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The view from Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev desert of southern Israel
The view from Kibbutz Sde Boker in the Negev desert of southern Israel

Like many other first-time visitors to Israel, I was excited about visiting some of the country’s many Biblical sites that have remained, for centuries, holy pilgrimage destinations. They include religious heavyweights like the Wailing Wall and Temple Mount, Golgotha (where Christ was crucified) and, of course, the tomb where he resurrected from the dead.

I also got a chance to look at more contemporary sites such as the spectacular Israel Museum (where the Dead Sea scrolls are exhibited) and the modern Tel Aviv Museum of the Arts. With added elements to my itinerary, I also tapped into several adventure tourism escapades, namely hiking (lots of it and in interesting places), rappelling, biking, swimming in the Dead Sea, jeep touring through the Negev Desert, and Segway-ing along the promenade that skirts the Mediterranean in Tel Aviv.

My seven-day Israeli visit at the beginning of March came with mild, comfortable temperatures, elaborate breakfast buffets at my hotels and incredible evening meals at some noteworthy restaurants—plus indelible impressions of the nation, its rich religious heritage and its amazing topography; its mix of peoples; and its colorful blend of ancient and modern cultures.

In the capable hands of private tour guide Uri Golani I joined two other adventurous travelers and took a rather eccentric path southward from Jerusalem, past Masada and the Dead Sea into the sparsely populated Negev and the Makhtesh Ramon, a unique geological “crater” that’s part of Israel’s largest national park. From here, we ventured north again to the modern metropolis of Tel Aviv with its oceanside swatch of skyscrapers that abruptly merges into the ancient and lovely port of Jaffa.

Read about my Israeli adventures in three parts, all linked below:

 


For more information on Israel, log onto visitisrael.com.

Dave Zuchowski

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