Craters, Ruins, and Camel Rides
Traveling in the desert, we have not always had the best WiFi connections. Last night, for example, we spent in a Bedouin encampment with a rather spotty connection. As a consequence, we couldn't update the blog until now.
Leaving behind our desert kibbutz, in the morning we headed off to the Makhtesh Ramon Nature Preserve, site of a remarkable geological formation in the form of crater measuring 40 kilometers in length and 9 kilometers at its widest. After learning about the geological forces that shaped and continued to shaped the crater, we hiked around the rim to take in the stunning views.
For lunch, the students were formed into teams to shop at a local supermarket and practice their Hebrew in the process.
Afterward, we visited a local vineyard, the Kerem Ramon, to see how modern Israeli farmers practice desert agriculture through the use of water recycling and other innovative methods.
Our next stop was an archaeological site, the Tel Arad, containing the ruins of a Judean mountain fortress dating from the ninth century BCE. The students learned about ancient Judean religious practices as well as how the fortress inhabitants managed to survive in the forbidding desert environment.
Our final stop for the day was Kfar Hanokdim, a mock Bedouin encampment. Before spending the night under a large communal tent, the students rode camels, heard about Bedouin hospitality, bought souvenirs, and shared a campfire under the desert stars.
Tomorrow we will visit the Masada and the Dead Sea before making our way to Jerusalem.
Today was filled with interesting things! We first went to a desert basin, or as our tour guide Amos called it, “Disneyland for geologists.” It was the perfect view.
We went to lunch right after, where we split into groups of four to five and together had to buy stuff from an Israeli supermarket with a set amount of money. My group made sandwiches.
After that, we drove over to a vineyard, where we were explained how it worked.
We then learned about the ancient history of an Israelite fortress that is more than 2000 years old. It was very fun to walk in the ruins of the structure; however, we lost a hat to the wind.
As we were getting tired, we headed toward a Bedouin village to stay the night, but first we rode camels. While a short experience, riding camels was really fun. We later ended the day around a campfire eating s’mores.