University of Haifa International School Student Blog
Since the formal semester has started I have not attended any of the organized trips that the Madrichim have planned. I don’t regret this decision because by coincidence those trips have all occurred at the same time that I have had plans to go and visit family or friends. I did, however, attend all of the trips offered during the month of Ulpan. I am very thankful I did that because I was introduced to an incredible tour guide by the name of Dani Margolis (I highly recommend him if you are looking for a guide) who I have kept in touch with and have become friends with since he showed the group around the city of Nazareth. In a more recent encounter with him we were discussing my hiking plans for the Pesach break and he asked if I would ever want to go hiking with him and some friends. Of course I said yes and he added me to a whatsapp group (if you ever spend significant amount of time in Israel and are not added to several whatsapp groups it probably means you aren’t meeting enough people) of him and some of his tour guide friends who go hiking whenever they have time. Thanks to my light schedule I got to spend Monday hiking with Dani and a few of his friends. I woke up at 3:45am, to be picked up by Dani and two of his friends to drive down to an area called Har Negev which is a few kilometers past Bad Echad (an officer training base for the IDF). Now I still prefer the north to the south, but this hike certainly showed me why some people are obsesses with the desert, there is some real beauty in it. We had a communal breakfast before we started hiking, and then got to hiking. The map we had would have taken us in about a 10-15 kilometer loop, but one of the people had been feeling sick for a few days and I think we were all happy to just do the 5-8ish kilometers that we did. I had never seen the desert in bloom until this hike, and it truly is wonderful. Many different flowers all over the place, trees giving shade and making for cool pictures (as seen below), it was quite an experience. When we finished hiking we found a spring of water that Dani eagerly jumped into, and I reluctantly followed. My reluctance came purely from listening to Dani say how insanely cold the water was, I hate cold. The water was FREEZING, my legs were numb in a matter of a few minutes. Thankfully we got out of the water after a few minutes and started making lunch, it was somewhere around 1pm at this point and the sun was starting to reach its peak, perfect for drying off and taking a nap. Dani and Lior took out the guitars they brought and started playing, and we all just sat and ate and talked and napped for a few hours. We left the desert and brought Lior home first who lives on a Moshav where her and her girlfriend invited us in for dinner, which we all happily accepted.
I got to go hiking again today (Saturday) with a chunk of my family. We went to Gilboa for the 50th International Gilboa Walk. I highly recommend a Gilboa hike to any who can make it. The landscape has absolutely beautiful views, the hiking is not on completely flat surfaces nor is it difficult hiking.
As you can see school hasn’t really been my priority while I am in Israel. That trend will continue this week as I am starting my break a week sooner than everyone else and headed to Athens and Prague in the coming week. From there I will be returning for Pesach break during which I will be hiking and camping in the Galilee, which is my favorite part of Israel.