Eilat to Jerusalem

Eilat was the “rest spot” after what’s been a fairly fast-paced twelve days.  From supper last night to lunch today, the time was completely ours.  Some shopped, some swam, some slept.  I chose to retreat a touch myself.  A bit of re-exploring a city that I saw two years back, a couple great meals, a search for a currency exchange booth (no easy task when you arrive on the Sabbath), and my best sleep of the trip so far.

This afternoon had us spend some time at Eilat’s aquarium (I love aquariums) before hitting the road for the nearly five-hour drive to Jerusalem.  We stopped midway for a breather at the Ein Gedi, on the shore of the Dead Sea.  I ordered and enjoyed a chicken sandwich from the lowest Burger King on the planet.

Not long after that, we could all hear the bus working harder and feel the pressure in our ears as we began the climb up from the bottom of the Jordan Valley, past Jericho, around and over a few peaks, and there it was—the Old City of Jerusalem, crowned by the easy-to-identify Dome of the Rock.  From there, we made our way through the city to our home-for-three-weeks Tantur Ecumenical Institute.

And here I sit.

A tasty supper has been enjoyed, a suitcase has been unpacked, a room has been set up, and a day is near its end.  By all accounts, it seems that we should be in for a special experience here.  Class begins tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM, and an orientation session will follow that.  The first portion of this trip (Syria and Jordan) was wonderful, but I must say that I’m excited about this portion even more.  That sense may be even more heightened after our break in Eilat.

If you’ve ever thought of Israel in romantic, especially spiritual shades, then don’t visit Eilat.  It will forcefully burst your bubble.  Eilat is the resort town of Israel, and it puts on a full display of secular society.  It is beaches and bikinis, clubs and cocktails.  It’s extravagant and indulgent to a level that felt uncomfortable to me fairly quickly.  Of course, I enjoyed the comfortable accommodations and better-than-average dining, but I had no desire to stay longer.  In fact, it felt good to depart for this place.

And now we begin the next chapter.

1 thought on “Eilat to Jerusalem

  1. I felt the exact same way in Eilat. That first hotel on the left in your picture was the one we actually stayed in.

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