Sunday 12 February 2012
Israel & Jordan - Day 1
Thursday night, I had just managed to leave work at a fairly reasonable hour, and walked outside to discover, to my intense dismay, that it was snowing. Big, fluffy, I'm-going-to ruin-your-vacation snow. Our flight was scheduled for first thing out on Friday morning and if there's one thing that London airports do not cope well with, it's snow.
So Stephen and I grabbed a hotel room out by the airport (for the same price it would have cost for us to get a cab the next morning) to ensure that if our flight was going to leave on time, we would be on it.
Rising crazy early on Friday morning, we got to the airport, checked in and through security in pretty good time. We even managed to meet up with another pair of friends for breakfast as they were off on their epic adventure to Japan. (I envision a great swapping of tales with them once we both get back.) Then off to the gate to await our flight with bated breath.
In the end our flight only left about 40 minutes late, and was pretty uneventful all told. Immigration and Customs were a snap and, once through, there was Branson, waiting for us, right outside the security zone. From there we picked up the rental car and drove South to Eilat.
The roads, I must say, are in really good condition and clearly signed in English, Hebrew & Arabic. Although it was dark, we got hints of some stunning scenery. Fortunately, we'll be heading back to this region in a few days for some hiking, so we didn't feel we miss out on too much passing through in the dark. There were also many amusing signs such as: "Warning, camels near road" and "Beware of tanks and dust clouds". We didn't get a chance to take pictures (it being very dark and no where to stop), so another to do for the way back. It's the little things sometimes that remind you how far you are from home.
But we arrived in Eilat around 9:30pm, checked into the hotel (Hotel Blue). We probably should have turned in, but, being restless from our long confinement, we took a bit of a wander around the sea front to stretch our legs and to see what passed for nightlife in an Israeli seaside town. The answer: not much. But then again it is deep off season so it's probably not the best way to judge.
Then it was definitely back to the hotel for a relatively early night, because the next day would also be an early one.