After putting our bikes together this morning and taking a test ride around the kibbutz, we had the opportunity to tour some areas we won’t ride through later this week. The first of these was a brief tour of the banana farm just across the street from the guest house. Aside from their stellar hotel accommodations, Kibbutz Ein Gev also runs a small agricultural business in the banana industry, serving only domestic (Israeli) clients. Several of our riders took a walk through the fields and learned about banana plants, growth, production, and a bit about the banana industry here in Israel.
We were pleased to be joined by two more of our riders at lunch, David and Orly from New Jersey, and three more at dinner, Mark, Susanna, and Joel. Our team is almost fully assembled, which means our first stretch of riding is fast approaching.
After lunch, many of the riders followed Dr. Joe Freedman, our tour guide/educator and director of Ramah Programs in Israel, on a tiyyul to the ancient city of Gamla (or Gamala) where we learned the story (sippur) of the site’s significance to Josephus and in the Great Revolt of 66 CE. Only a few steps away we found a site uniquely called a “mitzpor” (a combination of the Hebrew words mitzpehfor “lookout” and tzippor for “bird,” a bird lookout famous for its views of the vultures that fill the air.
Most wonderful has been watching the group of riders interact and get to know each other over the last day and a half. The excitement is brewing and spirits are very high. As we will do each night, we took a detailed look at the map of tomorrow’s route (which can be found on our website) with our lead riders and geared up (in all ways) for the big day.
Tomorrow: Katzrin to Merom Golan