My Weekend

Hannah VanVels writes:

My weekend was characterized mainly by lack of sleep. Basically, there isn’t too much news to report since my last blog on Wednesday. The most exciting event that has happened since then is the trip to Masada and to the Dead Sea that a large group of us went on. On Friday was also a fun field trip to two other active archaeological sites as part of the education program here at Megiddo. We departed at 6am to Hazor located in Galilee. Since that’s about an hour and a half later than our usual departure time, the time to “sleep in” would have felt nice. Unfortunately, most of us canceled out that extra hour of sleep by spending an extra hour at the pub the night before. The tour of Hazor was quite fascinating, as I found it interesting to see how another archaeological dig was run, since there are discrepancies from site to site. Many obvious things were held in common such as buckets of dirt everywhere and the necessity of a good shaded area to protect from the hot sun while digging. We then visited another archaeological site near Tiberius in Galilee. This one was very different from Megiddo in some aspects, especially since they were just starting off in their digging so it was much less established than Megiddo and much smaller as well. After a tour of the two areas being excavated, we spent the rest of the afternoon in Tiberius. A group of about 10 or so of us went off in search of some shawarma for lunch, which was delicious. Then we went off to the beach at the Sea of Galilee. It wasn’t the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan, which is what I’m used to. It was quite rocky, but the water was gorgeous. We didn’t get to swim, since none of us had our swimsuits or anything, but we did wade in to snag a few photos of us in the Sea of Galilee.

Saturday was another early morning. We left the kibbutz for Masada and the Dead Sea at 5am. Most of us were completely exhausted from another late night at the pub watching the World Cup, but we slept on the 3-hour drive there. The area around Masada was how I expected all of Israel to be: very sandy and desolate. However, there were lots of cliffs, which were very beautiful. I took a ton of pictures just of the landscape. It was really neat to tour Masada, especially if you are familiar with the story. I wasn’t familiar with the story until last semester or so actually when I had a class that we studied Masada a little bit in. Most of us took a cable car to the top, but some of us hiked up the snake path to the top. We also visited the museum at Masada.

After Masada, it was onwards to the Dead Sea. After hearing so many stories of how much the salt stings scratches and then looking down at my legs and realizing they are covered in scratches, I was slightly concerned with how badly it would hurt. It was mostly fine. It was awesome to float around in the Dead Sea and pretty much impossible to swim anywhere. We had so much fun just floating around. We also were able to find some of the famous Dead Sea mud and slather mud all over ourselves on the beach. The mud had a great softening effect on my skin, which was amazing after two long weeks of digging.

After an incredible weekend, today we went back to digging. It’s the last week for the 3-weekers, so it’s a little bittersweet. I am going to miss my new friends so much when they have to leave to fly back home, but at the same time, I am also really excited for the 4-weekers to get here!

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