ISRAEL - Jerusalem & Eilat

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Jerusalem

We arrived in Tel Aviv late Thursday evening then made the trek to our home in Jerusalem near the Hamoshava Hayevenit area.   Just a 30 minute walk via a peaceful bike trail to the old city and Jaffa Gate.  We took this trail the next morning enjoying the magical atmosphere that is Jerusalem, passing through Jaffa gate into the old city.   

This is the center of culture, religion and history. This is the core of Judaism and a holy city to Islam and Christianity. Here vibrant markets and stone walled, descending alleyways link the Christian, Muslim, Jewish and Armenian  quarters.  However as you get lost in the sway of the markets each quarter melts into the other blurring the lines of distinction among communities.

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Tel Aviv

REUNITING WITH AN OLD FRIEND

While travelling in my 20’s, I spent a few months quite ill form my adventures in India. Not quite ready to head back to Canada, I instead followed Hagit home to Israel after meeting her briefly in Bangkok.  She welcomed me to her home without question.  Now after 25 years we reunited once again in her home town of Rishon LeZion 

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We spent an afternoon preparing a scrumptious meal.  Hagit taught Jack and Grace how to make the best Tahini, a skill I had long forgotten, while Scott manned the barbecue.  We enjoyed the pleasure of Kai’s 3 year old energy as she chased her new found “best friends” around the yard.  This phenomenal day was capped off with a late night visit to the beach.

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Ohr Meir & Bracha

We felt very lucky to spend a morning at Ohr Meir and Bracha (The Terror Victims Support Center) This organiztion invites the public to come and volunteer on Thursday mornings to pack food baskets for families affected by terror.  They serve as many as  400 local families, but also have ongoing projects of support around the country.  

We were welcomed by all the volunteers and met some fantastic people.  The kids were eager to dig and participate and marked it as one of their favourite days.  The day ended with a walk via Ben Yehuda Street to Matane Yehuda market to peruse the spice and fruit stalls.

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Masada & the dead sea

Masada, the 30 B.C ancient fortress in the Judean Desert sits high on a desert plateau  with clear views to the dead sea. I had always loved the story of Masada and was excited to show this to the kids.   

In 70 AD, after Jerusalem had been destroyed, Masada became the last strong hold in Judea housing 960 rebels, including many women and children. Between 72 and 73 AD these rebels were under siege by the forces of  8,000 Romans determined to break through the fortress.   When it became clear that the Romans were going to take over Masada in 73 A.D these 960 people took their own lives rather than live as Roman slaves

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The Dead Sea sits 400m below sea level making it the lowest point on dry land. It’s famous salt water makes you feel like you are floating in space.  The kids loved the cool sunset dip (float).

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eilat

After our salty dip we headed to our next destination, Eilat.  Here we planned a 10 day stay with little on the agenda.  We planned this time to allow the kids to catch up on school work, and for Jack and I to ramp up our training for the November 30th Desert Half Marathon.  

While school is not the favourite travel day itinerary, Eilat provided a welcome relaxed atmosphere.  We stayed on the edge of town, bordering the desert, in a quiet community away form the mini Las Vegas style vacation getaway atmosphere of looming hotels, busy beaches and bright lights.  

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