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  • Day22

    Israel

    October 28, 2017 in Israel ⋅ 🌙 21 °C

    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.
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