Shalom! Today was tov meod! We woke up early to drive to Hulda Valley where we met a group of skilled jeep driver tour guides for a very bumpy drive up the Golan Heights.
Along our way behind the fences there were remaining land mines to which our tour guides joked that the word in Hebrew for a cow stepping on one is Hamburger (read in an Israeli accent). We arrived at a high point where we were able to walk through an old Syrian bunker. The guides provided delicious hot tea.
After learning about the Six Day War and taking pictures, we drove until we arrived at the Tel Dan Nature Reserve. In the reserve we learned about the plate tectonics of the Syrian African Rift. We also visited "paradise." Next we grabbed lunch at a mall in Kiryat Shemona and got an iced cafe, of course. Then we stopped at the Teva Naot factory where some added a new pair of Israeli shoes to their collection.
After a long bus ride, we arrived at Har Bental where we could see the borders that Israel shares with Lebanon and Syria.
Although we were all freezing, we enjoyed exploring the deserted bunkers and watching the sunset from a high altitude. We ate dinner in Tiberias knowing that we had a surprise program created by our Israeli soldiers to look forward to upon returning to the kibbutz. Little did we know, it was our guide Shany's 8th birthday party! The soldiers hosted the festivities starting with toast of Israel's notorious soda Cristal. Next we played a game like hot potato but with a present wrapped in many layers of newspaper. When the music stopped, the person who had it had to unwrap one layer and do the task that was written on the next layer. Then there were musical chairs, followed by trying to get your tail (candle tied to a string) in a soda liter bottle. After that, two volunteers competed to see how many marshmallows they could fit in their mouth, setting the record at 22. Next, two others had to sift through flour using only their lips and teeth to find the bazooka bubble gum. Lastly, a number of people raced to see how quickly they could eat 8 chocolate tea biscuits. The winner of each game received some type of IDF paraphernalia. As Shany's 8th birthday came to a close, we can't wait to bring these games back to the States. לילה טוב!