalem and the Judean Hills. Cream colored rock formations dotted each side of the two lane road. If you asked me a week ago about the desert, I would have said we will see huge sand dunes with Lawrence of Arabia riding his camel into the sunset. Well, no Lawrence of Arabia and no sand dunes. There were some camels on the side of the road, though waiting for tourists to take them for a stroll in the hot summer heat. Well enough said for imagination. As we continued our journey, we noticed that the Israelis once again made the desert bloom, by adding water and planting tall fruit trees. As we traveled further south, we noticed high mountains in the distance. The mountains had a reddish glow. This was our first look at Jordan. The mountains continued into Eilat. Now for paradise on Earth.
Israel owns only 10km of land on the coast of the Red Sea, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia own the rest. Huge hotels line the coast with a harbor and small shops. We made a reservation in an Israeli owned hotel, before our journey. When I made the reservation, the agent quoted me a price with half-board. I was really not sure what that entailed, but found out very quickly, that a dinner and breakfast buffet were included. Our room with a balcony faced the sea and the mountains of Jordan. WOW!!!!!! I hope the pictures do it justice. We spent two days swimming and eating. What could be so bad!!!!!!
On Tuesday- we planned to see Aharon in the afternoon. He wanted to take us to mini Israel, but first we wanted to visit the Yitzhak Rabin Center. The Rabin center tells the story of Israel with an emphasis on Rabin's life. It was very informative. Here is the website, so that you can take a virtual tour. http://www.rabincenter.org.il Mini Israel are small buildings the represent the country. I felt like if there were any areas that we missed, I had a bird's eye view.
Wednesday-Netanya on the Northern coast. Huge cliffs facing the ocean and great swimming.
Thursday-Our last trip to Jerusalem. We started the day at the Israel Museum. The Israel Museum houses the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Scrolls are in a huge room that is darken. It is amazing to see a document that old. The scribes wrote the scrolls in Hebrew and it is interesting to see the same letters and words that Israel uses today. Of course, Israel actually uses a modern Hebrew as we use a modern English. Next a trip to the Knesset and a tour of how the Israeli government works. The highlight of the tour was the actual room that the Knesset meets. We learned that the formation of the chairs are actually a configuration of a menorah. At the end of the tour, there was an amazing mural designed by Marc Chagall. We left the Knesset and took a bus to the main shopping area for Jews in Jerusalem. It was crowd with people getting ready for Shabbat. We walked the streets and were able to smell the foods of Shabbat and of Israel.