Written by Guest Bloggers: Carly Eiduson and Evan Kaster
We woke up and packed our luggage and went to the school to say goodbye to our Israeli friends. With all the close connections that we made, it was hard to say goodbye knowing that we might not see each other for a while, but we will be sure to keep in touch. After a tough goodbye, we got on the bus and totally passed out into a deep sleep on our way to Tel Aviv.
After arriving in Tel Aviv, we stopped at the Palmach Museum. The museum was very interesting because it was an interactive exhibit that showed us how the Palmach started with a few people and lack of weapons. The Palmach eventually became the Israel Defense Forces. Following the tour of this wonderful exhibit, we had a group discussion about what we learned at the museum. Next we were off to Tel Aviv University where we ate lunch. It is a gorgeous campus with lots of people. Then we drove south to Sde Boker, where we participated in a desert biking competition with two teams using a map to find different spots in the desert. The group that earned the most points would win. To earn points for your team, you must bike around the beautiful and peaceful desert using a map to find certain signs. When you find each sign you must take a picture of it as proof…kind of like a scavenger hunt. While racing around the desert in amazing weather we also learned how to navigate using a map. Although our team did not win, we had heaps of fun biking in the desert and spending time together.
After our competition ended we learned David Ben Guiron, the former Prime Minister, was buried right across the street overlooking the beautiful Judean Desert. Our brilliant guide, Shachar, led a brief talk about why Ben Gurion was buried in Sde Boker. After our educational talk, we boarded the bus and headed to the middle of nowhere…or so it seemed! When we arrived at the right spot, we were greeted by a former IDF fighter named Omer. From what he told us about the evening's plans, we knew it was going to be the best night yet. We were going to go on a night hike that would teach us about the different techniques IDF soldiers use to navigate the mountainous desert at night -- in pitch black. After two hours of hiking through the desert mountains, and learning about what the IDF soldiers are expected to do when they are at war, we were surprised at the end of the walk when were were raided by our guides!!!! After the "raid," we went back to the bus and enjoyed an hour-long ride to theBedouin tents located in the Negev. When we arrived at the tents, we were astonished by how large the tents were. Later, we feasted on a dinner made by our phenomenal guides/chefs Nir and Shachar. Following dinner we hung out around the campfire and enjoyed a delicious dessert of chocolate covered strawberries. We quickly went to sleep knowing that we would have to wake up at 3:30 a.m. for a sunrise hike up Masada.