A slightly more relaxed day for me today – not every course does the sites in the same order and I had already covered a good chunk of today’s itinerary with my own group, meaning I could relax a little more than on the previous days of the campus.
First things first though, and we reluctantly took our leave from the Ramon Crater, enjoying the final views before it was time to head north and continue our journey.
Our first stop of the day was at the ancient Nabbatean city of Ovdat. I had been there previously with my course but had not had time to visit the nearby Bor Chavarim, a Nabbatean cistern. These wily desert travelers were careful about hiding their water sources so that only they could navigate the arid landscape.
We then moved north to Ein Avdat. Located near Kibbutz Sde Boker, this series of three desert springs provides a remarkable oasis in the middle of the Negev desert. We hiked up the valley through which the water flows, enjoying the beautiful scenery and the freshness of the water, while learning about the geological formations before us.
On completing the hike, we ascended to the kibbutz and visited the grave of the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion. He always emphasised the importance of settling the Negev desert, and of making it bloom. To this end, he moved to Sde Boker on his retirement and requested to be buried there, next to his wife Paula.
The grave / memorial site has a stunning view over the Zin valley. The Israeli deserts already bloom considerably more than most and hopefully one day they will bloom in their entirety thanks to the ingenuity of Israeli engineering, thereby realising Ben-Gurion’s vision.
With this, there was time for a brief stop at Mamshit before heading back home to Tel Aviv. With all the campuses now complete it is time for the final strait as we head up to the exams!