Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Days 8 & 9 (Oct. 15 & 16)

Still playing catch-up!!

Day 8, Thursday, October 15

We left Kibbutz Nof Ginosar today to start heading south along Israel's border with Jordan to the Dead Sea Region. The landscape is even wilder than before -- almost looks like a moonscape. Masada is interesting. It was Herod's mountaintop palace and fortress, which "still displays ingenious water systems, elaborate frescoes, mosaic floors, and bathhouses." It was also the site of the last stand of the Jewish rebels against Rome in 73. And it was very, very hot. We took the cable car to the top -- there are paths to hike up. By the time we took the cable car down, it had gotten so hot they closed the hiking trail. For those who either read (or saw the mini-series) The Dove Keepers, there is a photo of the dovecote.

After lunch (falafel, of course), we headed to  Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, an oasis with waterfalls. We took a short hike to the lower falls and waded in the pool of water. Mike & I only made it up to the middle falls where we met up with a group of boys from a boarding high school on a class trip. On the way back, I actually saw two ibex (wild goats, called Yael in Hebrew), a male and a baby. See the photos.

Then it was off to the Dead Sea. I chose to just watch and take photos of Mike (and other CBI'ers) floating in the sea. The mud is interesting. I'll enjoy the salts in my Ahava products -- they smell nicer and aren't as messy.

From there we drove to Jerusalem. Along the highway we saw some Bedouin villages (someone did see a man riding a camel). We stopped on Mt. Scopus to look out over Jerusalem and say a shehehayanu blessing for reaching the city. After checking into the hotel, Mike and I found a nice restaurant across the street for a quiet dinner.

Day 8 Photos

Day 9, Friday October 16

The Dan Panorama had an even more extensive breakfast buffet -- although it reminded me of the Japanese breakfast buffets with lots of typical Israeli breakfast items (salad, hummus, labneh, cheese blintz) and then things that they seemed to think would appeal to non-Israelis (broccoli, lasagna). First stop of the day was Yad Vashem, Israel's national Holocaust memorial and museum. As I was just there this past January, I passed on going through the main exhibit, the Holocaust History Museum. Mike joined the group to tour that part while I got to see many of the other exhibits along with two of the other group members who'd both been to Yad Vashem relatively recently on Birthright trips. One of the most moving exhibits is the Children's Memorials (no photos allowed inside). There is also a very nice gift shop here -- and I feel I'm supporting a very good cause by shopping here.

Next stop was Machaneh Yehuda -- the large market (aka Shuk). Kate and I toured the market along with SIL Ruthi back in January. I was able to find the Georgian restaurant where we had snacked and took Mike there. He had the plain cheese pizza-like lunch; mine had a thicker crust and after it came out of the oven, an egg was broken over it and an additional chunk of cheese was added. The idea was to tear off pieces of the crust and dip it in the melted cheese and runny egg -- quite good. I also managed to find the Etrog man again and enjoyed a mint etrog lemonade.

Then we had some quiet time at the hotel until it was time to head to our cousins' apartment. It was fun walking along the same streets Kate and I had traversed numerous times in January -- and even better there was no snow. We had a lovely evening with Ahuva and Jon, catching up on what everyone is up to.

Day 9 Photos

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