The idea suddenly came to visit Israel. This idea is especially lit up my wife, for which it was interesting to visit places associated with religion. It turned out that getting Israeli visa is quite simple, and the visa fee is only $ 23. With just pennies compared to the more or Schengen visa in the United States.
It was found the cheapest option trip to the end of December. So, we landed at Ben Gurion Airport Tel Aviv. Immediately after receiving the baggage went in search of a rolling office Elda. They advance on the internet had booked the car in which we were planning to move to Israel.
It turned out that not only Elda, but other distributors - Sixt, Hertz, Europcar are located on the second floor of the airport building. The front design we met a girl who was a Russian-speaking and everything in great detail and told us explained. Besides, without any additional charges, she designed the car a class above us and with built-in navigation. Whether it was a gesture on her part, or other machines currently not in stock, but in any case it big thank you for it!
Toyota Corolla cost us about 45 dollars a day. Although for the money I ordered the car easier - runabout. Gasoline in Israel is not cheap - NIS 7.45 ($ 2.15) per liter. But looking ahead, I will say that the consumption of gasoline and our car, on average, amounted to slightly less than 7 liters per hundred. What we have, of course, very pleased.
Get the car in the parking lot airport, noted in the final paragraph of navigation upcoming trip and went to the very south of the country in the resort town of Eilat. The distance from Tel Aviv to it is about 350 kilometers.
In an excellent track we reached the city of Beersheba, which is located about half way to Eilat, and decided to rest. Put the car into the parking lot shopping center (the first two hours free of charge), and here, at the mall, dinner.
Suddenly got dark quickly, at 5 pm. Just at this time we got to the erosion of the Ramon Crater. It is located in the Negev desert and measures 40 kilometers long and 9 kilometers wide. Through the town of Mitzpe Ramon, which is located literally on the side of the crater, runs track, on which we were traveling from the north to the south of Israel. The road abruptly serpentine drops almost 150 meters down into the crater itself, and then gradually lower. Total height difference between Mitzpe Ramon Ramon Crater and the bottom of the order of 350 meters.
On the road again we stopped at the "smoke break." What we have seen a starry sky! Away from the populated areas, where there is no glare from electric lighting, but there is a cloudless sky, we have seen a myriad of stars in the black ocean of space. It's amazing.
After a while we got to the resort town of Eilat, which is located in the south of Israel, on the Red Sea. Here the country is sandwiched from both sides of their neighbors to the west by Egypt and Jordan in the east. It was only a narrow strip of coast belongs to Israel. The coastline in this place is only 12 kilometers. But, despite this, all travelers have enough space here.
In Eilat, we checked into the hotel, have brought their suitcases out of the car and lay down to sleep without back legs.
Here is the area near the hotel. The building itself is a two-story. Each of the rooms on the first floor of the hotel belongs to a small enclosed courtyard. You can get here only through the door of his room. Are table and chairs, sun umbrella set, so you can sit out on the great outdoors.
Back in the hotel but guests live on a permanent basis about 15 cats. They are on the street is equipped plywood house, inside which stinks terribly. Hotel administration cats feeds and encourages guests to share with animals the remnants of his food.
One morning we woke up early and cats themselves released from the house, which is locked at night latch. Then the administrator gave us a claim, they say, do it categorically impossible. Not only that cats can tear a dog living in the neighborhood (in the afternoon, probably, the dog will not eat lunch essentially get lost cat), so even at night or the morning cat may freeze in the street. It is at a temperature of +10 to +15. For us funny, and their cat, probably really accustomed to a different climate.
After feeding the cats in the morning hotel, we went to the suburb of Eilat on the camel farm. It is located between the low cliffs near the border with Egypt, south of the city. Camels contains about 20 individuals. They can take a fascinating trip to the desert. But the tour was lasting 4 hours and we did not dare to spend such a long time, shaking between camel humps. A shorter camel rides, alas, it was not.
On the farm, except for camels and goats contains. Goat's milk cheese manufacture, which immediately possible purchase. More directly on the farm without cages, peacocks roam, for which our daughter happily drove :).
In addition, there is a café for visitors. And as entertainment it is built fairly large town of rope. In the background of the photo is visible to him. Rope ladders, ropes, beams and all this not only at the bottom, but at a height of several meters. In general, a good sports entertainment.
A bit of wandering around the farm, we again got into the car and headed westward to another interesting place near Eilat. This place - Red Canyon. It is located about 20 kilometers from the city. Highway 12 goes through the mountains and close to the Egyptian border. In some areas, the distance from the fence with barbed wire before the road is only a few tens of meters. And in some places it is very close. I would like to draw your attention to the direction in which the slope of the top of the fence. Apparently, trying to cross the border in one direction only ... :)
We blocked the road checkpoint. I really thought that wrong turn, and we arrived at the border crossing point. But it turned out that we were going the right and the canyon a little further, as in Russian and told us to stand on guard of soldiers. It should be noted that in Israel, even a lot of the military on the streets. They are everywhere and all weapons. In the army and serve girls and boys. There is no separation.
That's a pointer to the old patrol road and the canyon. Order kilometers of rocky road and we drive up to the parking lot. Although parking is difficult to call, just lined playground. But on the way there - the way we blocking dozen boulders. Then only on foot. Grab the camera and go.
We go on the rocks deposited on the green label. They represent our route. In Israel, widely used designations for this type of hiking trails. In the canyon 2 routes: the length of the green - 800 meters long, black - 6 kilometers.
At the beginning of the way the landscape looks quite modest, the road wagging on dry riverbed among the crumbling walls of yellow sandstone. Go near the steep walls more terrible - as if something fell on our heads. But soon we come to a more open space.
Go ahead, and we are waiting for the real work of natural art. It worked on the red rock water, sand and wind, year after year polishing and eroding, giving it a fantastic shapes and curves.
The canyon walls are getting higher and higher. Here is dominated by shades of red. 3 times we have to go down a few meters down the cliff using a hammered metal braces. That becomes very narrow, we find ourselves in a large cave whose walls are gradually closing up the top, left us quite a narrow strip of sky.
We leave to the open area and the route offers us to move along the ledge on a sheer canyon wall. And what we have got here? There was a time when his feet gave way. Standing on a narrow ledge, holding on to the handrail. 15 meters to the bottom, and you never climber. But what if more is even more difficult, and would be impossible to go back?
But holding on to the railing, climbed the stairs up, went forward a little, and all came to the flat surface of the rock. Exhaled.
After a trip to Red Canyon, a little rest in the hotel and set off to explore the city and visit the Red Sea.
The town of Eilat is very small. Population 50,000. At any point, you can reach a maximum of 10 minutes, if not faster. Of the features of the road I'll take a definite plus a large number of the roundabout. The ring is always the main road, everything is simple and clear, and turn or travel takes a minimum of time. By cons I'll take the organization of movement parking. It is true that the pockets or places where it is permitted to park the car very little. Free parking is possible only in those places where the curbs are not painted. If the curb is painted in red and white, the car park next to it banned altogether. Paid parking is allowed along the blue and white borders.
Now, on the Red Sea. Israel got a little piece of the Gulf of Aqaba. But this is enough to Israel - there is also a sandy beach complete with umbrellas and sun beds, and a water park and a coral reef where diving enthusiasts can enjoy underwater beauty. Beaches are free, lie, swimming, sunbathing.
On the coast, it is a monument to the flag of the ink. This - a symbol of the victory of Israel in the Arab-Israeli war of 1947-1949 years. During the conflict, Israel has established authority over the territory, and it was necessary to confirm the setting of the flag State. But ironically, the military it was not with him. Then they took the first available white cloth and ink drew two horizontal lines and the star of David in the middle. That such an ink and a flag has been set at this point.
The next day we made another raid in the vicinity of the city of Eilat. We visited in Kibbutz Eilot, which is just a kilometer from the northern boundary of the city. It is necessary to clarify what the kibbutz. A kibbutz - a sort of collective farm, an agricultural commune with collective farming, the common property and the equality of all and in all. In general, socialism in one country.
In the kibbutz we visited the farm, calves fed hay.
At Kibbutz are excellent, as well as everywhere in Israel, the road. Here palm trees, a variety of trees, and generally nice and well maintained. There is a 4 * hotel. There is a dining room with a buffet, where for 44 shekels per person ($ 13) we had a great lunch. Next to the restaurant there is also a children's playground and fitness equipment, where we also can not miss.
Mountains, which are visible in this photo - it's Jordan.
After we returned to the kibbutz of Eilat near the hotel on the first line. We parked the car and went into the first hotel. "It is not your hotel guests can swim in the pool?" - "Hmm. Can. Bring towels. " Outdoor swimming pool, but the water is warmer than the sea.
It was the day of December 31, 2013. On New Year's night, we were lying in the sun loungers on the Red Sea, admiring the stars and enjoyed the breeze and sound of the waves.
The next morning, gathering his belongings, and having passed the keys to the room administrator, we left due north of Eilat. Our way lay to one of the salt water in the world - the Dead Sea. We drove about 250 kilometers, the road was in the desert and mountains. Occasionally we come across palm groves and camping for motorists.
About campsites would like to write more in detail. This paved areas, there is a toilet, be sure to water, put wooden shelters with tables under them, urns. Trees, planted plants. All in all, for the people :)
At the Dead Sea, we stopped near Kibbutz Ein Gedi, 5 kilometers from the established in 1949 border with the West Bank of the Jordan River. Since 1950, these territories have been occupied by Jordan and Israel in 1967, although the latter does not recognize the occupation and insist on the terminology of "disputed territories." Now it's complicated. Like the land controlled by the Palestinian Authority. On the other hand, are located here, and the Israeli settlements. Even the eastern part of Jerusalem - the capital of Israel - is on the disputed territory.
Mountains near Kibbutz Ein Gedi.
Near the kibbutz is equipped with a place for visitors to the Dead Sea. There is ample parking at the price of 20 shekels ($ 6) from the machine. Also for the convenience of visitors there are separate male and female showers and toilets. The water in the shower was just cold. Unpleasant.
The salinity of the Dead Sea is very high and amounts to 300-350 ppm. This means that in 1 kilogram of water and 350 grams of dissolved salts. For comparison - the average salinity of the oceans of 35 ppm, and, for example, the Black Sea - all 18.
In the sea, it seems to me impossible to drown. Water simply pushes the man out of himself. They are very comfortable to lie on the water :). On the surface, coastal stones naros layer of salt about a centimeter or so thick. Because this is somewhat problematic to enter the water, the salt layer is very strong, and the crystals are easy to leave scratches to blood.
Another interesting fact is that the sea coast, the lowest area of land on Earth. The water level of 427 meters below sea level.
In many places, the salt is mined from the sea. All white in the photo - it's just salt. On the shores of the Dead Sea are located chemical plants for extraction and processing of its water potash, bromine, magnesium and other substances.
At the Dead Sea, we did not stop for the night and left in the direction of Jerusalem in the evening and spent the night on the way to the hotel in the city of Dimona. Dimon visited Dimona :). Town completely nothing impressive, the most-most province. The only thing that could interest here - is the presence near the city center for nuclear research. As well as information that Israel might produce in this region of nuclear weapons. By the way, in Dimona we have removed a great room, and quite inexpensive for Israel.
The next morning, before going to Jerusalem, it was decided to first visit the ruins Mamshita - the ancient city of the Nabataeans. It is located just 7 kilometers southeast of Dimona. Entrance fee to the cost NIS 22 for an adult and 10 for a child.
From its former magnificence of the city to date, there is not much. Basically, the walls of buildings. Somewhere they have restored somewhere and boulders lie loose on the ground.
Mamshit was founded in the 1st century BC. The road passes through it incense caravan route from southern Arabia to the Mediterranean countries, in which not only brought incense and myrrh, myrtle, and other products. The city rapidly developed to the 3rd century, but then the trade between India and Rome began to decline. This factor has increased several strong earthquakes. As a result, in 6-7 centuries Mamshit was abandoned by people.
The remains of the ancient temple of the 4th century with preserved mosaics on the floor.
The city existed not only because of the trade route, but also the largest for its time agricultural center.
Here, in addition to ordinary homes were stable and the market, and temples, and the mill. To use underground water storage reservoir. The town was surrounded by city walls and towers to protect against attacks from the outside. Outside the walls of the structure were the inn for the caravan and their camels.
And this is the ruins of the ancient baths. It had three main facilities - locker room, cool room to prepare for the wash and the actual bath. Here, under the floor of the basement is designed with columns where clay pipes supply steam from the heated water. Next to the baths there reservoir, which collects rain water flowing through the channels from all over the city.
We are still a little climb on the ruins of the city and marveled as 2000 years ago, people were able to build not just any ordinary-looking buildings, but also very high quality building of hewn stone with roofs supported by arches, engineering ideas used for the storage and supply of water.
Well, now it's time to continue to keep the path. Having eaten at Morozhenko, piled into the car and drove to the capital of the State of Israel the city of Jerusalem.
Write and talk about Jerusalem, is extremely difficult. Extensive history of this city is closely intertwined with religion. A talk on religion is generally a thankless job, in my opinion. Therefore, I do not judge strictly for this opus.
Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world. The first settlements on the site date back to the 4th millennium BC. Over the past century the city belonged successively: the kingdom of Israel, Judah, Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, the Macedonian Empire, Egypt, the Seleucid state, again Judah, the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, the Arab Caliphate, the Crusaders, Egypt, the Ottoman Empire and Great Britain.