This past weekend I went with the OSP group on a trip to Eilat. We started off going North of Be'er Sheva to a nature preserve where a flower grows that is only grown two places in the world, both in Israel. This yellow flower only flowers two weeks a year. After that, we drove South. On the way, we discovered that our bus driver had a DVD with some Friends episodes on it so we watched several episodes on the way there and a few on the way back.
Pictures from the weekend
In the desert north of Eilat, we did a hike through a canyon. Hila's (our group leader) husband is majoring in geography and he explained to us some of the geological features of the area. It was a nice hike in the desert.
In Eilat, we went to the "guest house" place that we stayed between the main area of Eilat and the border crossing to Egypt. It was similar to the places we have stayed on Kibutzim, but this time in a city. In the evening, Josh and I walked to a nearby hotel to the synagogue there. The group praying was finishing so we did our own Kabbalat Shabbat service which was a lot of fun. We walked around the really nice hotel and then went back for dinner. In the evening, we played cards and hung out.
Saturday morning, I went to the beach/nature reserve a bit early and went swimming with a few people. The water was cold but it was a nice day. We then had a guided program. We were taught about the coral reef and the fish in it (the most Northern reef in the world). They gave us snorkels and PFDs. We had a guided swim through the reefs and then could go back on our own, which I did. The coral reefs were beautiful. The fish were amazing. All of the awesome fish you see in an aquarium, in books, in movies, etc. were swimming with me. I swam with Nemo and Dora from Finding Nemo.
In the afternoon, we did a hike in the Eilat Mountains above the city, overlooking the Red Sea. It was actually more intense than I had expected for our group, but I really liked it. We climbed up about 900-1000 feet and overlooked the bay, Eilat, Aqaba, etc. We could see Egypt and Jordan and the mountains on the horizon to the South may have been Saudi Arabia. We hiked up and down, climbing over rocks and jumping down the mountain, sliding on the gravel/rock that wasn't really a path in may places. It was good fun.
We stopped at the mall and Tayelet/Promenade in Eilat for dinner before coming back to Be'er Sheva.