Wednesday, June 5, 2013

McDonald's, The Sea of Galilee And Me

Another day, another breakfast. I'm sure I'm going to be a roly poly fuzzy wuzzy when this vacation is over.
Today we went to the Sea of Galilee, as they say over here, Kinneret.  That means harp in Hebrew.
First though, we needed to rent a car. That meant a walk to the car rental place which was about a 4th of a mile. Already at 10 in the morning, it's very warm and humid.
We passed some interesting sights - a funny looking apartment building and a chair. I knew Nayna needed a minute to cool down so I asked her to stop and take a picture of me.
We got a little Peugeot car that was perfect for just the three of us. It came in handy throughout our trip when we needed to turn around in the middle of a street and when we drove the winding curvy roads at the Sea. We also rented a GPS to help us find our way, but the lady in the box got us lost a few times. We got to see new apartment buildings being built in Herzlia and big beautiful houses in Caeserea.
Our first stop was at the aqueduct in Caeserea. It was first built by Harod in the 1st Century CE. Can you imagine, those stones are over 2000 years old?
The Mediterranean Sea was beautiful with it's colorful water. There was a big sign saying NO SWIMMING, so we stayed in the parking lot. Besides, we had a long way to go before we reached Galilee, and Nayna and Papa didn't want me smelling like a wet bear in the car.
Our GPS lady told us to go back towards Tel Aviv, which was not the way Nayna went 6 years before on her way to the Galilee, so we told her bye bye, and turned her off. They'd find a gas station and ask directions. Any self respecting bear would do that too! Well, I thought it was a good idea, anyway. We found a gas station/McDonald's in Hadera. We were hungry! It was past lunchtime. We got good directions and ate hamburgers. They aren't like the McDonald's in the US. They call them New York Burgers and they're big with lettuce, tomato, onions and pickles. Yummy. Nayna was so busy eating, she forgot to take a picture. But that's okay, you'd probably see the hamburger and want one!
When we were driving down the highway, Nayna giggled and had Papa take a picture of this truck. She said, "We're not in Kansas, anymore!"
We drove for awhile and then turned off the highway away from the Sea and in towards the middle of Israel. 
We passed rolling hills and valleys with growing vegetables. There was a big field of corn, just like where I live.
And then I saw lots of buildings. Nayna said that was Tiberias, and at the bottom of the hill that the city sits on is the Sea of Galilee. We wound down the narrow streets through the city and then I saw it for the first time. Wow! It was beautiful. I hear there are big, scary storms that happen without warning here, but I can't imagine that now.
We got lost trying to find Kfar Nahum or Capernaum like most people know it, and found another gas station to ask directions, but it was closed. As we were getting ready to leave the parking lot, Nayna began to laugh and said, "look!" In the US, we'd see cows or maybe sheep, but there in a field, munching brush was a camel. And in the distance was another one, and to the side of that one was a bunch of them. Do they come in bunches, or herds? 
We still didn't know how to get back to the road we needed to go around the Sea and found ourselves up at the top of the hill. A sign pointed to the Mt. of Beatitudes, so we decided to stop there. There was a big church and a beautiful garden path and a very nice bathroom. We got out of the car and a hot, humid wind hit us. With our car air conditioner on, we forgot how hot it would be outside. We walked around the garden path and we saw a rubber tree. Nayna sang part of a song about an ant and a rubber tree. It was funny. "Woops there goes another rubber tree plant," she sang.
The garden was beautiful, but there was a big brush fire in the hills around Kfar Nahum. The wind brought the smoke and ash up the hill and it was hard to breath, so we went back to our car to continue our travels.
Finally, we found the right road by the Sea and the entrance to the town of Capernaum, but the gate had closed at 5 pm, 15 minutes before we got there. Rats!
Time to drive around the Sea towards En Gev and the fish dinner Nayna and I looked forward to eating.
I looked away from the Sea and saw a big mountain. Well, a big hill. Nayna said not far on the other side was the Golan Heights and Syria.
We were getting close to En Gev. Look - there's a fisherman and a big fish. My tummy was full of rumbles. We bears like our fish, don't you know.
En Gev is a working kibbutz. In Hebrew kibbutz means a communal settlement. Everyone lives together and shares everything. This kibbutz has a big resturant that is known for its fresh talipia, or St. Peter's fish.
Of course, Nayna and I shared the fish and bowl of rice because it was so big. Some people get all squeemy wheemy when they bring the fish - head and all. They don't like their dinner looking at them. All I could see was sweet, warm fish sliding into my tummy.

Papa cracks me up. He's not a fish kind of guy and ordered mushroom fettuccine alfredo.
As we ate, the sunbeam slowly strolled down across the lake.
After a relaxing dinner, it was getting dark and we needed to drive about an hour and a half back to Tel Aviv.
We decided to give our GPS lady one more chance and she took us a different way home through the Jezreel Valley. I wished it was light outside because I think I would have enjoyed the scenery. But I was full of fish and my eyes got really heavy. I slipped back into Nayna's purse and snoozed the whole way back.
When we got to our hotel room, I woke up long enough to peek at the clock. It was almost 11 pm! What a fun day we had.
Lila tov!


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