Overland to Haifa • discover caesarea
After breakfast at our hotel we’ll depart for Caesarea, where Herod the Great built a remarkable artificial port—an engineering marvel in its time. Here we’ll explore Roman ruins, many of which were transformed into a walled Crusader’s city in later times, and have some free time for lunch on our own.
Then we’ll proceed to Haifa, Israel’s third- largest city. This ancient seaport on the slopes of Mount Carmel is invested with both the historical weight of Jerusalem and the modern ambiance and tempo of Tel Aviv. It is in some senses Israel’s model city, rich with history, replete with a stew of cultures and religions working side by side, and evolving rapidly into the modern world. We’ll head to Mount Carmel for a panoramic view of the terraced Baha’i Gardens, as they flow down its slopes toward the busy harbor, then continue on to Haifa. We’ll also stop at an olive farm for a tasting, followed by dinner.
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Sunday September 10
Breakfast. I decided to take "different" today. It was very nice.
There were no labels anywhere. I asked one of the servers what this is. Juice! Ok, what juice? I point and say "orange" and point to the other. She says potato meaning tomato I am sure. So I point to the tomato juice and say "tomato". Then I just try and tell her that it is grapefruit. She was cute though.
We were supposed to be in the lobby at 8:30 am. Yael then received a call from our driver that he was stuck in traffic because of an accident. Finally he arrived and we left about 45 minutes late. But of course we asked Yael questions in that time and discussed.
In the bus Yael did a lot of explaining too. I just wished I could remember part of it.
Looking out of the bus window. You blink and you miss it. This time I didn't.
We are driving along the coasts going north.
We see more flowers in this area then before.
We arrive in Caesarea.
A model shows what there is to see.
Looking at Herod the Great's private rooms including a fresh water pool.
He had created this city and harbor out of not much having decided that it was needed for commerce. Yael explained to us a lot of the politics of the time. Whether this is the Herod of Jesus' time responsible for the killing of baby boys under two years is not conclusive because it really would depend on when exactly Jesus was born. Herod had died about that time.
Excavations are still going on. So much still needs to be done everywhere.
There was also a museum where we saw a movie about Herod. This is a model of the artificial harbor he built.
Greek mosaic inscription (four lines) on the floor of a mdnsion's reception room, Byzantine period
"May your arrival and departure be blessed"
More driving ...
... and then a stop at a fast food chain place.
Lovely fresh flowers.
James and I shared a sandwich and a dessert, half each which was plenty. The ice coffee was very good.
We deviated from the original itinerary. Especially on this tour the guide has to be flexible because of different holy days etc.
We drove through mountains and arrived in Nazareth.
Every ruin or building we are visiting is always built over something older before and that was built over something else and that ... the buildings before had been destroyed either by earthquake or other kings or religious enemies. Yael had a little card which showed the different layers of this church, the Church of the Annunciation. Actually, Yael tells us that there are at least two. One where the angel came to Mary when she was at home and another where she was at a spring getting water. To be honest, I don't mind where. It is just mindmogling to be where Jesus grew up.
The cave which supposedly was Mary's home.
See the lace?
This building by the Catholic Church was only a few years old and quite modern. Look at that ceiling.
Upstairs was more impressive.
Many pieces of art depicting the madonna with child came from different countries.
This one is from the USA.
This one is from Canada, a relief made with clay.
The one from Japan shows that Jesus looks different for each of us.
There was so much to see and contemplate.
Even the doors told stories. Yael is wonderful how she explains everything.
In the courtyard many more pieces of meaningful art. This madonna steps on a snake's head reminding us of Eve and evil.
And more doors. On this one mankind's story of the Old Testament.
This door tells about Jesus' life.
This is very interesting. All our lives we heard that Jesus was a carpenter. But Yael explains that the original Greek word in the gospel says "builder" which can be masonry or many other things. There are not many trees in this area (wood is needed by carpenters) but there was a quarry and something very important was being built at the time.
We are walking back to the bus and Yael treats us to an Israeli specialty (forgot the name). A sweet sweet. Made with honey of course.
Back to the bus. It was about 5 pm when we stopped at an olive farm in a ... community. Shoshi told us the story of her husband's family which came to Israel in the early 1900s from Poland. It was a very moving story. Her husband used to tell it but he died 5 years ago. Shoshi herself was born in Casablanca and had come to this country when she was about 3.
She was a lot of fun. After her talk we relocated to a covered picnic place outside where there was a special stove. She put us to work making pizzas.
Back into the other room which used to be the cowshed (you should have heard the story).
This is a pickled lemon (or lime?).
Shoshi' husband was Ehud Yonay, author of "Top Gun" and other books. The whole visit was lots of fun.
Time to drive back to the hotel though. We made it back before "happy hour" was over and we still got a glass of wine.