|The view from the top. Mediterranean scrub. It is what it is.|
We set off early on Wednesday morning for the obligatory hike and picnic. I described the Israeli obsession with hiking here and gave my views about it. I don't need to go into it again. Suffice to say I've not changed my mind but we don't have a car so we have to go with the flow to some extent.
We went to Guvrin National Park which is a full of ancient ruins, houses, cisterns, and caves in the Judean Hills. We trekked a bit and every so often there was a ruin where everyone climbed down into the underground cistern to look. I don't do climbing so I stayed above ground and sat under a carob tree to wait.
|This solitary house was once part of a whole village in the hillside.|
That's a carob tree on the right.
My friend showed me that you can pick a carob pod, break it in half and chew the inside (you discard the beans). It's delicious. I always thought you had to cook them somehow first.
Some of the solitary houses we saw were once part of a whole village built into the hillside. Originally each house had an underground cistern to catch the rain water and the cisterns were connected by tunnels. This meant that the water was shared and also that the people could walk between the houses without going outside.
|DD in a carob tree.|
From there we drove to our kibbutz guesthouse and spent the afternoon at their beautiful pool which we had almost to ourselves (probably because all the other Israelis were out hiking in the mountains). And in the evening we drove to a nearby town for shnitzel or felafel and chips. The children played and eventually went to bed. We sat outside and drank coffee until late. I love this part of our trips the best.
|The Soreq caves are magical.|
I went to this cave about 25 years ago and DD went last year on a school trip. It's a strange concept that you know every Israeli adult on the tour had visited this place before. Imagine if you went to Cheddar Gorge, for example. You wouldn't assume that every British adult you saw there had been there before. Israel is a small country and it's part of the education and national psyche to visit and learn about every inch of it.
|These formations are between 1 million and 10 million years old.|
One drop of water can take two months to drip.
One mm of rock can take about 100 years to form.
And then home for a rest before a birthday party in the park down the road. There was food and beer for the adults. Home at 7.45, straight into bed for a chapter of Harry Potter, and asleep by 8.30 - both of us.