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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Eilat -- Day 1 -- The Underwater Observatory

In theory, we planned to go to Eilat on Sunday morning.

In practice, we arrived in Eilat after 8:00 pm, Sunday night.

We checked into the hotel, and were thrilled to discover that breakfast is served until 11:00! So, Monday morning, we slept in!

The plan was to take it slow and easy the first day.

I figured it would be perfect to visit the Underwater Observatory. In addition to everything else, we could reacquaint ourselves with the magical underwater world, and its various life forms. My friend did not really need the review, but I sure did!

What a great way to start off the trip.

After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, we packed some extra fruits and pastries, and went on our way.

Like Eilat in general, the Underwater Observatory was far more developed than the last time I was there, 24 years ago!

In addition to the underwater observatory, there were numerous, wonderful exhibits above ground, and an expansive play area, with creative sea creatures on which to climb, swing, slide and take your picture!

As soon as you enter the park, you can observe life underwater, without even going below sea level. There is a beautiful Red Sea Reef Aquarium, that is cool and peaceful.

Then there is the dark, and mystical, shark pool. During our visit, in addition to several sleek sharks, and two majestic stingrays, there was a diver in the pool... vacuuming.... underwater debris. It was somewhat surrealistic.

Next, we watched as a slow, but determined sea turtle, struggled to enter the sea turtle pool. As graceful as these enormous, long living turtles are underwater, they are cumbersome on land. As the turtle flopped into the pool, we were amused by its clumsy entrance into the water.

Then we went to the oceanarium, for a show about life under the sea. It was a simulator ride. Despite not having received a clear answer from my doctor, I knew the ride would be fine, and I did not want to miss out. My friend, who is a stickler for rules, was a bit nervous (she would have preferred to sit in the chairs that do not move). But I was determined, and I am not sorry. The movie was a bit corny, but the ride was fun!

Afterwards, we went on a glass bottomed boat ride. We sat at the front of the boat, right next to the guide, so we heard all sorts of extra tidbits, and were able to ask several questions.

From there we went to the underwater museum, which was just magical.

Both my friend and I were starting to get tired.

We went through the special exhibit about the Amazon forest, but then my friend had enough.

I did not want to miss anything! I went, by myself, into the rare fish exhibit. It was so cool! I really wanted to show my friend all the amazing things and, in the end, I did convince her to look at some of the more spectacular exhibits. At the end were the luminescent corals I remembered from my visit, so many years earlier.

The visit was really spectacular!

We left the park, exhausted but exhilarated.

We went back to the hotel, ate a light supper, and relaxed in the Spa, under an outdoor waterfall, surrounded by greenery. We were the only ones there and it felt like we were in our own private little world.

I sat under the hot water, and let it pound out the tension in my back and neck. The contrast, of the cool night air and the hot water pouring down over my head, was peaceful and heavenly.

I could have stayed there forever.



Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,
RivkA

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know you're not a morning person, and I'm pretty sure I came to visit your blog before I went to sleep (around midnight) so I can't even imagine how late you were up blogging. It's so much fun enjoying vicariously all the great places you go to.

Klara
(p.s. I actually opened a blog, treesandforests - but I seem to have forgotten my password :<( ) so I shall remain anonymous til I figure out this technological block)

Klara said...

Rivka,

I think I'm no longer anonymous!!!! Yeah. But I need your help in figuring out this blog stuff - can I come over?? Tomorrow??!!! it's exciting

Anonymous said...

Rivka- thanks for the wonderful description of the observatory and the trip in general. Eilat is so beautiful, but I haven't been there in a while. Thanks to you, I can get the feel!
Waiting to hear more,
Love,
Ellen L.

Lena said...

I loved the underwater observatory when I was last there, too (I used it to sneak away from friends who were driving me nuts).

Eilat is so much better off-season, though, isn't it? :)

Rahel said...

What a great description, RivkA! I'm so glad you had a good time. That waterfall sounds delicious!

muse said...

Sounds great. I've never been there. Yes, 38 years since aliyah, plus being a student for a bit, and I've never been to Eilat.

A Soldier's Mother said...

My husband and I go to Eilat off season every few years. It's a great chance to get away without a passport. I'm sometimes amazed at how "away" it is, how sheltered from the reality of Israel. If I lived there, it would drive me crazy to be so far from daily life (and pressures), but as a way to release the pressure, it's great and I love seeing the world under the water, a reminder of the amazing things God has created and shared with us. I'm glad you had the time to enjoy, relax. My favorite part of Eilat is breaking with routine. I sleep when I want to sleep; eat when I want to eat and do nothing too strenuous. Eilat is completely about living in the moment - enjoy every minute of it!!!

Paula