A few locations that I stopped by or simply passed through on my recent tour of Israel did not result in a sufficient photographic output to merit separate blog entries. Nor could they be logically combined with other locations that I covered in a dozen-plus prior posts. This catch-all entry, thus, is a collection of visuals from such places.
In hindsight, I probably should have had more pictures from Yad Vashem, the most comprehensive and yet dispassionate of the Holocaust memorials anywhere. It sits on a beautiful and serene campus on a mountain slope, with a number of outdoors monuments in addition to its wide-ranging museum display. No photography is allowed inside the museum, but there are no restrictions for taking pictures on campus. It must be the somber nature of the place that affected how infrequently I pulled the camera up to the eye level while in Yad Vashem.
A few fragments, nonetheless. The bridge to the main history museum, which sort of protrudes from the mountainside.
The Warsaw Ghetto Wall of Remembrance.
The doors of the Hall of Remembrance dedicated to the memory of the martyred dead.
Inside the Hall of Remembrance, the names of 22 of the Nazi murder sites.
The Hall of Names, displaying a small fraction of faces of the victims of the Holocaust along with Pages of Testimony, part of the ongoing effort to collect as many names as possible before it is too late.
And one of the most chilling monuments on campus, the Children’s Memorial, set in a dark cave where the names of some of the 1.5 million of Jewish children that had perished in Holocaust are constantly spoken in the background.
Yad Vashem is an unmissable place for any first-time visitor to Israel.
Rather less unmissable is the Abbell Synagogue of the Ein Karem University Hospital, which is located less than 10 minutes away by car from Yad Vashem. Getting to see it is not a trivial task, involving asking for help from the Info desk in the hospital main hall, and paying admission at the Heritage Center on the premises before being escorted to the synagogue proper. But if you are a lover of the art of Marc Chagall, the payoff can be significant. Chagall painted 12 windows around the perimeter of the temple as his expressed gift to the Jewish people. Each pane represents one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Back to unmissable for most – the Dead Sea. I took a dip on a public beach in Ein Bokek and was less than impressed – there is something about the lack of control over positioning of your own body that does not exactly agree with me. But the views of the sea from different viewpoints are certainly amazing.
Another breathtaking natural phenomena in Israel is makhteshim, crater-like valleys created by land erosion that are only found in the Negev desert and on the Sinai Peninsula. The biggest of them is Makhtesh Ramon, where I stopped for half an hour while driving to Eilat.
There are people who lounge on the terraces of the spa with views over makhtesh and there are people who walk along the Negev Trail that runs on the edge of the crater.
You can’t really see their facial expressions from here, but I have a feeling that the former must be grossly annoyed by the latter.
A few perspectives of the “somewhere in Negev” variety.
And the incredible sight of the Ashalim Power Station to the south of the city of Be’er Sheva.
The station only came into operation in September of 2019, about two months before my visit to the country. Its tower is the tallest solar tower in the world, at the height of 260 meters. As you drive southward on route 40, you start seeing the reflection of its mirror from miles and miles away and you wonder what it is. But even upon coming closer, the purpose of the building may not become obvious to you if you haven’t seen its like before. I was mildly concerned that I was taking picture of a strategic military object – and only found out what it was through the task of geo-tagging my pictures upon returning home.
In addition to swimming in the Mediterranean while in Tel Aviv and taking a dip in the Dead Sea at Ein Bokek, I took a bit of time to unwind by the Red Sea on a beach outside Eilat. Afterwards, I had a couple of hours for a stroll along Eilat waterfront promenade.
As the sun was setting, I drove towards the Jordanian border for the next part of my overall trip.