Wednesday morning was not the best weather day unless you like the desert storms. But, that didn’t stop our group! We had a great activity planned for the day – visiting a winery! After our sumptuous breakfast at the Hod Hotel we boarded the bus for the climb up to Arad and the Yatir Winery. This is a boutique winery that has won serveral international awards. The vineyards lie in JNF Yatir Forest, Israel’s largest planted forest – another JNF connection! Imagine grapes growing in one of the hottest regions in Israel, with little rain and located near a 2500 year old archeology site? We toured the vat room with Eti and the ‘mashgiach’ who closely supervised the vats, machinery and us! In a small room we sampled several of the wines and enjoyed the experience! In the afternoon some of us relaxed in the indoor salt water pools and spa treatments.
Thursday was our departure day from the Dead Sea – the weather was a little cloudy, but by the time we reached Masada the sun was shining and temperatures warming. Perfect day for touring this site. Many of us have toured this before, but today Neil, our guide, gave us a terrific tour and perspective on this spectacular World Heritage Site. We saw the magnificent mosaics in Herod’s Western Palace (which had previously been under construction), viewed the Northern Palace, cisterns and of course, the synagogue. It was a super tour – not rushed, not hot, just right!
In late afternoon we arrived in Jerusalem- our home for the next week!