Thursday, June 30, 2011

Israel, Day #9? Yup.

Day 9. 
We slept in.  At least it felt like it.  Last night the dogs slept on the porch protecting us and barking that they were still there throughout the night.  We slept in until 8 (the same time we have been getting us these last few days) and lounged around.  The goat farm people brought us the tools to make breakfast and we started getting ready.  We waited for Arthur (whose alarm did not go off on time) and then I made scrambled eggs with cheese and salami left over from last night.  Yum.  Then we were off. 
First stop was in Avdat.  It was a city with a few villas during the ... it’s not Napoleon, but something else that started with an N and from the same time period as Petra.  I'll find out later.  Napatean, maybe, something like that.  Must be.  I'll go with that and maybe I will look it up later, maybe not.  Anyway.  They built their city on a mountain (like they do) and hid their water source so that if they were attacked the opposing army would die out because it was in the desert.  Friendly folk.  The Romans eventually conquered them as history goes.  The Romans then built a huge fort.  The Napatean stuff was stronger than the Roman and survived better.  More of their structures were more intact than the Roman.  The Napatean's also carved their houses into the mountain and into the rock so it was cooler in the summer (like now) and then warmer in the winter, from the warmth of the Earth.
For lunch we had more leftover food from dinner and breakfast.  We ate at a gas station on the side of the ride towards Tel Aviv. 
The last stop, before the hotel, was Machon Ayalon.  Here is the full story.  There was a kibbutz at the site that was used to train people how to start their own kibbutzim and understand agriculture.  So people transitioned through it on a regular basis.  A very important guy brought over unused ammunition equipment in 1938 from Poland, right before WWII started.  Then in 1945, right after WWII ended they set up shop to start manufacturing 9mm bullets underneath the kibbutz and right underneath the noses of the British.  So every morning 45 workers climbed into the basement underneath the laundry and made a ton of noise.  So to keep the excuse for laundry going, they had a laundry service that was based in the city; they even washed the British uniforms, sometimes with intelligence still in their pockets.  Real smart.  Since people transitioned out of the kibbutz every month or so, no one was there long enough to get wise and understand what was happening.  They made over 4 million bullets over the next 3 years.  It was a completely secret operation, not even the government knew they were doing it or where.  It was the difference between winning the Independence War (which they obviously did) and not.  After they declared independence, the machines were brought up from underground and taken to Tel Aviv to continue, but no longer a secret.  It was wonderful.

We arrived back in Tel Aviv tonight and checked in.  Duh.  Then we went swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.  Matt was happy.  Then it was goodbye to Arthur. :(  Our rooms were upgraded, we didn't do it, and so we had access to the lounge and had snacks there, which ruined our dinner.  We walked down the beach towards Old Yafo (Jaffa) and wandered around.  Still not hungry we came back to the hotel.  Unfortunately, this brought us to the end of this trip.  We packed our suitcases - one for Rome and one going home with my parents.  And said our goodnights and goodbyes. 

Tomorrow we are sleeping in (until 9!!!!) and then having breakfast and going to the airport.  Then we are flying to ROMA!!!!!

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