December 24, 2013
Today was our first day in the beautiful city of Eilat. Whilst driving towards the start of our hike we came across a huge barbed wired fence, which turned out to actually be the border with Egypt. Overlooking the barrier we could see Egyptian bases and soldiers as well as the Egyptian flag. This fence was only built less than 2 years ago and it’s sole purpose was and is still to prevent the entrance of refugees (many from Sudan) in an illegal way into Israel. What really amazed me personally was that coming into Israel from Egypt many many years right beside where we were driving was once where the 12 tribes and our ancestors had came down into our homeland.
As we continued our journey we soon reached the southern most point of Eilat - the Sinai Peninsula. We got off the buses and began our hike. We were literally surrounded by only the desert. No shops, no ocean, and no bathroom, which was a massive issue for the weak bladdered (i.e. majority of IST). The walk along the trail of the red canyon was often very narrow and difficult to walk through and other times we were standing literally alongside the edge of a cliff. However it was such a lovely hike with absolutely outstanding views and it really opened up our eyes to a very different type of scenery. We then split up into boys and girls and went on the bus, picked up all the sick kids from the hotel and went to pick up a delicious lunch from Burgers Bar.
From lunch we then walked down to the beach and everyone split up into groups and we went paddle boating. We went out into the middle of the crystal clear water. The view was so beautiful, the one side consisted of just modern hotels and buildings and the other side was purely mountains and desert. After we went paddle boating we finally got to go banana boating. Personally this was definitely one of the highlights of the trip as I had so much fun going fast along the ocean and being with my friends. The best part was definitely at the end when we all jumped off the banana boat and into the warm crystal clear water.
Later that night we went to Eilat’s newest and most prestigious new mall, the Ice Mall. This shopping mall was the most unbelievable mall I’ve ever seen. The whole centre is one massive oval and in the very centre there is an ice rink. We all did some shopping, ate dinner at Café Café, watched the professional ice skaters and finally got to go ice skating. Today was definitely one of the best days we’ve had yet.