Friday, May 27, 2011
Our second day trip was to Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. I am very proud of this day, as I drove to, and into, Jerusalem. Driving in New York City is a cake walk compared to this. I managed to get us to a view point of the old city. Dad and I walked around the sites that I have visited when I was out there with tour guides. The coolest part wasn't showing him the holy sites, but taking him to a little hole in the wall for lunch. It was a place a guide had showed me, where she went for lunch (instead of the overpriced, under quality touristy spots). We finished the day with a trip to Kalia Beach at the Dead Sea. This was dad's favorite part of the day, and honestly, I can appreciate that. Jerusalem, for all it's hype, feels like most other historical places that have been overrun by capitalism. Everyone is hawking something, and it's all junk. And there are just too many people, even on a slow day like this one. While I can appreciate the religious importance that others attribute to the place, I'd much rather go underground and the ruins of where and how people lived. Unfortunately there is very little of the city accessible in this way, and none of it for free.
Our third day trip was south toward the Negev desert. We intended to make it all the way to the crater, about a 2.5 hour drive each way, but were so absorbed in the caves at the Bet Guvrin National Park that we ran out time to get there. We really went back in time here, to about 300 B.C. These caves were the homes of the Hellenistic people. They dug levels down into the ground. They had large water cisterns, huge pigeon breading rooms, and living space. The room in the picture to the right was an olive oil processing room. They have been producing the same food products in this region for literally thousands of years. In fact, they still are. We purchased several bottles from the kibutz that still works the olive trees in this area.