While everyone was super tired from the crazy spring through training camp, everyone was lively on Wednesday morning, pumped up for a day of spending time together! A great way to see how much fun we had during the first week is to watch this awesome slide show video put together by our resident photographer, Rachel Cerrotti:

After a quick breakfast, the whole staff piled into one coach bus for the trip north to our rafting boat launch! The two hour bus ride was scenic, and took us past sights like a high view of the Sea of Galilee. While I did see some of the views, including the Sea, I made use of the bus ride to sleep and rest some more.

We worked our way quite north, and then unloaded at the Jordan river boat launch where everyone grouped up into “Ultimate” or “Peace” boats. It turns our that lazy-river with some rapids stupe rafting can be quite “active” with lots of splashing, jumping, and other shenanigans. We all had a fantastic time, even those of us who were pulled into the river with no warning :) I do wish I had some pictures of the rafting trip, but we barely managed to get back with most of the very few sandals we brought on the trip, so, bringing cameras we out of the question.

The trip down the river took about 2 hours and by the time we were back on shore, everyone was excited, a bit tired, and quite ready for lunch. A short drive later we all packed into a fantastic restaurant which had a whole table spread of hummus, veggies, and pitas, ready and waiting for us. We obliterated the first round of food, and then had a great time talking while we ate through our second course. After a final round of baklava, and time spent saying goodbye to Jolian, we got back on the bus and drove the short distance to the Galil Mountain Vineyard where we had a great tour. The view from the balcony of the building wad gorgeous and reminded me of Napa. We say the large metal wine tanks, and the wooden aging barrels. We had a lesson on how to taste wine like a pro, but the highlight was definitely the 7 minute Galil promo video that was so… awesome.

The vineyard’s location was also quite interesting, as we could see Lebanon from right outside the building. In fact, on the way out back to Manof, we drove on the road that runs right along the border.

Back at Manof we had a long evening of having fun around campus. We read, played games, relaxed, celebrated Dan’s birthday, and overall had a fantastic time.

This morning I awoke to what sounded like a lively campus and made it downstairs to find… no one. Over at the dining hall I still didn’t find anyone and figured out that most people were still asleep. It turned out everyone was active about 30 minutes later and by 9:15 a bunch of us were headed southbound on the train fo Tel Aviv.

At the station we met up with CITs Ava and Gabe. After dropping off their luggage at Chelsea’s apartment, we met back up with the rest of the group at the Alenby entrance of the Shuk. We walked the crowded market and I picked up a another round of cheese and bread. Yay. We then settled in for lunch at a nearby cafe where we stuffed ourselves with huge salads and some great ice coffee. Ava, Gabe, and I did managed to sneak off for a bit to hit up a localc restaurant. Wonderful. Next, we headed west to the coast where we lounged on the beach for the next 4 hours. It was incredibly relaxing. At around 6pm the group moved east to Rabin square for dinner. I pealed off north to catch the train go the airport to pickup another CIT, Alice. The pickup went smoothly and by 9:45 we made it back to Manof.

The whole place is alive with the sounds of new introductions and reconnections between old friends. It’s an exciting time. Tomorrow orientation and training begins. Summer Camp here we come!

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