We Hit the Beach!

As our trip came to a close we decided to simply relax and visit the beach in the city of Ashkelon with our daughter and granddaughter, about a 45 minute bus ride from our daughter’s apartment in Be’er Sheva.  And what a beach it was!  The silky clean sand and clear, warm turquoise waters of the Mediterranean were magnificent.  Since it was a weekday and school wasn’t out, there were barely any people on the sand.

The beach in Ashkelon

Another view of Ashkelon beach

The turquoise water was very clean and clear

A view of the “separate” same-sex beach (behind the barrier). This is for religious men or women who wouldn’t otherwise go to a public beach and/or swimming for reasons of modesty. Certain days of the week are reserved for women-only, and other days of the week for men-only.

On the boardwalk there is a small public outdoor fitness center with all sorts of fun exercise equipment.  Here my spouse and granddaughter try the elliptical.

On the way back to Be’er Sheva my daughter pointed out the bus stop at the entrance to the beautiful town of Sderot as we drove by.  You may recognize the name:  tens of thousands of rockets/missiles  have been blasted at Sderot from Gaza over the past three years causing structural damage, some deaths, and lots of psychological trauma for its residents.  Now, each bus stop has a bomb shelter that adjoins it.  The shelter was covered with graffiti, including the ironic “Peace In the Middle East!.”

A small bus stop is on the right at the entrance to the town of Sderot, and to the bus stop’s left is the graffiti-covered bomb shelter added when thousands of hostile rockets from Gaza began pounding the town.

Sderot bomb shelter graffiti includes posters requesting funds to feed the poor, guaranteeing the benefactors salvation of their souls; and the ironic scribble, “Peace in the Middle East.”

We returned to Be’er Sheva tired, relaxed, and very tan!  It seemed unbelievable that the very next day we’d be on a plane back to the US.

A view of Shechunat Hey neighborhood in Be’er Sheva

The apartment building in Shechunat Hey in Be’er Sheva where my daughter and her family stayed for the past 3 years while her husband attended medical school there.

A week after Independence Day, Israeli flags are still draped outside my daughter’s apartment complex. It’s hard to imagine that people once lived in Be’er Sheva without air conditioning! Even though random violent crime is rare, burglaries are unfortunately common, so every window has decorative iron bars as a deterrent to theft – and to keep children from falling through the open windows.

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