In June 2004 we moved to Eilat! Its not so hard to find a place with a view and we did. Nice to wake up and see this.
We followed the movers in a taxi and it took four hours, including a stop for lunch. Everything's more laid back here than in the rest of Israel. Eilatim consider every other city in Israel to be in the north - tzfonim (northerners).
Eilat is both a tourist town and a city in the desert. The closest big city is Beersheva, three hours away and the only thing between Eilat and Beersheva are kibbutzim and moshavim and a few small towns such as Dimona (home of the black Hebrews), Mitzpe Ramon, and Arad. The southern Negev is known as the Arava (wilderness) in Hebrew. At the same time, Eilat is a hot resort town. The airport serves domestic Israeli flights and flights to and from Europe. Eilat's beaches and hotels are well known all over the world.
Its nice being a 10 minute walk from the beach. As a tourist town, Eilat has lots of restaurants - a lot more than another city of 50,000 would have! There's an IMAX Theatre that opened in early 2004 and its even closer than the beach. Yes, its hot - 100-105 degrees Fahreinheit (over 40 degrees Celsius) in the day during the summer. But from October to April, the weather is perfect. As its a small city, it doesn't take more than a few minutes to get anywhere you need to go. Lots of French Jews visit and many are moving here - that's a cool trend that I hope continues. You hear almost as much French in Eilat as you do Russian!
From my apartment, I can see Aqaba, Jordan. Its close. I haven't been there since I wrote the Jordan book in 1994. When things quiet down in the region, I want to visit there again. Saudi Arabia is closeby as Jordan's coast is only 19 kilometers. The mountains in the background are Jordan and Saudi Arabia. One day, when there's peace, the Gulf of Eilat will really come to life.
Best of all, Eilat is relaxing. People come here to take it easy. Eilatim are more chilled-out than most Israelis and they're proud of it. There's no downtown Tel Aviv rush hour scene here! Its a lot of fun to walk around Eilat - wherever you go,
there's a gorgeous view of mountains and ocean to the south and desert everywhere else. I'll keep adding pictures here over time.. Gotta go watch that sunset!
"Oom Rash-Rash" is Eilat's most important, if not only, historical site. This is where the Israeli flag was first raised over Eilat on March 10, 1949. Eilat was conquered without a shot fired and this was the last military operation of Israel's War of Independence. This site symbolizes the end of that war. None of the soldiers remembered to bring a flag with them, so a soldier by the name of Micha Peri hand drew one by pouring blue ink on a sheet. The building to the left of the statue is the old police station of Oom Rash-Rash and it is located next to Eilat's biggest mall and is close to the Red Sea.
At Oom Rash-Rash, I turned around and walked a few feet towards the ocean and look at the view!
My fiance took these pictures from the roof of our building. The bottom two pictures were taken facing east - the mountains are in Jordan and the city in the background is Aqaba.
In March 2005, we went on a pedal boat ride for an hour. It was a lot of exercise! The Red Sea is beautiful and the pictures say it all.
King's City is a new attraction in Eilat that hasn't even opened yet. Its stunning at sunset.
We walked to one of the closest points to Jordan and took a picture. The tents on the left are at the easternmost beach in Israel. The next picture was taken from above a bridge at Eilat's bay.
In April 2005, I walked to the northern edge of Eilat and climbed a small hilltop to take some pictures. The bottom two pictures are my first panoramas.
A quick walk and look what we have.. If you have Apple's QuickTime video player or plugin installed (most do), you'll be able to see a video panorama of this wadi leading into the Red Sea. If not, there's a picture of it here as well. From now on I'll use QuickTime when possible as it lets me show a bigger
version of a panarama shot and I like the almost-video effect it has on the page.
In November 2005, a friend from Miami visited and we set off on a tour of Eilat. We both took pictures all over the city.
If you have QuickTime, you see two extra panoramas. Most tourists visit Eilat's north beach -
here is the full sized version. We went to a popular
restaurant south of the city called "The Last Refuge" -- its just north of the Egyptian border.
And here is the full sized photo that I took after lunch.
For those of you who think Eilat doesn't get any rain, a few photos and a QuickTime panorama of Eilat in the rain.
In June 2006, we moved within Eilat to a ground floor apartment without the view but with air conditioning (and not a desert cooler). Though we lived with the desert cooler for two years, there's nothing like air conditioning. We have a small, shaded yard and its nice to be able to open the door and window and enjoy the morning and night breezes. Summer isn't so rough this way. This summer started late - it didn't get too hot until mid-May and there are weeklong breaks between each heat wave. During the breaks, its only 90-100 degrees in the afternoon. That's hot? Not when compared to 103-115 degree weather!
As soon as October hit, a good friend came over and we headed out to lunch. We ate at an Italian seafood restaurant which is on a boat docked at the marina. On the way back, I took these two photos and two Quicktime 3d photos. Though it was hot, you could actually stand in one place and take a few photos - something I didn't dare do since the super hot August heatwave.
If you're interested in Israel, visit my other related pages...
Culture in Israel
The Israel Trail
Jerusalem in the Snow
Jerusalem during Passover 2009