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The Second Coming: Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Territories
Via Poland and Gemany

Summer 2008

Israel: Negev Road and Mitzpe Ramon

Well, you know I don’t often rent cars, I prefer to get around by public transportation. But as we were five people travelling and wanting to go to remote places, renting a car was the easiest and cheapest way.
I’ll even say that my best advice if you go for a few days to Israel, is renting a car.

So we hit the road again but this time with our own transport.
We drove through the Negev Desert and its wonderful landscapes.
Something really amazing was the number of palm groves we saw around. These folks are almost making the desert flourish! But I wonder how much water they use to get these results.

When approaching Mitzpe Ramon, the town beside the Ramon Crater, we saw a few Ibexes (a kind of goat-antelope) crossing the road!
In some parts of the road you see a sign that tells you there might be firing guns on both sides… And you see the Israeli Army tanks, as well as soldiers, Hercules and Kafir planes and other kinds of military stuff. There is a training facility for the army but, believe me, you might get scared when passing through.

One of the highlights of the road is when we started to cross the Makhtesh Ramon Carter.
The crater is 40 kilometers long, up to 10 kilometers wide and 500 meters deep, in other words, that’s Israel’s Grand Canyon. It’s a beautiful and impressive place.

We stopped for lunch and for the first time in a few days we thought that food was expensive.
Then we went to a supermarket to buy a few things for the road and that’s when we began to realize that Israel was no budget destination…
Last time I was here I didn’t had that impression: I slept at Jakeline and Igal’s place, we only went twice to eat out and moved on Denisse’s car. I didn’t spend much money so I didn’t realize that it was such an expensive country.

Well, it is. And it’s not like in Egypt where you have the local’s and the tourist price (OK, some places in Israel can be like this, but this is not a general rule). No, prices are fixed and the same for everyone.
But let’s be fair: trains, sheruts and buses are very cheap.
Actually the main problems for a traveller would be food (OK, it depends on where you eat, but even fast foods can be expensive) and accommodation.

Transportation is cheap except… when you’re driving a car, because petrol is really expensive!
After a quick tour to Mitzpe Ramon we headed towards Tel Aviv to meet Ricardo and Irene, passing the town of Kyat Sharmona.

Well, what can I say, he first impression you have of Tel Aviv can hardly be good if you’re coming from a hospitable country such as Egypt or Jordan. I’ll tell you about Tel Aviv later.
We found our friends, made the check-in at the Tel Aviv Sky hostel, and got ready for the wedding.
We drove to Ashdod and had a very nice party, with some people we hadn’t seen in a few years!
We didn’t visit the city of Ashdod so sorry, no pictures.
After the party we went back to Tel Aviv.
On the next morning we woke up late and then we headed to Jerusalem, where we slept one night, and then continued on to The Galilee.