Day 4: Megiddo, Caesarea, Zichron Ya'acov
Trip Start May 14, 2008
42Trip End Jun 17, 2008
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As we drive out of Tel Aviv, we realize how compact the city actually is and how quickly the tight streets and low rise buildings of the city give way to high rise apartment complexes along the broad flower and tree lined boulevard of Route 2. Harvey is our designated driver and I'm the navigator. Our primary tools are the "Israel Touring Atlas and Easy Guide" from A Carta Atlas as well as a large folding map of Israel
And it was here in Megiddo that Tuesday's intention becomes realized: "Keep Perspective. All things are transient". Archaeological excavations at Megiddo have uncovered 25 strata of different civilizations on this tell (mound). The first strata are in the 4th millennium BC. Can you believe they go back over 6,000 years? My personal experience is my frame of time reference, and is measured in seconds, minutes, hours, weeks, months, years, decades. One hundred years, one thousand years, six thousand years - they all seem off the scale! I can't wrap my mind around that; there is no way I can really grasp anything that old! More later on this...
The real attraction for us is the water tunnel. Engineers dug a shaft (180 steps down) and a 65 yard long horizontal tunnel under the city wall to reach a spring, which was outside the city walls. We walked the steps down and through the tunnel marveling at the engineering feat, noticing the chisel marks used to make the tunnel OVER 2,000 YEARS AGO. In the book, "The Source" by James Michener, the process of digging the tunnel is explained. Now we are here, at just such a tunnel. We time our walk down after a tour group and we have the shaft and tunnel to ourselves
As we are making our way back to the entrance of the site, we pass two soldiers and we say "hi" and strike up a conversation. They are part of the United Nations peacekeeping force; they had been stationed in Lebanon and now are in Jerusalem. I am struck that they represent the many soldiers who have passed this land over the millennia
Tip: we purchased a national park pass at the entrance to Megiddo. There wasn't any sign about this, but thanks to our TripAdvisor friends, we knew to ask!
And now on to Caesarea, the ancient port city. Here there are remains of Roman, Byzantine and Crusader ruins. The governor's palace has elaborate mosaics and its own personal bath. One can imagine how luxurious it was in its time! Yet, the governor and his glorious home are gone. Seeing such ancient sites really does help to put things in perspective! I should point out that the public baths were fancy enough for the rest of us.
We arrive at Caesarea about 4 PM (the closing time is 6 PM), and are disappointed to learn that the movie overview is not operating today and that we had missed the last English tour that was at 2:30 PM. We return to the entrance to see if we can come back tomorrow and a different attendant tells us that there is no problem staying until 9:00 because the restaurants stay open
We drive to Zichron Ya'acov and our bed and breakfast, Villa Carmel (click here for link in Trip Advisor). It's in the Giv'at Eden quarter, an area of new villas, only a few minutes by car from the main pedestrian street of Zichron. Ariela shows us to our room, which is very comfortable, clean, and with a nice size bathroom. We have access to a living room with comfortable chairs and television, as well as an outdoor patio with a table and chairs, overlooking a cheery garden with flowers and trees. Ariela is warm and welcoming and we immediately feel like we made the right choice for our stay in Zichron
Click here for today's photos!