Horses in the Hippodrome at Caesarea

Trip Start Apr 01, 2011
Trip End May 27, 2011

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

We are leaving Tiberius today, and will be travelling around down the coast to Jerusalem.  We had our last meal at the hostel the usual matzos etc was available, we also had some left over cereal etc.  We headed straight to Caesarea and it was for once a pretty straight forward drive, the roads were a bit quieter being the sabbath.  We arrived at Caesarea at about 10.30 and went straight into the national park.  Cindy had rung a lady whose son they had met in New Zealand, and we were to be meeting her at the park.  We wandered around the site which is very large, and then went and watched the interactive displays and the film that they had there.  This was explaining the history of Caesarea which had been built by Herod the Great - it was an amazing feat of engineering for the day.  He had built huge walls to put the pilons in and used volcanic ash in frames, and then built the wall of the port on top of these.  He also built a palace, amphitheartre and hippodrome there along with the normal houses, shops, cardos, temples etc.  A lot of the area has been preserved quite well, and during the times of the crusaders the moat and walls were built and a lot of this is still standing.  After the film we saw some artwork that they made from plastic that had been made into a kind of fiber which is put onto a backing and poked into it with needles, once they have the picture how they want they use an implement with hundreds of needles which flattens it more.  Once the picture is completed it gets put through a machine with about 14000 needles which makes it completely flat - it looks like a painting but when you get closer you can see it's not.  Alexander bought a small one to bring home (let's just hope it stays in one piece).  Dina the lady Cindy had rang had arrived by now and we all went to the hippodrome to meet her.  She and her husband Yacov were both there and we spent some time with them.  In the hippodrome there was a horse show going on because it was the passover holiday.  There was alsorts of horse displays with people dressed in costumes, horse jumping and even a horse and chariot.  We watched this, which was an added bonus for the kids.  Then we saw the amphithearte which had a couple of actors doing some play - unfortunately it was all in Hebrew - but it was interesting to watch.  It was good to see them still using both the hippodrome and the amphitheartre, and not letting them become national heritage things.  After we had wandered the site a bit more we left with Dina & Yacov and went to the aqueduct.  This originally went from Mt Carmel all the way to Caesarea, and a reasonably large portion is still standing.  After a quick few photos, we moved onwards to go to get lunch.  Dina knew of an arab village which made good swaarmas and true to her word she found a really clean shop which made fantastic swaarmas.  So we were all filled and happy.  We then went with Dina & Yacov to a kibbutz that was closer to Caesarea than theirs.  They showed us around it, it was one of the biggest ones in Israel, and it was quite interesting to see, they basically all work and pool the money and only a portion is their own private funds - can't see that this would work in Australia.  After this quick tour, we got back in the car and made the trip back to Jerusalem.  We went straight to the old city as people wanted to get some last minute things from the souks.  So we all split into groups and wandered around for about 1 1/2 hours.  As it was the end of sabbath and passover there were absolutely thousands of people at the western wall. Unfortunately Alvin forgot where we were meeting, and so a bit of time was lost looking for him. I went with the older kids to the wall, for about 1/2 hour or so but there was nothing much happening, the others by this had located Alvin who had been waiting at the cars.  After this it was quite late - so we made our way to the hostel (as there was a shortage of accommodation - the hostel had put the kids in one, and the adults in another one - supposedly just up the road - which turned out to be quite a way up the road !!) We finally got the room keys for the rooms, and then went to the one where we were staying.  We then had an altercation with some lady who was getting agro about us being parked in her driveway - which had thought was a road, it was quite late and the kids were all tired an hungry.  We ended up pulling over in a park, and we made up some rolls for tea, of which we had had the forethought to buy in the arab village at lunch-time knowing that there would be no bread still in Jerusalem.  Then we packed the kids off to bed, and drove in one of the cars around to our hostel called the little house in the colony.  It was quite good, as was the kids hostel - a bit of a step up from the Tiberius hostel.  After a bit of messing around finding a park we then all packed it in for the night.
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