As is only appropriate, within the first 6 days of our arrival to SA we went on a safari to take in the beauty of the Pilanesburg National Park and to ogle at all that is wild. Wow! It was as thrilling and gorgeous as I had imagined a safari to be. Seeing African animals in the wilds (of a game reserve, probably the closest they come to being free in SA these days) is scary, exciting and wonderful. They aren’t caged in small spaces and they aren’t fed by humans or rely on humans for anything. The animals are allowed their own herds, mating partners and territory and are free to live and die as they choose. I’m no animal activist but that sounds pretty all right to me.
After the 8 hour flight due south to the land of the RSA we arrived in the afternoon and were welcomed in by Leizl, Hendri and Zante. It was so nice to meet them after hearing so much about everyone from Sue and Andrew! They took us to ‘Adieu’ which is the volunteer and organizational centre for Joburg sponsored by the WCF (Williamsburg Christadelphian Fund) and home to the Scheepers and the Viljeons. We had a really nice dinner of pup and voughst all together chatting and getting to know who everyone was before we crashed out pretty early. The wall in the kitchen has pictures up of all the previous volunteers, awesome to see our family up there and lots of other friends from all over the world.
At breakfast we were greeted by quite a surprise. Dad was sporting a pair of the most disturbing poodle leg socks, which brought us considerable joy. Sadly, no photo. Once we were on the road we headed in the direction of Mount Nebo. This is the spot where Moses stood and saw the land promised to the Children of Israel. (more…)
The border crossing from Israel to Jordan was surprisingly super easy. The taxi driver dropped us off on the Israeli side and we walked over the no mans land. Jono thought the area between Israel and Jordan would be a fantastical place to try and take a quick photo. The guy with the machine gun didn’t agree. I guess decisions like this come from the same part of Jonos brain that think it’s a good idea to pack fireworks into his checked-in plane luggage and drive a car that’s not his into a muddy slurry pool in the middle of nowhere (but that story comes later).
Highway 40 through the Negev was seriously spectacular! Clare even took us on a cool little side journey to see two huge craters. It was so dry and arid, but so picturesque. Everything was closed in the tiny town we planned to stop in for lunch, but luckily we had some left over food in our packs, so we stopped for a nice little picnic in the park. Eventually we made it to Eilat but not before stopping once or twice along the way to take in the magic of the scenery. Feeling pretty beat from the long driving day we sussed out our airbnb apartment and grabbed some breakfast things for dinner from one of the only corner stores we could find that was actually open. It took quite a search to find too.
We were all sad to leave the beautiful Galilee area and the north of Israel. We took one last look at the Sea before we dragged our eyes away and headed south down towards the Dead Sea.
When we woke up and wandered ibto the lounge room the view was amazing! The sea looked really cool in the morning sun. Over breakfast we decided to head North for the first of our few days around the Sea of Galilee. (more…)
The airbnb apartment in Jerusalem was on the 5th floor and after a full day walking around it was nice to use the lift. But the lift was pretty slow and one of those old school ones where you open a door, get in, press the button, wait for 3 mins before a gate would fold close, then the door would shut and you could move. The lift was tiny; you were pushing it having 2 people in there, especially if you didn’t know each other very well. If you, while trying to maneuver yourself in the small small space got in the way of the gate it would open and you’d have to wait all over again. It was so annoying you’d usually just walk.
Dad had us up bright and early on Tuesday as he was only mildly excited about the underground western wall tour he had booked us in for! It was pretty amazing and genuinely a lot less archaeologically nerdy than I had expected. We did the tour with a guide and even though I’d been down there before it was still really interesting. We saw a 600t stone lifted 16m into place using who knows what? We also saw a ramp up to the top level of the temple mount had been built by Herod as an aqueduct. (more…)
As we flew down the coastline of Israel and over the bright lights of Tel Aviv my heart could have burst with excitement! After a long day of flying from Portugal to Israel via Cologne with a random German airline we arrived in the promised land.