Every once in a while, it's good to get away and this Thursday found Mrs. G and myself heading out of Jerusalem, hanging a right at the Dead Sea and going (pretty much) "Yashar, yashar, ad hasof" til we hit the bright lights of Israel's southerly city, Eilat.
The occasion was a special one; our first anniversary and we'd chosen to spend a few days away from it all - just the two of us with no mobile phones going off, no cooking for Shabbat, no need to stand on ceremony for friends and family; just a decent hotel (the Dan Panorama booked very efficiently through Zion Tours), a couple of decent books and plenty of good food, long walks and most importantly, sleep.
Eilat is a short jog over 300 kilometres from Jerusalem and despite the poor lighting and only one lane in each direction, there's no reason why the trip should take more than 3 1/2 hours if you obey the speed limit all the way. We arrived shortly after 7 p.m. and, having dumped off our stuff headed for the dining room (I'm taking my beloved out in Jerusalem for a decent meal too - you can read about that later in the week.....). 40 winks and a shower later and we were ready to go out on the town.
No visit to Eilat is complete without a visit to the Monkeys bar on the boardwalk - who could possibly resist the overpriced cocktails and past-their-prime rock bands mixed with an eclectic clientele? Seriously though - the Monkeys is such an Eilat spot that when a footy friend told me that he'd met his fiancee in Eilat, it wasn't even impressive that I guessed that their eyes first met across the dance floor their on a Saturday night.
Exhausted after too long a week, we didn't last long, heading back to the hotel in the cool night air. It was wonderful to see the boardwalk packed so late in the season and gratifying to note that we'd missed the school trips which fill the place with hormonal 17 year olds strutting their stuff.
We had my ultimate lazy weekend - getting up late, strolling down to breakfast, getting stuck into a couple of semi-decent novels, walks along the front in weather that allowed for t-shirt and shorts but didn't make you feel the need to jump in the shower afterwards - the perfect time of year to visit and lots of decent conversation. The stress just melted away.
All too soon, Saturday night rolled around and we were heading back to Jerusalem for a drink with our hilarious, never-lost-in-the-crowd mate Gils who is off to Australia for a couple of months. That was at Goldie - another new kosher bar in town which looks promising...