Israel is a great place to visit.  There is an incredible number of fascinating
places to visit in a very small area.  Here's just one small example.  Recently
we spent a weekend in a place called Mitzpeh Ramon.  "Mitzpeh" is a small
town (about 7000 residents) located in the Negev desert.  It's on the map
below.  It's main claim to fame is that it is located on the edge of what is
known as Machtesh Ramon.  Machtesh is an internationally recognized
term referring to a specific geological formation which is only located in Israel
and Sinai.   In fact, there are only 5 such machteshes in the entire world.
Three of them are in Israel.  The machtesh itself is a goldmine for geologists
and offers beautiful views in every direction.  There are plenty of other
attractions as well in the area which is in the middle of the Negev desert.
Here's a link to a site about the Mizpeh Ramon Park Complex.
When we took this trip, we lived in Ashdod, which is between Tel Aviv and Gaza. (Since then, we've moved north to Haifa.)   It's about a 2 hour drive to Mitzpeh Ramon.  This map isn't exactly representative of the size of cities. Beersheba has about 100,000 resdidents, and Mitzpeh has 7000.  Also, Eilat doesn't even appear, and it is a very popular winter tourist site for European travelers.
Below are some pictures of the machtesh, which we visited by jeep, and another area, Ein Avdat, which we hiked through on foot.  Avdat itself is an ancient Nabatean city inhabited about 3000 years ago.


Here on the right is a view of the machtesh from the town of Mitzpeh Ramon. 
For a few more pics from this trip, click 

      Updated:  May, 2003