The Trip of the Sunrises. Israel, Wadi Arugot

Wadi Arugot, or what to do in Israel when you have less than 24 hours till your flight back

Who would have ever imagined that in less that 24 hours I was able to do so many things in Israel? Definitely not me. Especially because when I woke up that morning around 6 AM I was still in Eilat and by 9 PM I was supposed to be back to Tel Aviv to catch my flight.

The initial plan was that on the way back to Tel Aviv to visit the ruins of Avdat Fortress which caught my eye when I was heading to Mitzpe Ramon. On the other side, somehow I was not that keen on going there. The wadies around the Dead Sea were still lighting up my imagination. I knew that there were more wadies/ nahals worth exploring than Wadi Dragot and Wadi David and especially Wadi Arugot was lingering in my mind. So, I had to return to the Dead Sea, I just had to explore Wadi Arugot also.

The Trip of the Sunrises. Israel, Wadi Arugot

The Trip of the Sunrises. Israel, En Gedi, Wadi David

The fascinating world of En Gedi Nature Reserve, Wadi David

My beloved is unto me a cluster of henna blossoms From the vineyards of En Gedi“ Song of Songs

6 AM and I was staying in front of my hut at Metzoke Dragot Hostel watching how the haze above the Dead Sea was starting to glow when the sun was rising from behind the Moab Mountains in Jordan.

It was the beginning of a new day and while the sun was becoming more bright I was thinking how interesting the path of my life was until that moment. Probably it was one of those moments in which I was trying to find an answer to “the meaning of life “ question. Considering where I was there was nothing strange about it, for millennia people were coming here in search of themselves and to find answers.

The Sunrise on the Dead Sea Shores, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
The Sunrise on the Dead Sea Shores, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
Metzoke Dragot Hostel, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
Metzoke Dragot Hostel, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu

The plan for that day was to see En Gedi. Since again, I haven`t done my homework I had no idea what was I going to find. I can’t say I felt sorry for not doing it, the pleasure of discovery was more intense this way. I know it is a bit unorthodox, but is my way of travelling, so, I like it this way.

The Dead Sea from En Gedi Nature Park, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
The Dead Sea from En Gedi Nature Park, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
En Gedi Nature Park, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
En Gedi Nature Park, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu

En Gedi lies at the edge of the Judean Desert on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. Two Valleys/Wadies are crossing this area, Wadi David and Wadi Arugot. That day I was exploring Wadi David named after King David which at the year 1000 BCE came here to find refuge from the wrath of King Saul. But according to the ruins of the temple from the Bronze Age, this wadi was inhabited since 5000 years ago.

Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felcia Catalinoiu
Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felcia Catalinoiu
Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu

The altitude starts at +200 meters and goes to -400m, the difference in elevation makes the landscape quite spectacular and the walls very steep. Wadi David was carved by the flowing waters of David`s Spring but also from the rain waters which are gathered from the plateau and are running down towards the sea when it rains. This enabled the formation of natural pools on its way.

Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felcia Catalinoiu
Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu

 

There is a network of trails, some easier and some more difficult but I took the trail that took me to David`s Waterfall and then to Dodim Cave.

The moment I arrived I was amazed. The lush vegetation along the stream in that arid zone, the large varieties of birds and small animals and the clear water that was falling down the walls covered by green moss and ferns. It looked like a fairytale and I knew then that the fascination of the desert is always based on something.

David`s Waterfall, Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felcia Catalinoiu
David`s Waterfall, Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu

 

The Waterfalls of Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felcia Catalinoiu
The Waterfalls of Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu

After David`s Waterfall, I followed the trail which took me to Dodim Cave. From place to place natural pools were displaying their cooling waters. The heat was overwhelming and those pools were what I need it. Word of advice, keep your swimsuit close to you because definitely, you are going to need it.

The natural pools of Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felcia Catalinoiu
The natural pools of Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu

From David`s Fall to Dodim Cave the trail it is a bit more difficult but is so rewarding. When bathing at Dodim Cave you can forget all the tiredness.

While I was bathing in the clear cool water and looking at the small waterfall that was filling the pool I was thinking that the legends with nymphae probably were born in places like this.

udim Cave, Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
Dodim Cave, Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
udim Cave, Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
Dodim Cave, Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu

There, nature was choosing to embrace me the traveller with its cool fresh waters and to let me hide behind the fern walls. The stones were covered with green moss so I will not hurt myself when my head was resting on it. I wanted the moment to last until the last memory of my life would be forever erased from my mind.

Dudim Cave, Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
Dodim Cave, Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
The natural pools of Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felcia Catalinoiu
The natural pools of Wadi David, En Gedi, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu

That day I learned that the En Gedi is not always what it seems and it might seem so inhospitable, but the moment you get to know it, a magnificent world reveals to you. That moment you find yourself there it is so hard to say goodbye.

I left the wadi but I could still hear the gigglish sound of the water falling, I was happy and still wet with a black scarf around my body.  For few hours  I was immersed into another world, a world that is still there now..in my memories…

En Gedi Spring, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu
En Gedi Spring, Israel, by Mirela Felicia Catalinoiu

The Trip of the Sunrises. Israel, Wadi Dragot

Wadi Dragot, probably the most challenging and spectacular canyon in the Judean Desert

Away from a bustling and never sleeping Tel Aviv and from the prayers rising to the sky from the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, deep in the Judean Desert, winding its way towards The Dead Sea, lies the most scenic and challenging canyon in Israel, Wadi Dragot or Wadi Darga. Nature was particularly generous with the deserts of Israel because for millennia was continuously carving deep hidden valleys, where rapid waterfalls were creating natural pools and high dry falls. Life was thriving in those places and even now a very rich flora and fauna can be found despite the dryness around.  Amazingly, this magnificent place is lesser known to travellers since most of Israel tourism is a religious one and not too many dare to search thoroughly the desert. Although lesser known to the foreign tourist seems to be popular among Israelis in search for some adrenaline rush because this particular trail is difficult and spectacular at the same time. I can’t say I knew about it either, but somehow, the choices I made during this trip took me right in the vicinity of this astonishing place.

The Trip of the Sunrises. Israel, Wadi Dragot

Cyprus-The mirroring sunsets of Aphrodite

Sea, Sun, Sand, and Aphrodite

Cyprus….I am looking at my computer screen and when I say Cyprus the first image I have in my mind is the spectacular sunset I saw the moment I arrived at my hotel….

It is a proven fact that the best time to visit a place it is always offseason, and the trip I had in Cyprus has proven to me once again that there is no greater pleasure then enjoying the empty beaches by myself, or places which normally would be filled  up with tourists.  I came to the island with no expectations, but happy to have the closeness of the sea and some sun, and for me, this was enough. I wanted to see the sunsets so I chose the West side of the island, and also I knew that there I can find the birthplace of Aphrodite. Although she is not my favorite goddess I still wanted to walk on her paths and see for myself what is that she found so attractive about this island. Cyprus-The mirroring sunsets of Aphrodite