Over the weekend, my friends and I ventured to Eilat (the southernmost part of Israel). Eilat is similar to the Jersey Shore with its boardwalk, hotel strips, tourists and endless beaches. Although our weekend was filled with beach days and sunbathing, my time in Eilat was truly memorable because of how unique the area was.
We traveled to Eilat on Thursday morning by a public bus company out of Tel Aviv. The ride was long, with frequent stops and tons of people. Though the trip was a bit discouraging at times (after 5 hours I just wanted to get there!), I was mesmerized by how quickly my surroundings changed. Within an hour or so of being outside of Tel Aviv the geography changed from flat and paved terrain to rocky roads and scorching sun. As our journey continued, we drove further and further south, turning mountain corners and getting to what felt like the lowest place on earth. As we passed Masada and the Negev, I felt truly blessed to be in Israel. The country is beautiful and never ceases to amaze me with its versatility. The new experiences just keep coming, and I feel so fortunate to be given this opportunity. (Thanks Mom and Dad!!)
We arrived to our beautiful hotel on Thursday afternoon with a few hours left to soak up the sun (see photo below). After a delicious Israeli-styled dinner that night, we walked around the boardwalk, which reminded me a lot of an American beach town. There were carnival rides, ice cream stands and gift shops.
On Friday, we enjoyed the beach with other students from our program. This was probably one of the coolest parts of the trip. As we dipped our toes into the Red Sea, we could see the borders of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt just a few miles ahead (see photos below). To see firsthand how close we were to three different countries and a whole different continent was indescribable. I was actually swimming in the same sea Moses parted! The beach was also different because of the rocks and dry climate. Since Eilat is in the desert, there was no sand and only unpaved, rocky shorelines. The air was also extremely dry, which made laying in the sun very deceiving. I was careful to lather up on sunscreen and drink tons of water.
(Above, the Jordanian flag is in the distance.)
That night we enjoyed a delicious seafood dinner overlooking the marina with fresh shrimp, calamari and labrak (a juicy and light white fish). I was definitely in heaven.
(Photos above courtesy of Arielle Weingast)
We spent Shabbat relaxing at our hotel pool, which conveniently had beds to lounge on instead of chairs. On Sunday we got our last hours of sun, had complimentary massages and packed up. We opted to take a short flight back to Tel Aviv where I was happy to return to after a long and relaxing weekend. We flew north across the desert as the day’s sun began to set. It was beautiful.
Although my travels thus far have remained in Israel, each adventure feels totally different from the next, and I’m thrilled to have gotten to embrace Eilat’s beauty.