Home again, home again................

Trip Start Nov 05, 2010
Trip End Nov 13, 2010

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Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday dawned with great sadness for us all.  Maggie woke and cried, which was a bit how we all felt.  Here was the end - our last day.  I told Maggie that the best thing we could do was concentrate on the day, and let the rest take care of itself.  So we did.

We started by floating and bathing in the Dead Sea - very interesting to be so light in water.  Then we spent time at the pool for Maggie.  Once we packed and got moving, it was off to the Negev desert, which meant driving up to the desert plateau.  Whew!  What a drive up the mountains.  I made a point of not looking down and focusing on the road ahead and we made it up.

Our first stop was the caves along the way, which are drip caves.  Then off to the Negev Camel Ranch at Mamshit http://www.cameland.co.il/index.php?tlng=english which was really cool.  Maggie and I went for a one hour ride and really enjoyed it.  Not at all like horse riding.  Our guide was really funny - he told us about a German woman who asked him if he had problems with his camels when he took them to school.  Hey, at least it wasnt an American who asked!  I told him next time he should say yes, and then the person would have a great story to go home an tell everyone.  The camels walk in matched stride, both legs of each side move together.  Their feet are soft and squishy, and make them very sturdy.

From there we headed to Tel Aviv.  We had a relaxing time to change at the apartment of Leon son Avishar (thanks!!), then headed off to dinner at his restaurant, Cafe Noir. OK, if any of you are foodies, this place alone is worth the trip to Israel.  The food was the best I have ever had - ever, and in e-v-e-r.  Same for Laura's 1 and 3.  Amazing.  I broke my cardinal rule and ordered pasta - I love pasts and ordering it out is always a disappointment.  Not this time.  I had shrimp and vegetable pasta and it was amazing.  The pepper was sharp and not overpowering, the pasta done perfectly and the shrimp and vegetables done to perfection. Given that these do not cook at the same speed, it was an unforgettable experience. Each part was done to its own perfect level.  Maggie pronounced her burger the best ever - and the fries were too (I tried them, they were).  Peepa had some pate and (as usual) had some of everyone else's, which is wise since we always order too much.  Leon had a parpadelle with livers that was also perfect. Avishar sent out an appetizer of thin pita rolled with herbs and spices and a mid course roasted lamb sliced thinly on toast.  I cannot say enough about how good this meal was!

Then it was, sadly, off to the airport.  Leon stayed with us til then, and we were so very sad to leave him at the airport.  Leon is so much more than a guide.  He is an excellent guide, but he is also an historian, student of anthropology and politics. We understood so much more about Israel, and truly about ourselves, by the end of the week.  We were asked to think about things we had not ever been challenged to consider; the bible was aimed at and written about the Jews, but we do not look at the context of Judaism when we read our texts or ask why things happened in certain ways.  It is for sure to say that we will be back, with more people,  to again experience Israel and all it has to offer.  We will come again, if even only to see our friend Leon.
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