Shalom from Israel! This past Thursday, we had our GTL day trip to Jerusalem, and the Loop team stayed in Jerusalem for one night, and the next day we went to explore the nature in Israel.
Thursday morning was…crazy. We decided to take a bus from Nazareth to Jerusalem straight, so we woke up at 4-4:30am. In our initial plan, we had to take three buses to get to Yad Vashem where our tour starts, but we missed the first of the three. Then we found another way to get to Jerusalem on time with two buses, so we ran full speed to the other bus stop, but we saw the bus pass in front of us as we approached the stop. We figured out an alternate route, and we still made it to Yad Vashem before the chartered bus from Tel Aviv arrived 🙂 Yay us!!
The first stop of the day was Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center. Our tour guide for the 2.5 hours was amazing, and we traced the history of the Holocaust in chronological order. From seeing propaganda against the Jews to hearing stories about Holocaust survivors to walking through the Children’s Memorial, it was an emotional education experience for all of us.
Afterwards, we went to the Old City of Jerusalem and spent all our afternoon there. Passing through the Jaffa Gate, we heard stories about the gate from our tour guide like how the Sultan was so pleased with the gate when it was built that he killed his workers, since he didn’t want them to build a gate like this anywhere else. In the Old City, we went to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian Quarter, the Old City Market in the Christian and Muslin Quarters, and the Western Wall in the Jewish Quarter. We also got to see a panoramic view of the city from a rooftop and drank sahlab because it was cold.
After the MISTI tour, we went to Jachnun Bar with 4 others from GTL. The malawach was amazing! We also walked around the Mahane Yehuda Market, since it was really close to Abraham Hostel (where we were all staying for the night).
The next morning was even earlier. We had to be in the Abraham Hostel lobby by 4am for the nature tour. Known to be one of the world’s greatest sunrises, Masada sunrise hike was the activity I wanted to do the most in Israel (also because I hike a lot in general). I can’t explain in words how beautiful it was, so here are pictures to show the beauty:
After the hike, we drove to the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. There, I was happy to see so many ibexes! New animal added to my collection:
Last stop of the tour was the Dead Sea. The driver said that it’s very, very rare for the Dead Sea to be so clear to the point where we can see the Jordanian coast. We stopped at a lookout and took some photos before getting down to the beach.
At the Dead Sea, we did the Dead Sea mud mask all over our bodies, and we got some water in our eyes and it was painful…the taste was really bad too… A lot of GTL students were on this tour (about 10 of us I believe), and we all had a fun, packed, eventful weekend filled with experiences that we might not get again.
Our adventure continues… 🙂
Written by Kalyn Bowen