Israel Journey #4B: Hike, Nap, FroYo, Service, Trivia… A full day

Our day began bright and early…well so early it wasn’t even bright! After spending a night under the stars in a bedouin tent, we all packed up our things at 4 AM and made our way to Masada. We had a short hike via the Roman Ramp up to the top of the fortress to watch the sunrise at 5:30 AM. This was no easy task considering that the majority of us got less than 3 hours of sleep last night ( some of us got none at all!). The sunrise was beautiful, and it was so relaxing to sit and watch the sky. After the sun was up and everyone was done with their photoshoots, we took a short tour of the ruins before hiking down the Snake Path. The hike down was a bit of a challenge…It’s not too easy to hike down a mountain while running off 30 minutes of sleep. 
After Masada, we had breakfast and made our way to Ein Gedi, a national park nearby. There, we had a short hike to a refreshing waterfall, where we got to wash off and relax! Although not as big as we were expecting, the waterfall was the perfect spot to cool down. We didn’t stay for too long, and once we left we made our way back to Jerusalem. 
Sleep deprivation got the best of everyone, and we all passed out on the two-hour bus ride. The staff could tell we were all completely drained, and when we got to the hotel we had a couple hours of free time before dinner. I used this opportunity to take a serious nap, and the rest of our group did the same. That nap felt AMAZING!!!! 
Everyone met at dinner feeling much more refreshed and ready for our night out on Ben Yehudah Street! After dinner we all walked over and spent a couple hours shopping, eating ice cream and froyo, and walking up and down the street. There was a street performer at one end, and by the end of the night, we were all standing around listening to the performance. With gift bags in our hands, we all walked back to the hotel, super excited to finally get some real sleep. Although this day started at 3:30 AM and was physically very exhausting, it was such a fun day!! So sad to be leaving so soon :(. XOXO, Halli Friedman
After breakfast this morning we went to a presentation given by a woman from an organization called Women For The Wall, in which she was talking about how women are not allowed to pray in the way that they wish on their section of the Western Wall and their efforts to combat that. I found it so interesting, I didn’t miss a word. She was very effective and kept her speech short and sweet, but she was obviously passionate about the topic. 
After the presentation, we had some free time before heading to a place called Yad Sarah and getting a tour/presentation of their facility. Their presentation was very intricate, being shown on many different screens and including the rising and lowering of various curtains to show certain displays. We also went between many different rooms, learning about their lending facility, calling center, and the story of their facility and patients. It was cool how there were so many volunteers and a lot of the place was funded by donations. After the tour, we had a short trivia where I got every question right but my team still lost… I’m not salty at all. Then we had a packed lunch outside which was fairly decent. I’m vegetarian and have had a hard time getting protein but I actually got a soy patty and I finished everything I was given, which is rare for me. 
After lunch, we headed to the Knesset. The security was a little intimidating but went pretty smoothly and the tour was short but sweet. We learned a bit about how the government functions and all the features of the building that helped with that process. After the Knesset, we headed back to the hotel where we had free time, during which I took a well needed 3-4 hour nap. I woke up to finished laundry and dinner. 
After dinner, we headed down to the Jewish quarter of old Jerusalem where we saw the Western Wall and took a tour of the tunnels underneath the wall, where you could see the base of the wall and a few other features that were still there from the second temple. It was cool to see such old structures and hear about how they had survived over the years and are used today. After the tour, we headed back to the hotel where I ordered pizza and hung out with my roommates before heading to bed. -Flynn 

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