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Israel - Day 5 (L'chaim!!)

9 February, 20109 February, 2010 0 comments Natalia in the Holy Land Natalia in the Holy Land
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"I told you to be patient
I told you to be fine
I told you to be balanced
I told you to be kind" - Bon Iver lyrics


The first half of the day was spent "walking in the footsteps of Jesus' Ministry" in Galilee, visiting the site that symbolizes the Sermon on the Mount, the place that symbolizes the miracle of feeding the 5,000, etc. We dipped our feet in the Sea of Galilee as well - so refreshing!

 

After this, we traveled to the Golan Heights and immersed ourselves in the political debate over the area. In part, we visited the ancient town of Gamla, where one of the epic battle-sites of the Roman suppression of the Great Revolt. The Golan is a place of incredible hiking and I was pretty sad to be rushed through it all; however, when I return in several months, I have arranged with Avi and Ohad to go on a solid hike with them...the weather will be much cooler then, so it will at least be bearable to be outside!



Having learned about the Great Revolt, we traveled to the Israeli-Syrian border to learn about the strategic importance of this area to the state of Israel. Lastly, we headed to the Golan winery for a wine tasting!!

The Israeli really have made the dessert bloom, growing twenty-two different kinds of grapes in an area with incredibly different topography, weather, and elevation! The wine tasting provided a much-needed break from the heat and sun of the day and it solidified (at least for me) the economic successes that the Israelis have reached in this region. The drive back to the hostel took a while, so Hunter and I sat on the bus and listened to Bon Iver's calming music and felt incredibly content. I felt simultaneously at peace and inspired...after a summer of hectic travel, I had a moment of calm in which I reminded that whatever mistakes we make and whatever wrongs are done to us, there is always more good than bad in life.

At night, we met with some Israeli soldiers. The gathering was actually somewhat frustrating for me because we were not allowed to ask them "political" questions since they were in uniform...as a result, the quality of the questions being asked deteriorated to "what are your hobbies?" and "what do you think about women being in the army?" On a tangent on that last note, Israel recently created a new infantry brigade of women that fights alongside men on the ground, instead of being in Intelligence, etc. Pretty damn cool!! In any case, despite the frustrating caliber of the questions, after the Q&A was over, we all spent some time underneath the stars on our usual blankets with hookah and wine (from the Golan!!). This opportunity was one of my favorite moments of the entire trip, as we got to freely interact with locals!

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