1) The first picture in the gallery was taken overlooking the Sea of Galilee in the north of Israel. The view was beautiful and the hike down was even better.
2) On the hike down from the top of a mountain overlooking the Sea of Galilee, we came across some caves! Here, we were able to explore the cave (which wasn't that big) and get to know each other better. The coolest part was not the bats in the caves that squeaked when we entered, but the cow feces. Why is cow feces interesting you ask? Because the walk up to the caves is steep, meaning that the cows which littered mountainside were able to climb up to the caves. But how did they get down?? Cows don't have knees... So did they just roll down? The world may never know.
3) We visited a refugee center for Ethiopians. This center not only gave immigrants a place to stay, but helped integrate them into society.
4) The Western Wall- I've been here before, with my family a few years ago, and it was interesting to see that in a time of chaos, everything in this sacred place remained the same.
5) We ventured into the Negev, the desert in Israel. It was beautiful to watch the sunset over this gorgeous area. The sand glistened and then the stars came out. It was one of the clearest skies I have ever seen and, as a astrophysics major, I spent as much time outside at night as I could.
6 & 7) Netiv HaAsara is located very close to the border of the Gaza Strip. The settlement is surrounded by a giant concrete wall and constantly being patrolled by members of the Israeli Defense Force. Sometimes, the town is struck by missiles (7). Despite the hostility, members of the community decided to paint pictures of peace on the wall facing the Gaza Strip. Visitors are then encouraged to write a wish on the back of a ceramic tile and cement it to the wall.
8) We visited a pepper farm in the south of Israel! It's interesting to see that, despite the desert terrain, Israelis have been able to grow crops successfully. I am not a fan of peppers, but these were really good!
9) The classic 4am hike up Masada. The sunrise was 100% worth the five hours of sleep I received the night before.
10) The Dead Sea! A classic tourist spot for anybody visiting Israel. On the hike down from Masada, I had fallen and scratched up my hands and knees, so the Dead Sea was not a particularly pleasant experience for me. As you can imagine, everything stung. As a piece of advice, I recommend you wear shoes in the Dead Sea. The rocks are extremely sharp and you can't see where they are, due to all the mud. And yes, I did cut myself on a rock and again, it stung.