Tel Be'er Sheva, Ein AvdatMay 27, 2015 in Israel ⋅ ☀️ 100 °F
In the heat of the Negev
In the heat of the Negev
Today was all about farewelling the riders & getting them set up for the beginning of their three night trek 'In the Footsteps of the Light Horse'.
Our first stop was to Chauvel's Hill, on the outskirts of town, where we got group photos of all of the tour. We then headed to the Turkish trenches to see where the Turks opposed British Forces in 1917.
Our final stop was at Park Eshkol for a picnic lunch. This was where the riders set up their tents for the night & were introduced to their horses for the first time. Someone got the word out & the media started arriving in droves; it was good to see so many Aussie crews there, including the ABC.
Later this evening a concert was held in the park for visitors & locals alike - it was apparantly well received with the Mayoress giving a resounding welcome speech to the Australian Light Horse (we opted not to attend as we were beat from the big day).Read more
With less than half of the tour group now with us (riders have started their journey), today we started later & explored the Negev Desert & Rift Valley surrounding Beersheba. Our first stop was to visit the final home of Israel's first Prime Minister & essentially the State's Founding Father - David Ben-Gurion. He was a true visionary & leader. He stepped down from office in 1963 & retired from political life in 1970. He then moved to where we visited - Sde Boker, a Kibbutz in the Negev Desert, where he lived until his death. He moved here as he passionately believed that in order for a people to follow a dream they must first see their dreamer (leader) live the reality of it. Posthumously, Ben-Gurion was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Important People of the 20th century. Here are just some of his incredible quotes:
• Courage is a special kind of knowledge: the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared.
• Without moral and intellectual independence, there is no anchor for national independence.
• Anyone who doesn't believe in miracles is not a realist.
• If an expert says it can't be done, get another expert.
In his last Will he instructed that his desert home be preserved as is & left open to the public. It was fascinating to walk through his home; his library, in particular, gave incredible insight to the great man that he was.
Our next stop was a local winery (yep, in the middle of the desert) where we got to sample a few drops & hear about the history of this unusual wine growing region & the techniques used to help it florish.
On the bus again & our next stop was the beautiful En Avdat National Park in the central Negev Desert region. We walked a canyon that the Israelites would likely have wandered through in their 40 years of roaming the desert. Moses' sister Miriam was buried in this region. It was absolutely breathtaking to view & the Nubian Ibex were wandering freely on the cliffs beside us - they are so agile!
A short stop for a Macca's lunch at an ancient Nebatean ruins site at Avdat had us refuelled & ready to take in the final resting place of David Ben-Gurion, at a beautiful oasis park in the desert overlooking the incredible Rift Valley. Ibex were again roaming free & available for plenty of photos. It was a spectacular way to round out another day exploring this beautifully diverse nation.Read more
Today we decided to not go with the planned itinerary & instead chose to explore Beersheba. A group of us went into town via taxi and visited Abraham's Well; Allenby Park; Beersheba War Cemetery & the Turkish Railway.
We had lunch at a Canyon Shopping Mall before the boys headed back to the hotel & us girls continued to hunt around for souvenirs...to no avail 😕.
All in all it was a good day & we were grateful for the slower pace.Read more
Today the riders finished there three night trek in the desert by performing the last leg of their ride on a stretch of land near Tel El Saba - a significant location that the Kiwi's captured in 1917 allowing the Aussies to charge in & take the wells. The media pack was thick on the plain, all vying for the best photo opportunity. The troops did us proud & our band performed brilliantly (as usual) for the large contingent of Kiwis & local school children that joined us for the commemoration.
Our next stop was lunch at a local road house before a quick visit to the riders who were unwinding at Beit Eshel nearby. After a quick "hello" we were on our way again to the Israeli Air Force Museum where we had an incredibly informative afternoon being shown around the airbase by a young Israeli Air Force Cadet. We even had a chat with the founder of the Museum who was also a former pilot & Mayor of Beersheba - very accomplished!
Dinner with the riders back at the hotel rounded out another great day exploring our location. We were off to bed early in preparation for the early start tomorrow - when the official commemorations begin!Read more
Well the big day has finally arrived & we started early. We were on the bus at 6.00am & heading to the local stadium where security checks were undertaken & wrist straps issued. Once cleared, we were moved to the next security checkpoint located near the Beersheba Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery. Here we all underwent individual security checks & were issued our lanyards & goodie bag to commemorate the day before being ushered into reserved seating inside the cemetery in preparation for all of the formalities. The ceremony went off without a hitch & we even got our faces on live TV courtesy of the ABC!
Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu spoke, as did our PM, Malcolm Turnbull & numerous other dignitaries. It was a moving & powerful ceremony.
We moved from this location to the street parade where our riders & their horses took pride of place.
Next we were bused to a local park at Beit Eshel, where we caught up with the riders for lunch before being moved to the area where the charge was going to be re-enacted. After a bit of waiting around, the dignitaries finally arrived and the charge could begin.
There were thousands of people in attendance & security was tight with snipers set up in strategic positions as well as Mossad Agents, Secret Service & all sorts of other agencies being represented. Unfortunately, all of this security & their staff didn't allow for the greatest of views of the charge, however a lovely Israeli Policewoman took my camera & ensured I had plenty of shots from the frontline.
The day concluded with a BBQ dinner for everyone in a local park. We opted out, as we'd had enough excitement for one day & were hanging out for a good sleep before our journey home the next day.Read more
Military Trainig Sites, Mizepa Ramon, Beer Sheva, Bet Guvrim-Maresha
You might also know this place by the following names:
Beersheba, Be’er Scheva, ቤርሳቤ, بئر السبع, Beer-Şeva, Beer Scheva, Беер Шева, Beerxeba, Beerševa, Μπερ Σεβά, Beer Ŝeba, Beerseba, Beer-Sheva, Beer-Xeva, بئرشبع, Bersebá, באר שבע, Beer Ševa, Beér-Seva, Բեեր Շևա, BEV, Bersyeba, Be'er Sheva, ベエルシェバ, ბეერ-შევა, 베르셰바, Beer Sheva, Beer Sjeva, Бершева, Beër Sjeva, Beer Szewa, Beer Șeva, Беэр-Шева, Beėršėva, Биршеба, Beer Sheba, பீர்சேபா, เบียร์ชีบา, Berseba, Beerşeba, Беер-Шева, 贝尔谢巴