I like it EI-LAT

I am funny, admit it!! Anyways, this past weekend I headed down to Eilat with a group of my friends for some fun in the sun and relaxation before school starts up again. Below are some reflections from the road on the way down and then a quick run through of the trip. I cant’ think of a better way to spend my vacation than relaxing, getting some much needed sunshine and making new friends!
On the bus, parks of Godliness reflect from the sky through the clouds to the water. ON the bus from Jerusalem to Eilat, and while Jerusalem is the “holy city” i seem to continually find myself engulfed in holy moments, in wonders of creation more and more as I leave Jerusalem. The beauty of the landscape of the country mesmerizes me, brings me closer to God, fills the void I have been feeling lately.

FRIDAY: We arrived at the central bus station at a quarter to 7am in order to make our bu on time. The bus ride was uneventful, i slept, talked, watched the beautiful scenery roll by and relaxed. We arrived in Eilat just before noon, checked in to the hotel and headed straight out for a walk in the sunshine to the promenade. We walked around, felt the water and ate a filling lunch. The best part was feeling the warmth of the sunshine on my face, it had been too long since my last days in the sun. I never realized how much living in LA had made me used to constant sunshine until now. I will now for sure not go so long without a dose of sunshine if I can help it! After lunch we headed back to the hotel, put on our bathing suits and sat out by the pool until it was time to get ready for Shabbat. I had decided to daven alone on our balcony looking out at the pool and the sunset. I had just finished Mincha when the rest of the group came back because the minyan at the hotel was not only orthodox, but there was not even a women’s section. So, we all gathered on our balcony and davenede together. 5 women, 2 men, davening, singing and smiling together. We looked out and women and children on other balconies joined in with us, watched and enjoyed. It was a powerful feeling to be bringing in Shabbat in such a peaceful and spiritual way. This was exactly what i needed. We finished up our davening and headed in to the dinner. All you could eat and meat and chicken and fish and lots of salads and dessert, I was in heaven. Following dinner we all piled into my room, 5 of us girls on one bed, what fun!! I fell asleep somewhere between 10 and 11.

SATURDAY, YOM MENUCHA: We all woke up at our own times and davened on our own. I woke up around 8:30, put on m bathing suit and shorts and went out on the balcony to pray. I took in the sights, sounds and smells of the beautiful port. It was refreshing and relaxing and peaceful, and everything I was missing, everything I needed and more. Following davening i headed down to the the all you can eat breakfast which was complete with chocolate yogurt and cake! YUMMY!! After a relaxing breakfast we headed out to the pool where we sat in the sun, read, and swam until a delicious lunch. Following lunch we packed up our beach bags and headed to sit out on the beach at the sea. I laid there, taking in the salty air, the sound of the waves rushing in to the shore and back out. I truly was in a fantastic place, a warm, peaceful place. I found my center, enjoyed the company of those around me and enjoyed the natural beauty at my every vantage point. After we got chilly we headed back to the Hotel for Ma’ariv, showers, a quick glass of wine and then off to dinner. We had dinner at a fantastic, fancy steakhouse in Eilat. Once we were satisfied and stuffed, we all headed back to the hotel for an early night because we were leaving at 6:30am for Petra on Sunday!

SUNDAY: See the next entry on PETRA-fication!

MONDAY: Our lat day was probably as relaxing as shabbat. 2 of the group members woke up early and headed back to Jerusalem on the first bus. The rest of us slept in a bit, had a lazy breakfast again at the all you can eat buffet, and then sat out by the pool until it was time to check out. Following checkout we headed to the marina where we would board our glass-bottomed boat for our ride and viewing of the coral reefs. The boat ride was relaxing, warm and the perfect end to a perfect weekend. We sat back and took in the freh sea breeze, the sights of the Israeli cost line and the Jordanian cost. We passed the dolphin cove, and saw breathtaking fish in the reef. It was perfection in the sun. After the boat ride we headed back to the hotel, grabbed our bags and headed, a bit hesitantly back to the bus station to catch our bus home.

As I sat on the bus, thinking, watching the day shift to night, the moon rise and venus appear, i felt relieved, relaxed and ready to come back to Jerusalem. As frustrating and challenging as it is to be living in Jerusalem, I missed it. I did have a longing in my heart for Jerusalem, my apartment, the streets I know, the familiarity of my city. And there you have it, I liked it, EI-LAT, and I needed it!! I am at peace now, relaxed and rejuvenated. Mostly, I am smiling, sun-kissed and happy!! LOVE!

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