Over the last week, My aunt and I trekked through the hills, deserts and ancient ruins of Israel. It was a life-enlighting experience for me. I can’t say life-changing as much, because I am starting to realize that my life is constantly “changing…” but this trip is definitely going to make a large imprint on my future and perspective on life.
We began our travels after a grueling flight in Tel Aviv, where we immediately caught a bus to Eilat, the beach town on the southern-most border of Israel. On our second day in Israel, we crossed the border into Jordan guided by Mohammed T. (the best tour guide, I believe, I have ever seen) where we visited the ancient and gorgeous city of Petra. He took a keen interest in Beverly and her southern charm, and this made the tour all the better as he helped us get the best experience throughout our time in his country. The following day, we sat on the beach of the Red Sea and could see Jordan and Saudi Arabia to our left, as well as Egypt to our right.
The next day, we boarded another bus to Jerusalem. Our route was 5 hours long, but it ran along the Dead Sea for almost 3 hours, and I found myself staring out the window until I finally nodded off.
Later, I would realize we drove through this region of the country on the same day the 3 young teenagers were abducted near Hebron. I happened to take a screenshot of our route, and in this photo you can see how close we were to Hebron that day. Pretty eerie to think about. An important reminder of the reason I am here at all this summer.
We arrived in Jerusalem where we found our amazing hostel (Abraham Hostel), and quickly got on our feet to explore the city. We took a short bus to the Old City, where we found ourselves among crowds of people rushing in to the Western Wall. It turns out, we actually arrived in time to witness a special prayer service they held for the 3 young abducted teens. It was a breathtaking experience to be there for this time of prayer at one of the most holy places on Earth for three major religious groups.
Our hostel was amazing, and I hope I am able to return one day. I highly recommend Abraham Hostel to anyone traveling to Jerusalem, I would even say it is worth staying there in lieu of a hotel! Breakfast, cleanliness, helpfulness, onsite entertainment and the best company! Loved it. The next day was a day for the Dead Sea and Masada – purely amazing as well! I will write more later, so much to say!
Finally, we made our way (by bus again…sorry Bev) to our final destination, Tel Aviv. We had the best dinner for two nights and we even made it across the city to our ‘free’ city tour of Jaffa, another very old city in Israel. We visited St. Peter’s church, where the “cornerstone” of the Christian Church is today. To top everything off, Bev treated our worn bodies to an afternoon at the spa – which was a totally new and amazing experience for me. I have never been treated and just cared for like that! I even got to meet and talk to even more people during the spa treatments about issues in Israel and my research.
This morning, I dropped Beverly off at the airport and she is probably either on an airplane now or in Canada waiting for her connection. I would never have wanted to do this amazing Israel whirlwind alone, and she was the #1 person to travel with. Thank you to her from the bottom of my heart for such an amazing, enlightening week.
Tomorrow, I begin the orientation here in Haifa regarding the next 7 weeks of my summer. I will be blogging much more frequently from here on out. Thank you for reading!
So tired! Going to bed, y’all.