So day 3 started off bright and early with the alarm going off around 6:45. We got the kids up and out of the apartment by 7:45 which was when we were supposed to meet our tour guide, Auri Spigelman. We then managed to get only a little lost so we picked him up at about 8:15 and started heading out of Jerusalem on Derech Chevron. One of the amazing things about Israel now compared to the last time we were here is that there now seem to be tunnels everywhere. I remember when I was here in yeshiva 12 years ago and they were making a big deal about the fact that they were going to be opening the first bridge!
We took the Gush tunnel that bypasses Bethlehem and drove through the Judean hills. Absolutely gorgeous area. It is also incredible how many new vibrant communities have sprung up in the area. We drove down to Beersheva and went to the Air Force museum. It was pretty cool to see how the Israellis have gone from dropping seltzer bottles out of private propeller planes in '48 cause they didnt have any bombs to the current modifications they make to the F15 and newer planes. They have about 140 different planes on display and the kids got to sit in a few of them as well as some helicopters. One of the cool things they had there was one of the cargo planes that had flown into Entebbe which they converted to allow people to go in and watch a video about the Air Force.
We then drove further into the Negev to Ein Avdat. We ate lunch outside and then did about a 20 - 25 minute hike to a waterfall. The kids were a little disappointed because the water was pretty nasty and they werent able to swim. Other than that they both loved the hike and Yaakov led the way most of the way there and back.
After resting a bit from the hike we drove further down South to Mitzpe Ramon where we met up with Alan - our jeeping guide and driver. We were kinda surprised when instead of leading us to the "jeep" in the parking lot (actually a Land Rover) he brought us to a brand new Santa Fe. After a bit of debate we decided to stick with it even though it didn't seem as authentic. Turns out we appreciated the comfort in the end. Alan drove us down into Machtesh Ramon which is the largest non-meteor crater - a pretty amazing site. It is about 500 meters deep and 40km by 10km. We drove through some rather bumpy terrain and saw many examples of different minerals and rock types found naturally within close proximity to each other. Yaakov and Leah had fun collecting various rocks and Devorah and Steffy sat in the "jeep" and got nice tans.
We Santa-Fe'd over to a Bedouin camp where we got to sit in their tent and drink tea (Devorah - "out of nasty cups"). Stefanie was quite impressed with their hooka collection but declined to take a smoke with them being afraid of who else may have smoked it before. The whole tour was about 2 1/2 hours and finished at about 5:15. We then piled back in the car and headed back to Jerusalem which took almost 3 hours. After dropping Auri off we headed back to the apartment where Yisroel Reches had ordered pizza to be waiting for us. We all went to bed as we had a big day planned for Thursday....
Pics from Day 3 can be found here:Posted by ravomess at April 1, 2007 12:51 PM | TrackBack