I canít believe itís already technically Day 5 of the trip! We got to enjoy our last breakfast at the Nof Ginosar Kibbutz at the tender time of 8 a.m., which if you didnít know, is considered ďsleeping inĒ for us nowadays. After checking out of our first home in Israel, we headed to the Kinneret Cemetery, where we learned about the heroes buried here and took in the beautiful views of the Sea of Galilee (and also got to absorb tour-guide-Philís extensive knowledge of absolutely everything).
Though lunch time is usually the one meal of the day that we spend off on our own, our spectacular and extremely generous bus driver prepared us a delicious barbeque! We spent most of our lunch relaxing and over-looking Israelís valleys, which is an image I wish I was able to portray through this blog. I really cannot speak enough about the gorgeous views we get to experience from the higher regions of Israel. Pictures donít even do the scenery justice!
The next part of our day was my personal favorite. We took a long drive through the West Bank, which is a region unlike anything we have seen thus far. The only scenery we have been surrounded by in the last few days were green grass, mountains and seemingly endless rows of orange trees. The West Bank, however, showed a completely different way of life. The area was extremely dry, and instead of hills covered in green grass, there were mountains of sand and dust. Living communities were spread far apart, and their ways of life were so clearly different than the cities we had visited before. It was eye-opening for me, because I always thought that scenes like this were only for movies. I never imagined that Israelís land could change so drastically from only driving one hour farther south, but Iím glad we got to see it.
After finally arriving in Jerusalem, we united at Mount Scopus with other universities to have our Shehechiyanu Ceremony, which celebrated our first time in the holy city. The ceremony consisted of a few speeches from our peers (including an especially touching one from Binghamtonís very own Ben Zwierzchowski). We finished our celebration with tons of music and dancing, and surprisingly witnessed some fancy dance moves from our (extremely handsome) Israeli guard! Everyone agreed that the ceremony was really fun, and we all left feeling good about being in Jerusalem. We are also all very excited to incorporate our 8 new Israeli soldiers into our Binghamton family tomorrow!