I live in Tel Aviv with my boyfriend and our cat, Morris. With work and school, we are both incredibly busy and have days where we completely miss each other. Our apartment is near a major road and nights are filled with the sounds of buses, ambulances to the nearby hospital or neighbors playing their music at all hours of the night. Having both grown up in small towns, we long for a quiet that the city can’t offer us. Often we talk of escaping, if only for a few days at a time.

For my last birthday, we finally decided to Ein Saharonimtake this much-yearned-for vacation. But where would be the best place to find such quiet?

We decided to go to the Negev, to the most secluded place we could think of, at the lowest point in the Ramon Crater. In order to truly escape (for the weekend) we decided to camp out, with only the desert winds to listen to.

We filled a cooler with food, loaded the tent into the car and filled an endless supply of water bottles. As we passed Be’er Sheva, the scenery quite suddenly changed from the green of agriculture to the rolling, yellow hills of the desert.

Ramon CraterWe passed Mizpe Ramon and the new Isrotel hotel that stands on the edge of the crater. We stopped at the beginning of the descent, like any young couple in love, to take pictures and enjoy the awe-inspiring view before continuing into the crater.

Our quest for silence led us to Ein Saharonim, mostly because it was a circular hiking trail route and we would need to get back to the car.

Ein Saharonim, found on a part of the ancient spice route, was traveled by the Nabateans as early as the 4th century B.C.. This route stretches from the Persian Gulf to the ports of Gaza and was used to transport perfumes, silks, metals and, of course, spices.

Nahal SaharonimAt the beginning of the trail, stands a fort (khan), a relic from the period that was used by the Nabateans as a safe place to stop along the spice route. After a few photo ops, we continued into the river bed, flowing only when the rains are heavy. We were able to see and learn from this dry river bed; from the smooth water-polished stones to the rare fossil.

Ein Saharonim is a magical place to find silence, history, nature and an escape from reality. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for the perfect weekend excursion, far away from noise, work, school and the stresses of everyday life.

*Special thanks to Nili and Dolev for sharing their story with us!

4 thoughts on “Magic on the Spice Route

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