Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Stay Left… Stay Left… Stay Left ( a road trip diary)

Today Anna and I left Jerusalem and set off across Israel in a rented car. This is quite an adventure for me as usually David is the one who does all the driving when we travel overseas. But, Anna wanted to see some parts of Israel she hasn't visited and so it's my "duty" to be the driver.
First we headed to Haifa

The city itself isn't that wonderful. It's a port town and there was lots of congestion. We did have an interesting experience with the Cat Lady of Haifa… this older woman was leaning over by our car feeding her "babies", about 10 local feral cats. She was totally oblivious to the fact that she was leaning on our car as I started it up. The cat that had jumped on the hood lazily decided to get off. There are no pictures because we were too intrigued watching her.

The story behind the title is that the GPS (which we have named Patricia) keeps on telling me to STAY LEFT. I think we've taken 5 right turns in the whole country! As usual, Anna does a great job of reading the maps, listening to "Patricia" and telling me where to drive. We've only had one screwup but more on that later.

Our next stop is Atta, a sleepier town that has great history. It seemed to be definitely non-tourist time as we almost had the mosque and the old town to ourselves. We enjoyed leisurely wandering. Unlike her mother, my children (Ben and Anna both) have an almost eirie ability to walk through places and remember exactly where they are and how to return to the starting point. Thank goodness because we wandered quite a bit.

To honor our family and friends, we stopped by the seaside and had a beer and toasted people in colder climates. Here are some photos of our walk.

We left Atta just at sundown and headed to our place of rest, Nazareth. As we were driving, I was thinking about how lucky we had been during the day with finding places to park, seeing interesting things and just having time to be together. Nothing monumental, just good times.

And then we arrived in Nazareth….

We actually got to turn RIGHT into the town and started what seemed to be a long dark ascent. It was a little creepy driving as there weren't many street lights. Up and down, around and around, through narrow streets we drove. Anna had us on the GPS and "Patricia" kept telling us where to go, but it was a little spooky. At one point Anna said "Maybe she's taking us on non toll roads". It made sense, although it was still creepy.

Down the hill to what appeared to be a parking lot (or auto repair shop lot). I turned right (again!) and headed up a road. Nope, it ended with a large cement barrier across the road. "You turned the wrong way" said Anna and "Patricia" (although I only heard my daughter) So I turned around and started over, turning where both ladies said I should. We ended up on top of the hill at a VERY FANCY (think Kuwaiti) home complete with security alarm, barking dogs AND bleating sheep (I kid you not)

What I didn't mention is that both of these times, we could SEE the hotel but couldn't figure out HOW to get to it! But, third time was the charm, and we ended our journey in a beautiful (least expensive hotel so far) space with a lovely swimming pool, marble floors and walls AND a fantastic Japanese choir singing by the pool!

Tomorrow we will see what historical sites we can find and then spend the evening in Tel Aviv where Anna will attend a cast party. I'm going to be having close conversations with my suitcase and see just how I can rearrange all my newest possessions….

Until the next time, here's a bit of sun for those of you in the Frozen Tundra

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