Day 9: Drive from Western Galilee to Vered Hagalil

Trip Start May 14, 2008
Trip End Jun 17, 2008

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Flag of Israel  , Galilee,
Saturday, May 24, 2008

We're packed and ready to go.  Well, almost.  We sit at the picnic table outside our zimmer, and review the road map and possible stops along the drive east from our western Galilee location to Vered Hagalil, our lodging for the next five nights.  We decide on the northern route, Route 89, so that we can head for Bar'am National Park to see the ancient synagogue ruins dating back from the 2nd and 4th centuries. 

Along the way, we decide to visit Al Zeitun, an olive press that has a museum about the manufacture of olive oil from ancient times to the present as well as a shop selling, you guessed it, olive oil, creams and soaps made from olive oil.  The directions we have instruct us to drive on road 864 and "you can't miss the sign for the "al Zeitun" olive press at the entrance to Peki'in."    Once again, we miss the sign that "you can't miss".  Normally this would not deter us and we would stop and ask.  Today, neither of us wanted to do that.  It was at this point, we both realize that it is time for a break and that we need to just rest and relax today.

At Bar'am National Park, we are greeted by a small kitten that is loudly meowing and following us!  We both seem to be more interested in the kitten than the ancient ruins.  It is interesting to note that communicating with a cat is similar to communicating with people when you do not speak the same language.  You have to intuit your way through the communication trying different methods.  We try to feed the kitten; Harvey gives it water, but what it seems to most want is attention.  And that's what we give it.  It is then, as we walk, sit and just play with the kitten that I recalled today's intention, "There are no ordinary moments".  It was OK for us to enjoy our time outside on this glorious cool sunny day on the grounds of an ancient synagogue, playing with this loving kitten!  This in itself was a special moment.  There are more photos of the kitten than of the synagogue; I just want to prepare you!  And if you should visit Bar'am and if a kitten should greet you as you enter, please reach out with love, and say that Harvey and Margie send theirs.

We remember that it is a holiday weekend, Log Ba'omer, as we pass in the Mount Meron area.  Most of the people have left, but there are still busloads and we can see many people in the forest eating at large picnic tables.  The festival causes some road detours that challenge our navigation.  This causes us to pull into a parking area where we see some police.  They are friendly but not very informative.  It does give us an opportunity to get some pictures of people eating in the woods. 

Our plan is to drive on to Rosh Pinna for our own lunch.  However, when we get there the roads are so full, that we turn the car around looking for a less crowded alternative.  We find a café close to Route 90 and have a light lunch sitting outside.

We check into Vered Hagalil, find our cabin, and unpack our car.  After a short stroll around the grounds, we just crash.  It might be mid-afternoon, but a nap seems to be what we need.  So we indulge ourselves!    After a relaxing dinner in the restaurant at Vered Hagalil, we call it a night and happily doze off to sleep.  It was the end of our ninth day in Israel.  We have explored Tel Aviv, Zichron Ya'akov, Haifa, Akko and Rosh Hanikrah.  We have reached a milestone in our itinerary as we completed our drive up the Mediterranean coast and are now turning eastward.  It is no ordinary moment, as we let ourselves just relax and sleep, letting our subconscious absorb and integrate all the experiences from this first part of our journey.  It's important to stay rested and nurture our spirit!

Click here for today's photos!
A note about the music on today's web gallery:
ˇ        Synagogue Cantors from the motion picture William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice
ˇ        Preludes, Op 31: Ancient Melodie De La Synagogue No. 6
Both of these pieces capture the feeling of wandering around ancient synagogues and playing with a kitten.
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