Shalom on day three
Today has to be one of our favourite days in Israel. We actually got out of bed in record time this morning, Magoo and Monkey (D says that should be Sprout's new name) getting up around 7:30 and Princess not to long afterwards. Breakfast was a combo deal of basically what was left in the kitchen. Toast with raspberry jam, mango yogurt, strawberry yogurt, bananas and cereal. We had packed up the night before (you wouldn't believe how much time it takes to gather together all the stuff we need) double checked our water supply for the day as it was to get hot and we were planning on spending the day outside.
Our first stop was to the King David Hotel right up the road to double check on a different rental car for tuesday...you'll have to wait to see what we are planning that day! Then we were off and this time didn't have to do any illegal u-turns in order to follow the GPS, which is a great source of ammusement and it has taken us a total of 5 different ways into Jerusalem so far. We're wondering just how many different ways it can by the time we head home. The best was the first night when it took us through Machaneh Yehuda and the edge of Me'a She'arim. But I digress...
It was simply stunning, espcially after turning onto highway 35 S which leads to Bet Shemesh and places beyond in the Shomron. Daniel pulled over a few times for photo ops and then we found and stopped at a look out where you can see the valley leading from Gat (Gath) to Bet Shemesh where we are told in the Scriptures that the ark came up on a cart lead by 2 milch cows when it was returned from the Philistines to Israel. We drove through Zoar and Esh-tol; Samson territory! Then we looked and found the little dirt path that leads to the Fortress of Elah. Amazing discoveries there in the past couple years (http://www.elahfortress.com/ has a lot of neat info and a video).
Basically you have to find this small dirt road (and there are numerous) after Z(ec)harya and then choose another of 4 dirt paths. The driving instructions said to take the second path, and we thought we took it. But, well, it was a neat drive and then we realized we were on the wrong side of the hills! So Daniel amazingly managed to turn around (the first of two amazing turn arounds today) and go down the correct one. There is nothing there but the ruins that they are just now excavating...exciting. The kids thought seeing a turtle was neat, and the ruins were breath taking. So much more to write about that but I'll let their website to that for us.
We then munched on the usual lunch in the car driving South again on 35 to La(c)hish. We drove around the kibbut first and thought it was neat that in the same spot is another "watch town" for Jerusalem. It was a wee bit of a climp UP to the ruins on the very tip top of the hill/mountain. Daniel took the time to explain to the children all the importance of the town and it's history as a watch/signal town and the destruction by the Assyrians. Monkey was such a great sport and loved walking around and up and over the steps to the ruins.
The view was incredible, again. We know we saw the hilltop of Hevron, but didn't know which one it was. You can completely understand why it was used as a signal and guard settlement when you see the layout from the lookout at the top of the ruins.
It was very hot there, no shade and it was at least 26 degrees C. Us girls washed our faces off after the hike before we got into the air conditioned car. We understand now why everyone carrys water with them in Israel. Seriously everyone carrys watter around!
On the drive back up and North to Jerusalem we desided to go up the Burma Road...intended for jeeps only and sign posted as such. After much intakes of breath and giggles we turned around (the second amazing turn around, I am so very greatful that we didn't go off the edge or get stuck on the cracks in the road!)...we have a priceless video clip of it but as with everything we are needing to download it all.
Monkey needed a wee nap so we headed home for a break. A cuppa on the belcony laughing at all the horns honking on the road was refreshing. We then trekked up to Ben Yehuah and I enjoyed the "descreet skirt shop" a wee bit too much and got two new skirts and blue one and a khaki one. As I brought mainly denim ones these will be great as it is much hotter this time then the last trip during the same time!
We had our first Swarmma for dinner (54 INS=15CAD for all of us to eat!), and no I couldn't figure out how on earth to order a juice so we walked up for Daddy's Cafe Afulla at Sambooki and got strawberry and peach juice for the kids there instead. So yummy, oh yeah and a BOX of pastries for our dinner guests for Shabbat (if we don't eat them first Laurie!)! It is by weight and so delicous. Thank goodness for all the walking otherwise I would be returning to Canada so extra weight not in the suitcase but around my middle!
(as it was we were overweight coming as we thought it was 70 lbs but it is 50 lbs aloud, not sure how we are going to manage coming back!)
Then we walked back home via the grocery store and Magoo and Mummy ran in for breakfast and lunch fixings for tomorrow. Thankfully I found another young Mom (with kids in tow) and she spoke english and was so kind and figured out which butter I wanted (regular, salted, garlic, onion, mixed...).
So now the children are (we think) asleep and we are working on plans for tomorrow. It is so nice to just decide the night before what to do.
God Bless from Yerusaliyim!