BC: DEPARTED | ISRAEL | 31 DEC 2013
FC: I S R A E L
1: Israel | Israel | December 15-31 2013 | As a part of the Birthright program, I traveled to Israel with UCSB hillel and 40 students for a 10 day tour of the country. After extending for a few days, taking in the sites like a local, I went to see Aunt Amy and the cousins.
2: Led by our tour guide Sagi the Golden Pipes, we begin our journey at the north of Israel. We stayed for three nights in a kibbutz called called Nof Ginosaur, right on the Sea of Galilee. Our first day we hiked Mount Bental with views of Israel and Syria, followed by a jeep ride through the Golan
4: Hiking Mount Arbel On our second day, we begin with a challenging hike down the backside of the mountain, requiring us to step on pegs and hold onto chains. For those with a fear of heights, it was terrifying. As the picture to the right demonstrates, I was not phased
6: Sea of Galilee the sea, also known as the Lake of Gennesaret or Lake Tiberias is th largest freshwater lake in Israel. After wine tasting, we went to this viewpoint to take pics
8: Bedouin Tents | We met with Bedouin women to learn about their lives and Bedouin society. Their program aims at advancing the status of women in their community. On arrival to the tents in the ,middle of the desert, we threw down our stuff and went for a camel ride. We ate a traditional meal and tried notorious Bedouin coffee and tea. Afterwards we took a nigh time walk in the desert in the full moon. It was magical and really cold.
10: MASADA | The Roman Ramp | 20 DEC 2013
11: SUNRISE HIKE We woke up at 4am to hike Masada to watch the sun rise from the top. We stood in a semicircle watching the sunrise over the Dead Sea. We saw the ruins of the palace of King Herod, with a history lesson from Aaron and Adam who dressed up.
12: The Dead Sea
13: THE DEAD SEA AND JERUSALEM After our hike we went swimming in the Dead Sea, coating ourselves in mud. The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth, and the water is so salty it forces you to float. Following that, we drove to Jerusalem and had a welcoming party with wine, challa, and dancing at the University. We checked into our hotel (The pic above was my view) then got ready for Shabbat services. At sunset, a call to prayer played on loudspeakers over the city
14: The Old City | Jerusalem
15: THE WESTERN WALL After seeing King David's tomb and exploring the marketplace, we got lunch and bags of chocolate milk overlooking the city.We wrote on pieces of paper and tucked them in the wall
17: We began the morning walking through the city of Jaffa. It used to be a fishing port and had a very mediterranean feel. We walked through winding allyways and took some pictures at the beach. It finally warmed up for us! Afterwards we took a trip to Rabin Square and Independence Hall where the state of Israel was created.
18: Our experience in Jerusalem concluded with a trip to a food market filled with fresh produce, candies, and halva. Chocolate with pop rocks was a candy specific to Israel. I brought back a bunch for friends. Halva is a sweet made from sesame seeds that comes in a variety of flavors. I had more falafel and shawarma than I can count! The best food was from little hole-in-the-wal places and street stands. Our Israeli soldiers claimed that they never got tired of eating hummus and falafel. | KEEPING IT KOSHER
20: Ben Yehuda St. | After Hours
21: OUR NIGHT OUT We were given one night to explore the bars in downtown Jerusalem. Though we couldn't leave the hotel for the rest of the nights, that did not stop us from having fun at the hotel bars
22: HAIFA Those of us who extended our trip stayed with one of our soldiers, Barak. We met his dog and family, then went walking to the Bahai Gardens overlooking the German Colony. After, we went out for burgers and drinks!
24: MIMOSAS ON THE BEACH We got fresh squeezed orange juice and champagne to sip mimosas in the sand. We buried Sheldon in the sand, and went swimming in our underwear. I said goodbye to the rest of the group at the train station, and Barak and I walked around the city and I ate my last Israeli Falafel.
26: THE FAMILY | Meeting Cousins | 30 DEC 2013
27: ARMAGEDDON I stayed with my Aunt Amy and David for three days, and got to meet my cousins Meira, Yacov, Ruvain, and Tomar. I also met my great aunt Ellen in Nazareth. Amy took me to the historic ruin Armageddon where its believed the end of the world will begin.
28: Farewell Israel... until next time....