Timna rented a five-bedroom house for us as a base in Shoshanat Ha-makim, about ten minutes north of Netanya, and across the street from the beach. Savta arrived early and stocked the kitchen, and then Nadav and family arrived and spent Saturday checking out the beach
and exploring Hadassah Neurim, the place Nadav volunteered for a month with teens at risk in 1998 as part of Hadassah Gap Year course in Israel.
After a 2.5-hour drive, we stopped for lunch outside of Kiryat Shmona at Cafe Aroma, Israel's top coffee shop and a fabulous quick stop for lunch, and met up with Savta's 2nd cousin Zoya and her husband Boris who live there.
Tel Dan Nature Reserve. The Dan River which runs near it is one of the three sources of the rather small Jordan River. Since it was spring, things were still green, but in a month or two, much will turn to brown.
Our next stop was to the Banias waterfall, the only waterfall that flows year round in Israel. We went on the new suspended bridge hike with spectacular views.
Eli played ping pong for the first time and Jonah was great at foosball!
The next day we spent mostly on the Golan Heights, first stopping at Nimrod's Fortress. an anti-Crusader castle built in the early 13th century, where we all enjoyed walking and discovering. It was high up on a hill so the soldiers to watch for enemy below.
Lion carving and inscription belowMas'adeh.
And then headed south to near the Nahal Yehudiya national reserve to hike to the Hexagonal Pools, Brechat Hamishuhim. In 1983, Dina and family had hiked there but Dina had to stay behind with three-year-old Nadav when the walk got too rugged (down a ladder). This time she made it to the end while Leah stayed behind at the refreshment stand with 4-year-old Eli, on this hot sunny day. The road was rocky but definitely improved!
Below was the first view of the pool!
Then we drove down to the Dead Sea. We were more than 1300 feet below sea level.
We saw lots of date palm farms. Below is our first view of the Dead Sea (in Hebrew, it is called the Salt Sea), with the country of Jordan on the far banks.
Three hours after we left Ein Bokek, it rained heavily there and the roads were closed due to flooding!! We got out just in time!
Our next stop was at Kfar HaNokdim, a half hour outside of Arad, for a Bedouin experience. First we met with Mohammad, who told us about Bedouin social customs and served us sweet tea and bitter coffee.
After our camel ride, we were treated to a feast. Bedouins usually eat vegetarian, dairy meals on regular days, but for special events, they have meat.
Timna and family then drove back to the rental house while Nadav and family drove savta to cousin Mimi's home. Mimi is Nadav and Timna's second cousin, and she lives in Israel near the airport. Eli met her family for the first time:
|Oldest daughter Chana, Mimi, youngest daughter Malka, and husband Arnold/Aharon|
|Eli also met Sophie dog|
Cousin Mimi drove savta to the airport and Eli and family went back to the rental house.
The next morning, the two cars headed south again toward Eilat. The first stop was at Tel Sheva, to run around, stretch legs, and to see one of the many archaeological sites.
Next, the family stopped at a meat restaurant in Beersheva where most of ate(chicken) schnitzel for lunch.
Maktesh Ramon and saw Bedouin huts and camels along the way.
The boys took turns in the party car.
In the middle of the Makhtesh Ramon.
The gang finally arrived at acute motel in Eilat, and the next morning were picked up at 6 a.m. to begin a day-long adventure in Jordan, going to Petra.
The guide warned that it was common for people to touch little kids, and Eli was touched a lot! One man even picked Eli up and took his picture with him!
Riding a horse back up the hill
Two sleeping boys on bus ride from Petra to Aqaba.
the group had a marvelous dinner at Kepasa, a Mediterranean-Italian-Spanish restaurant in Beersheva on the way back to the rental house.
The last day in Israel was spent touring the Old City of Jerusalem with aguide, who took them to David's Tower, the Western Wall of the Temple, the Church of the Holy Sepulcre, the shuk (market) where Jonah got a shofar, Zeke got a chess set and a drum and Eli got a drum too, They also walked a bit on the ramparts and saw part of new Jerusalem and the Knesset (Congress) in the distance.
|A Japanese tourist taking our picture as we waited to get into the church|
|Narrow Old City street|
After the tour, the group headed to the old train station for dinner, and the boys had a short ride on the train while waiting to eat.