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Jerusalem, The Old City
Submitted by bugsly on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 23:45 7th Grade | Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Israel | Physical and Health Education | Walk

This morning at 11:00 we arrived in Jerusalem. We checked into our hotel, had a short rest and then headed to the Jaffa Gate of the Old City. Since we have one day here, we tried to see everything possible. First we had lunch in a falafel place before diving into the Arab Market. Upon entering the street where the market started, I was amazed by all of the color and smells. The alley was narrow and sloped downhill. At one point in time, we went through an alleyway that was filled with skinned animals, different organs floating in liquid, and skinned cows feet. There were pelts on the ground and blood and hair too. The smell was horrendous. My Mom said it was the most disgusting experience she has had in her life and that she would happily walk anywhere not to have to go through there again.

After the Arab Market, we found our way to the Western Wall. Some people also call it the Wailing Wall. It is the most sacred place for the Jewish people. After going through security, we entered the space where the Wall is found. We saw lots of Orthodox Jewish men dressed in black hats and coats and with long beards and curls down the sides of their faces. Some were praying and some were talking.

After the Western Wall, we went to see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Via Dolorosa. It is the place where many sacred Christian sites are found like where Jesus was imprisoned, crucified, entombed, and resurrected. The Roman Catholics, the Greek Orthodox, the Copts, and the Armenian Orthodox people share responsibility in taking care of this Church. In one of the lines, we met a man from Santa Cruz. Small world. The mosiacs on the ceilings of the Church were very beautiful.

We left there and walked through the Arab Market again (not the animal part) to the Damascus Gate. We caught a taxi back to the hotel via the Mount of Olives. From there we could see the entire Old City from above. Also a very grumpy camel was there growling and spitting at anyone that came near him including the riders!

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Youth Hostel, Nature Reserve and The Dead Sea
Submitted by bugsly on Monday, April 24, 2006 - 23:27 7th Grade | Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Israel | Physical and Health Education | Walk

This morning after a quick swim, we packed our bags and headed for the bus station to catch our bus to Ein Gedi at The Dead Sea. It took about 3 hours to get there after a slight mixup with our bus driver who didn't stop to drop us off where he was supposed to.

We finally arrived at the Youth Hostel and checked in just in front of three HUGE busses of students ages 10-16. They were also checking in! We found our room and it was simple, clean and had a great view of The Dead Sea. It was a little worse than a room at camp. We had dinner with the hundreds of students in the Dining Hall. I had chicken and pasta and potatoes (my favorite!). We went to bed to rest up for our hike on Monday in the Ein Gedi Reserve.

Monday morning we got up, had breakfast and headed around the corner to the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. We started up the trail in David's Canyon and within about 15 minutes arrived at our first waterfall. It was small but pretty so Michael and I decided to jump in. The water was kind of murky from the air churned in from the waterfall, but completely fresh and clean. It felt wonderful! Treading water underneath the waterfall felt like having thunder thrown on your shoulders. It was great! After our swim there, we got back on the trail and headed to David's Waterfall. Unfortunately, because of the danger of falling rocks, it was closed. So, we jumped in to another waterfall instead. The water in this one was more clear but way colder since the sun had gone away. It was refreshing anyway though, and the waterfall was even bigger!

We made our way down the trail. My Dad had wished he could see some Ibex - like mountain goats (search on them!). My Mom spotted some including many babies. There were at least 20 females and babies included and only one male. As we walked further on, they just kept on popping up. It must have been the time of day that they like to eat! They seem like gentle creatures, but if you touch a baby, the mother will no longer take care of it because its scent will change.

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Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Submitted by bugsly on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 23:10 7th Grade | Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Jordan | Physical and Health Education | Walk

This morning we got up really early, got a boxed breakfast and took a taxi to the Israeli-Jordanian Border. A guide was with us to help with the process of leaving Israel and entering Jordan. It took about 20 minutes. On the Jordanian side, we were met by a guide with a small tour bus that would be ours for the day. His name was Khalib. We began our journey on a road called the King's Highway which we drove on for two hours. We arrived at Petra and we were already hot by the time we got out of the car. Even though it was 11:00 in the morning, it was already very hot and dusty.

We were joined by two nice people who are living for a year in Jerusalem. Their names were Sarah and Vincent. We walked down for a long time, in a narrow canyon where we were hidden from the sun for a time. The canyon walls on either side of us had canals carved in them by the ancient people called the Nabateaean's that lived there thousands of years ago. The sandstone canyon was layered with many hues of red and yellow and pink. When we arrived at the end of the canyon, we were amazed to see a building carved into the rock called The Treasury. It's architecture was a mixture of Roman, Greek, and Assyrian styles. The Nabateaean people traveled a lot and copied architecture that they saw in their travels. It was the building used for the movie Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark. After taking in The Treasury, we walked further and came into an open area where more buildings had been carved into the rock. There were homes, burial tombs, even the restroom was in a cave! It was really, really interesting to feel like you could have live in a place like that.

After we finished our time there, we began the long, hot, dusty, uphill journey back to the top. Michael and I got to ride donkey's to The Treasury. We walked the rest of the long way back.

I glanced one last time at The Treasury thinking how cool it would be to be Indiana Jones!

We had lunch and then made our way back to Aquba near the border crossing. We crossed the border again and took a taxi back to the hotel. We were so tired and dusty that we all took showers when we got back.

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Eilat and the Red Sea
Submitted by bugsly on Saturday, April 22, 2006 - 22:59 7th Grade | Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Israel | Physical and Health Education | Walk

We arrived by bus this morning in Eilat, checked into our hotel and settled into the room. Michael and I quickly jumped into our swimsuits and went out to the pool. After swimming for about 45 minutes, Mom came down and we went outside the gates to swim in the Red Sea. It was very salty but amazing to go under the water with goggles on and see the fish (even though they were dull colors). Michael climbed up on one of the piers about 50 feet out from the shore but I didn't because the barnacles on it were slimy and disgusting. Later we went out to dinner to an Indian restaurant called Tandori and had a great meal. Mom and I popped into the store next door and I got two new suimsuits. After that we headed back to the hotel and went to bed.

Friday morning we did schoolwork and then headed to the pool, and then the Red Sea again. Every ten minutes or so we would have to jump out and rinse off with fresh water. We had to wash out our mouths and our eyes to get the saltiness out of them. Tomorrow we go to visit the ancient city of Petra and I am really looking forward to it.


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Regrouping in Rahovot
Submitted by bugsly on Thursday, April 20, 2006 - 21:56 7th Grade | Car | Core | Foreign Language and Music Study | Israel | Physical and Health Education | Walk

For the last two days, we have laid low, repacked and gotten organized for our travels to the Red Sea and the Dead Sea. It hasn't been too hot so we have thoroughly enjoyed the weather. Tomorrow we head out on a bus to Eilat at the Red Sea.


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