Oh hey - Happy 2017, and Happy Friday - double happiness!
Sorry I went MIA there for awhile, we were lucky enough to get two wonderful visitors out here for a week over New Years, and there was absolutely no time for blogging.
Which is how adventure trips should be, right? My little sister and her boyfriend, Bri and Jase, arrived here Tuesday night (the 27th) and it was basically non-stop adventure until they left the morning of the 4th.
Non-stop as in, any down time was basically used to eat or nap. We did get one game of Scrabble in.
I won't give you a detailed seven day recap because that's excessive and this would turn into a 30 minute read, but I do want to cover the general trip, some favorites, and some roadblocks we hit.
The week basically looked like this:
Drove south (Eilat, Israel) and stayed Wednesday night on the Red Sea, crossed the border to Jordan first thing the next morning. Drove North to Petra, explored Petra Thursday afternoon. Attended Petra at night, stayed at a Bedouin Camp and nearly froze to death. Back to Petra Friday, then headed north after lunch. Stayed on the Jordan side of the Dead Sea Friday night (thanks for using your Chase points Bri), floated in the saltiness Saturday morning. Crossed back over the border Saturday afternoon, stopped in Jericho and Jerusalem before heading back to a New Years Eve in Tel Aviv Saturday Night. New Years Day in Jerusalem, failed to cross the border into Bethlehem due to a very long line. Monday we headed to Northern Israel, saw Nazareth, the Sea of Galilee, and a winery. Tuesday we stayed local and explored Tel Aviv and Jaffa.
Note: Petra was an amazing life experience that everyone should have on their bucket list if they ever wander to the Middle East. Jordan in general felt very different than Israel, and I'm so glad we got to see so much of the country. Petra is MASSIVE and you could easily spend two days there and not get bored.
|The Monastery, Petra|
Another Note: Crossing the borders (both ways) is not necessarily easy and took roughly 90 minutes both times.
Roadblock: The credit card machine wasn't working the day we got to Petra... and sadly we didn't have roughly $400 in cash handy for the four of us to get in. We spent a few hours running around trying different ATM's until we finally solved the problem - and actually ended up paying a lot less by purchasing a two-day pass and proving that we were staying the night in Jordan.... coming out to about $60/person, plus $15 for Petra at night.
Favorite: We learned at the Bedouin Camp we stayed at (while very cold at night, awesome experience, highly recommend) that a guide could lead us on a hike into the "back door" of Petra - allowing us to start at the biggest structure, the Monastery - instead of ending there. So for a few Jordanian Dinars we were thrown into a hilarious-probably-illegal four-wheel drive vehicle, driven to God-knows-where, and dropped off in the middle of breathtaking mountains. A quiet, knowledgeable guide then led us on a semi-challenging hike that was absolutely stunning and made me wonder why more people don't visit Jordan.
Overall, it was fabulous to be able to spend time with family the past week, because I won't lie it didn't *fully* feel like Christmas here, with highs around 60 and zero decor around the city of Tel Aviv. I'm so glad the trip was able to happen.
To wrap this thing up: it's 2017, and I'm excited to see what the new year has to bring. People have been sh*tting on 2016 a ton, and I won't lie it won't go down as my favorite year for an array of reasons. But it's in the past, and that's something we don't dwell on. If nothing else, it's only motivated me to make 2017 even better; more positive, healthy, and cognizant of how I'm spending my time and energy.
Have a great weekend my friends. Cheers -