The Cousins Visit

On July 19 we got in the car to drive to Ben Gurion Airport to pick up Jill, Dante and Paris who were coming for a 9 day visit. We had a great time travelling all over the country, seeing the sites, eating great food and having lots and lots of fun.

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Here are some highlights of our adventures:

Shabbat July 19 – After we spent far too long on line at AVIS we drove home, rested and got ready for sunset at Hof HaTzuk – a great beach just North of Tel Aviv followed by a yummy dinner on the Namal (the Tel Aviv port).

Sunday July 20 – Headed up North with our first stop at Tzuk Manara in the Upper Gallilee but they weren’t open yet so off to the Dan river for some rafting. After lunch we returned to the cable car at Tkuk Manara and then some alpine sliding there. Dinner was right on the Dan river at Dag al haDan – yummy. Then on to Kfar HaNasi, a kibbutz where Jill had lived “a long time ago.”

Monday July 21 – First off to Rosh Pina a small town next to the Kibbutz with a beautiful artist’s quarter / old city. Dante found a beautiful painting. After lunch we ventured into the Hula Valley for a 10 K bike ride in a nature reserve. We then drove up to Tzfat and walked around the old city and had a yummy dinner of Yemminite Pizza. Aliza, Gila and Nomi returned to Modi’in and Jill, Bradley, Dante and Ela returned to Kfar HaNasi.

Tuesday July 22 – We drove further North onto the Golan Heights for a hike at Tel Dan including a stop next to a really cold water hole. On our way to Tel Aviv we stopped for lunch at a Druze restaurant with a spectacular view of the Heights. Three hours later we were in Tel Aviv shopping at Nachalat Binyamin. We had a great dinner afterwards at Manta Ray next to the beach.

Wednesday July 23 – We conquered the Old City of Jerusalem. We started in the Jewish Quarter then met up with Uri to see the Christian and Muslim Quarters stopping for a hummus lunch in the Shuk. Then off to Hezekiah’s Water tunnel, the Western Wall and the tunnel tour underneath the wall. We walked out of the Old City, stopped at a great, not so little shop in the Shuk owned by new friends of ours, and then walked into Modern Jerusalem for a Shwarma dinner before heading back to Jaffa Gate for the Light Show.

Thursday July 24 – More modern Jerusalem including a scavenger hunt at Machane Yehuda – lots of yummy treats. Afterwards Jill, Aliza, Dante and Paris met up with Uri to visit Yad VaShem. After a quick pit stop in Modi’in the Crew ventured to Jaffa to Na Laga’at (a center for the arts for blind and deaf people) to have dinner at Black Out (a restaurant where you eat in the dark) followed by seeing the play Not By Bread Alone.

Friday July 25 – We woke up early to head South to Masada, the Dead Sea and the desert. Jill, Aliza, Dante and Paris hiked up the Snake Path. We explored the journey of the Zealots after the fled the Destruction of the Second Temple pursuing the question – did they come to live or to die? The Cable car became more popular on the way down and then we were off to the Dead Sea. Lots of somewhat painful floating and mud bathing following by swimming and chillin’. Then back in the cars for our trip to the Beduin Tent – Chan HaShayarot where we were having dinner and spending the night.

Shabbat July 26 – A quick breakfast and then we climbed aboard our camels for a short desert treck with beautiful views. Then we met Boaz on the edge of the Ramon crater for a session of rappelling into the crater – lots of fun. We met our next guide for a three our hike into the crater – discovering hidden sources of water and many things to do with desert poop. Jill and the Boys ventured back to Modi’in and Bradley and the girls headed to Kibbutz Urim for Shavuot.

Sunday July 27 – Jill and the Boys drove (all the way) up North to Rosh HaNikra and then went to the beach up there followed by a return trip to Tel Aviv for more exploring and dinner. Bradley and the girls swam on kibbutz and then took part in the Shavuot ceremony of the offering of the first fruits including dancing and a tractor parade.

Monday July 28 – Can’t believe 9 days went by so quickly. The girls LOVED sharing Israel with Jill, Dante and Paris. We all had a great time!

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