Schwarma Drama: One Participant’s Travel Blog

Rachel B. recently returned from a free Taglit-Birthright Israel trip with Israel Outdoors.  Below she shares with us the blog she kept while traveling.  Thanks for sharing Rachel!

Rachel B BlogOur trip was abounding with hikes, heat, and history (wonderfully brought to life for us by our brilliant and patient tour guide Veronika Lacktman). The very first day in Israel, we landed, got on the bus, and went directly to a “mild” hike which ended up leading the group down the side of a mountain assisted by metal staples driven into the rock face.

While Erin and I, long familiar with the adrenaline rush of heights thanks to years on Mom’s ropes course, loved every minute, there were a few members of our group that had some difficulty with it. BUT, dear readers, this simply provided an opportunity for the first of the notable members of our trip to step up. Doug, AKA Boujie, saw the difficulty some people were having, and took it upon himself to guide them, step by handhold, down the mountain. With his help, and the cheering of the masses below, everyone made it down safely, and for the rest of the day we scampered in and out of long-abandoned caves carved into the mountainside, and lunched next to the noisiest herd of cows I’ve ever heard in my life.

And man oh man, climbing Masada. Our group was supposed to leave the hostel at 3:30 am to make the hike in time to catch the sunrise at the top. Well, being distracted by cookies and that heavy molasses feeling you get in your body when you wake up so godforsaken early, we were running almost a half hour late. The sky was beginning to lighten by the time we got to the base of the mountain, and about 10 people in the group started setting a pretty fast pace, much to Veronika’s chagrin.
After our first group stop, we came to the first of the stairs. Those. Fucking. Stairs. Erin took it upon herself to count them on the way back down, and (give or take 20, she reports) there were 924. 924 steps between us and seeing the sunrise the way we had heard about, with the clock ticking. Basically, we had about a half hour to do a 45-50 minute hike if we were going to watch the sunrise, so the stupidly determined among us took off at a high clip. Read more!