Goodbye Israel!

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As I write this, I’m sitting again in the United First Class lounge at Frankfurt International Airport.  We took a 5:30am (Israel time) flight to Frankfurt, and we had a 12:00pm (Frankfurt time) flight to Dulles in D.C., but it was delayed an hour.  I swear this airport wants to trap us here.  Anyway, we made our way to the United lounge after deplaning and were allowed once again to slip into the First Class section of the lounge.  We also got another one-hour T-Mobile Internet card for free, and you will read this blog post shortly after my time begins and I hit the publish button.

Since I wrote my last blog post, we moved to our third and final hotel.  We left early in the morning on a long drive with several stops.  Our first stop was a tree-planting excursion.  We each dug out soil and placed a small sapling inside; we then recited a prayer.  In Judaism, this ritual honors loved ones past and present.  After we left the tree-planting site, we drove to the city of Haifa, where our guide stopped the car so we could get out and take in a beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea.  Our next stop was the ruins of Caesarea, where the seat of Roman power lies in excellent condition.  We saw an aqueduct, a theater, and a coliseum, and it was easy to see the shape of the ruins and imagine what they looked like long ago.  After we left Caesarea, we drove to our third hotel in the city of Tel Aviv.

Once there, we said goodbye to our guide, who had taken us all over Israel for the past week, and checked in.  We didn’t have much time before dinner, so we freshened up and then went out into the city.  We easily found our restaurant – which miraculously had free Wi-Fi, as did many places along the route.  We took a taxi back that night, as we were stuffed from the meal.  Unfortunately, our Tel Aviv hotel charged $20 for a day of Internet.  I bought the access and started it right after we got back from dinner.  That way, it would expire just before bed the next night – our last night in Israel.

The next morning – our final full day in the country – we enjoyed an excellent breakfast by the beach, and then set off for our day excursion at the Palmach museum.  The museum featured an interactive walkthrough of rooms set up to depict events in the life of Israel’s first defense force.  It was interesting to see the genesis of both the state and the army chronicled in such a non-standard fashion.  After we got back from the museum, we went to the beach for a little while and swam in the Mediterranean.  We only had limited time after the beach excursion, so we went down to the pier, where our dinner restaurant was located.  Amazingly, the pier featured almost-ubiquitous Wi-Fi access.  We were very tired from a full day of events, and we knew that we would get back to the room around 9:30pm and have to wake up at 1:30am the next morning (this morning) for our taxi.  I managed to get a fair amount of sleep anyway, and I also slept this morning on our first flight.

That’s about it from Israel.  We will arrive in Washington, D.C., at around 5:00pm today Eastern time.  Look for Twitter updates – and maybe more photos on this blog – in the coming days.

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