Mike: On our way up to cottage up north, we stopped at the ancient city of Caesarea. This port city was built by King Herod (who also built the palaces of Masada). It had a colorful history for the next several centuries.
Jody: We watched a few videos to understand more about what happened- just like Masada, the architects of the time outdid themselves. We learned how the lighthouse and the breakwater were built. Then had a great lunch- we’ve gotten really good at ordering lots of different things that we like and sharing. This was our last Passover meal - eggplant salad, lamb kebobs, Israelis salad with laban (a sort of sour cream cheese that tastes like feta), red mullet (fried fish) and home fries.
It was warm, the sun was shining, there was a nice breeze and we could smell the ocean. We walked around and saw the ancient bath-houses which have incredible mosaic floors and the hippodrome where chariot races & gladiator fights took place as well as the theater which is now used as an ampitheatre for concerts and plays. We were headed back to the car and looking forward to a visit to my old Kibbutz- Bet Haemek- with Noemi, my adopted Kibbutz mother.
Mike: Walking down the steps from the bath house, I heard a noise that could be only be described as sandpaper and yipping. I turned around to find Jody tumbling down the same ancient stairs that drunken Romans did a millennium ago. Unfortunately her ankle turned and swelled up to the size of a golf ball. Immobile, I was able to get her a ride back to the car from one of the maintenance dudes. Our GPS found a hospital just 5 kilometers away and we experienced what an Israeli ER was like. We also discovered this is a region where English is not spoken much as I lost my lovely interpreter to the x-ray room (I can’t wait for Tufts to figure out our Hebrew bill from this place). Luckily the x-rays were negative and it is only a sprain.
Jody: all I can say is I’m glad it was me and not one of the kids as I can sit out some of the sightseeing. At first I couldn’t even put any weight on it, but after 4 motrin, ice and elevation I can get around. We didn’t get to the kibbutz, but we were headed to that region tomorrow so we’ll get to see Noemi and show the family around. I can’t believe I was there as a student 22 years ago!!!
The hospital was in Hadera and was actually an interesting experience. There were many arabs being treated there and the 2 doctors I saw – one Arab & one Jewish were sitting in an office side by side. You can read about the conflict in Israel all you want, but the cooperation between the 2 communities doesn’t make the news.
At this point in our trip we were headed to the North and a lovely little cottage that we rented for the next 3 nights. I found this place on line about 2 weeks ago and trusted my instinct after emailing with the couple who owns it. The price was right, they didn’t ask for a deposit and it’s a good jumping off point for daytrips in the north. It’s in a little town called Abirim, nestled in the mountains of the Galil off rt. 89. When we arrived, it was exactly what we hoped it would be. There is one bedroom, a sitting room, tiny kitchnette and a loft for the kids to sleep in.
We headed out to the nearby Druze village to break Passover and ate wonderful breads filled with zaytar (spice) and beef. We found a little fruit market and loaded up our fridge with fresh loquats (indescribable if you haven’t had them, like a cross between an apricot and a peach but not really-with big seeds inside), strawberries, bananas etc. We also picked up a vat of humus and some veggies and salami/pastrami for a picnic lunch tomorrow.
We found a Maccabee Tel Aviv v. Jerusalem soccer game to watch on tv and settled in for the night. There’s no wifi here, so hopefully we’ll find some tomorrow on our travels so we can upload this blog!