Tuesday, August 31, 2010 had finally arrived. It had been long-anticipated date. It finally arrived, but it didn’t feel real – it almost felt surreal. But at the same time, it felt like any other regular day. However, it wasn’t a regular day. My decade-long dream of going to Israel was being realized. So I jumped in the truck with Dave and Grace and we headed to the Atlanta airport, 4 hours away. Four of the most eternal-feeling hours ever.
Our flight was to be through the night, which made me happy because I was hoping to catch a few Zzz’s with my little u-shaped neck pillow. However, the screaming temper-tantrum throwing 2-year-old on the plane had other ideas. Out of a 11 and a half hour flight, I think I only slept about 30 minutes. Plus, I let the tall guy in our row talked me into letting him have the aisle seat, which left me with the middle seat. Have you ever been in a middle seat? You may as well forget about getting to use your elbows at all. And if you’re tall like me, your legs have no where to go.
But, I was flying to Israel – so I wasn’t going to let a few inconveniences ruin my elation. Who needs sleep anyway, right??
I was pretty darn excited at that point, knowing that I would soon have room to stretch out and walk. Pretty exited face, huh? I look really exhausted as well! But that’s ok – my feet would soon be touching the Holy Land. We landed in Tel Aviv about 10 minutes after this picture was taken.
At the airport we met our guide and loaded onto our bus. Our little group of 6 people was merged with other singles and small groups of travelers. Which ended up working out really well. We drove from Tel Aviv to Netanya, which is just a 40-minute drive up the Mediterranean Coast. The road we took wasn’t entirely along the ocean, though. We drove right along the Samarian hills, which are currently controlled by Palestine. The wall boarder was right along the roadside.
During our 40-minute drive, our guide gave us a brief history of Israel. His name was Neftali… but he was from the Levite tribe. Pretty cool, huh? I was fighting off sleep with a big stick at this point, trying to absorb as much as I could of what Neftali was teaching us. Thankfully I took some notes! My brain was pretty useless at this point. I did manage to retain that Netanya is named after the Rose of Sharon (Song of Solomon 2:1), because of the beauty of the area.
Our hotel in Netanya was called the Blue Bay Hotel, and it was very aptly named – it sat right on the beach of the Mediterranean. After eating a meal I don’t remember eating (due to lack of sleep), my roommate Jill and I walked down to the beach. Unfortunately we missed the sunset, but it was still worth the trip. The water was so beautiful, and the sand was so soft under my feet. I just stood there, wiggling my toes deeper into the soft sand. Aside from feeling amazing, I figured I would get a free pedicure scrub from the sand!
When Jill and I could no longer stand upright, we headed to our room and took very much needed showers. Somehow showers feel better after a long journey.
I did sneak a picture of the pool and the Mediterranean the next morning before we left the hotel though. Just to try to capture the amazing view we had there.
Stay tuned for more adventures from the Holy Land….