Cities and transport collapses
On the way to Eilat, by the way, you can stop by for a wine tasting. Yes, yes, you hardly saw Israeli wine on the shelves, but it is there, and worthy – just because of the small volumes of production, almost everyone drinks it inside the country. Moa Winery makes a variety of wines – from the ardent Malbec to the sweet Rosé, offers tastings with a classic set of olives, bread, cheese. And don’t forget from this tasting zaatu – a fantastic flavored green herb condiment.
Whether tasting or delight from the sun, which pursued us invariably from 5.30 to 18.00, but the path even through the desert part of the country looks pleasing to the eye. A chain of mountains separating Israel from Jordan, slender palm forests, closer to the center of the country – Bedouin villages. Villages – again, the name is conditional: just panel barracks, stolen (!) Cars, a lot of children and adults. As the locals say, the state seeks to “ennoble” the nomads, allocates benefits, provides medical care, but they still remain with their way of life.
Eilat itself can hardly be singled out as a special point of our trip. A pleasant, “combed” resort town with funny signs in broken Russian: we visit the Red Sea – and on our way up the country again. We spend several nights in Yavne (not to be confused with the old city of Jaffa) – a small sleeping town about 40 kilometers from Tel Aviv. Considering the distances of Israel, we were sure that the location away from the tourist places would only be on hand. And if the shuk – the market – in Yavne is much more attractive and cheaper than the popular Carmel and Mahneimuda, then the transport here is crazy. Buses and even trains are constantly late, but they can leave a couple of minutes ahead of schedule.
“We got off the first bus, but it was not destined to wait for the second one”
But transfers are just the moment when it is worth talking about the two hours we spent on the track. From Yavne we made our way to Jerusalem, bypassing Shabbat (Friday and Saturday evenings, when traffic is very difficult), but without avoiding surprises. Google maps (which, by the way, are otherwise very reliable in showing routes and timetables) offered us only routes with transfers. We got off the first bus, but it was not destined to wait for the second one.
Discouraged, we began to catch a passing car, but all the passing drivers only honked and laughed at us (while the Internet said that hitchhiking is highly encouraged in the country). After spending about a couple of hours at the bus stop, we finally saw that we were not alone. The young guy also waited for the bus for a long time and explained that they were all just overcrowded, so it was better to go the other way – to the bus station in Ashdod – and there you would definitely take a seat in the transport.
To all our indignations with transport, he simply shrugged his hands: “Well, you can’t predict everything.” By the way, we also couldn’t get to Ashdod by bus, but our friend called a friend and he came for him (and for us) by car. Having made a detour, having lost two hours, but having acquired two useful knowledge about the country – about suitable English and the endless friendliness of the locals – we ended up in Jerusalem.