Day 5: Zichron Yaacov, Ramat Hanadiv
Trip Start May 14, 2008
42Trip End Jun 17, 2008
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Our first stop today is the Information Center in Zichron Ya'acov. Here, the two women take a local map and mark up where we should go and also call to see what is open. Unfortunately, the Ahronson House is only open for school tours today, but we can go to the First Aliyah Immigration Museum. I engage one woman who tells me about how she and her husband grew up on kibbutzim in the Galilee and have lived in Natanya, a large city to the south
We walk the main pedestrian street of Zichron and it feels like a quaint pretty town. Charming driveways and side yards full of flowers on display seem inviting; we walk them to check things out. On one for example, we find a handmade paper shop, Tut Neyar, in a courtyard. Interesting practical applications of artistic paper creations include lamp shades, wall hangings, and note cards. They are very creatively done.
Following our map, we walk into a building and are looking around, wondering why it is checked on our map. Someone walks up to us and asks if he can help us. We show him our map and he says that this really is quite an interesting building, but most likely it was checked off by mistake! He thinks it is the ugliest building in Zichron and perhaps that was why it is marked
Our next stop on the map is the Museum of the First Aliyah. This museum is dedicated to the Jewish immigrants who came to the land of Israel from 1882 to 1904. When we walk in a young woman and security guard greet us. We banter about being glad to be here and the young woman offers to go over all the things to see in Zichron! As we talk, we learn that she is pregnant and due in July. And as Harvey takes out his wallet to pay the admission fee, she notices our platinum MasterCard. She says that because of that, one person can be admitted for free. Since we each have platinum MasterCard's, we both get free admission! See that, we just saved 30 NIS! To start our visit to the museum, the security guard gives us an overview of the museum and instructions on how to proceed to the three floors of the building. This museum does an exceptional job of recreating the choices Jewish immigrants made first deciding to come to Israel and then the life they made learning to be farmers and building a life
It is time for refreshment, to help us absorb the First Aliyah museum. For this, we refer to a list of possibilities from our TripAdvisor forum member, Mabat (if you're reading this Mabat, thanks!). We walk down the main pedestrian street, the outdoor café with awnings of Alma, and its menu choices attract us. The sign is only in Hebrew - not English. But they have an English menu. We try the roasted sweet potatoes with a tahini and date honey sauce that was scrumptious. We also try the vegetarian lasagna with our mandatory side salad (we love the salads in Israel!).
After lunch we take a short drive to Ramat Hanadiv, a memorial garden for Baron de Rothschild. The landscaped grounds are an oasis of green trees from around the world as well as specific plant groupings such as a rose garden, an aromatic garden for the blind and a butterfly garden
There are many school groups here today. And we see three brides and grooms having their photos taken prior to their wedding tonight. This is the first time Harvey has a conversation with an Arab. He is the brother of one of the grooms and somehow they are communicating in Arabic, Hebrew, sign language and a little English. A smile goes a long way. We take photos of the brides. They pause and let us take their photos as well.
Today, as we lie down on benches in the shade of a tree, I think of the intention for Tuesdays: "The sun radiates and shines and expects nothing in return." I first heard this read over the radio as part of a eulogy for someone who had died and the announcer was describing how this person had tried to live their life. If you reflect on this simple statement, there is so much to learn! I think about unintended consequences and what I believe so much in - "the ripple effect". The very strong Israeli sun provides the energy for all these trees, plants and flowers to grow. The sun doesn't have any intention to do this, it just radiates and shines
Harvey leaves his hat where we had been lying on benches. He remembers this before we had left the grounds and it was still there. This presages some more serious episodes of forgetfulness in the next few days. We are now doing a "check, check, double check" whenever we move from place to place.
We return to Villa Carmel for a rest before dinner, sitting outside in the garden. Once again we end up in a delightful conversation with our hosts. We even get a demonstration by Prince the omnivorous canine. This dog actually eats carrots and apples.
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