The next morning we drove back to the West Bank to visit the ruins of Herodium, a fortress on top of a man made hill built by King Herod the Great.
The best part of this place were the series of caves to explore, making me feel like (even more of a) child.
On the way back to Jerusalem, we stopped by the Israel Museum, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls and a miniature model of the Old City of Jerusalem.
That evening, we made our way to Flam winery.
Israel has over 200 wineries and apparently they don’t taste like crap anymore. Most of the wine we drank was pretty tasty. And if Jesus was drinking it way back in the day, I’m sure a few things were perfected by now.
We enjoyed an absolute feast that night after our tasting, probably my favorite food on the trip besides that very first chicken schwarma which I could kick myself for not photographing.
The following morning, we visited Netafim, a once small Kibbutz started in 1965 turned global company) who revolutionized the irrigation industry, especially for water starved countries.
Basically, they invented drip irrigation for crops. Instead of wasteful sprays, farmers can use a fraction of the water and only water the roots instead of spraying into the air to be evaporated or misdirected.
We made our way to the Ramon Crater and checked into our gorgeous hotel , overlooking the Grand Canyon like natural wonder.
I wasn’t feeling well, so I ditched out early from dinner after sufficiently infecting everyone in a half table radius.
The next morning we jeeped around a bit in time to watch the sun rise and then enjoyed another posh Israeli breakfast of about 1000 dishes to choose from. I was still feeling awful so I just had some toast.
I totally forgot to mention something!
This is my 5th day with a fever and sore throat! I tried to keep it a secret and just overdose on Advil but eventually nothing seemed to work and it all became too much!
The fever started on my nightmarish, middle-seat hell ride from JFK to Tel Aviv. I’ll never forgive the powers that be for that.
That afternoon we made our way to Masada, the famous mountaintop fortress located on the edge of the Judean Desert known for the mass Jewish suicide to escape Roman capture. Pretty dramatic stuff. Look it up, I’m not a history teacher.
The views of the Dead Sea were pretty breathtaking. Too bad I was busy sneezing and coughing and bumming Sudafed from people like a crack addict.
The highlight of Masada (which we had to take a harrowing cable car ride to reach) was the Chicken Schnitzel we ate afterwards (pictured at the very top).
Who knew cafeteria food could be so great?! (Plus, McDonald’s was charging 50 Shekels (about 12 bucks) for a meal! Too much money for a cheeseless burger!