Summertime (and the Living is Easy)

Summer is upon us (with a vengeance!) and court is in recess till September 1st. At work, we celebrated this with an overnight trip to Rosh Hanikra, in the Upper Galilee region. We stayed at the Rosh Hanikra Holiday Village, a few hundred metres from the Israel – Lebanon border. On the way up north, we stopped at Kehillat Beit El, a German Christian Zionist community, living in an urban kibbutz in Zichron Ya’akov. They have a choir, which entertained us in their dining room, performing choral settings of the Psalms (in Hebrew), a factory which produces all sorts of things, from air filters for gas marks, tanks and bomb shelters, to food products such as jams and preserves, chocolates and biscuits, to tablecloths and bed linen.
This trip was a gourmet’s delight. On arrival at Rosh Hanikra, the first thing we did was prepare a barbecue by the swimming pool. This lasted well until 4 pm. Time then to chill out by the pool, walk down to the seashore, or just rest until supper time (at 7.30 pm).
From my room, the nearest to the perimeter fence (we were on the border, after all), one could hear the waves breaking on the shore and watch the sunset over the Mediterranean.
Supper was the usual all-you-can-eat buffet (for those who still had room to stuff themselves – and there were indeed, not a few who could) and after supper, it was time for an evening of karaoke, with ear-splitting amplification. Attempts to draw Yours Truly into performing were gracefully warded off.
Breakfast the following morning was the typical Israeli hotel breakfast. That’s right – another all-you-can-eat buffet and then we set off for the day’s activity – kayaking on the Jordan River. The road from Rosh Hanikra, on the Mediteranean coast, to the Jordan River Valley, runs for some while along the Israel-Lebanon border and is spectacularly beautiful. By the time I had realised this and extracted my camera, we had passed the most beautiful parts, but I would like to share with you a few shots.
In fact, I used my little camera to take a short video clip, which I have uploaded to YouTube. The music is a setting by Sarah Levi-Tannai of a poem by Chaim Nachman Bialik, and has no real connection to the pictures, but I thought the music and the film went well together, so here it is. Enjoy!
By the time we reached Kfar Blum, where we were to go kayaking, it was hot – very hot. The thought of getting wet was tempting indeed. We had a choice of kayaks for two or rubber dinghies for three to five. As you can see, I chose the latter.
The trip starts out on the Hatzbani, one of the upper tributaries of the Jordan, which is relatively narrow and lined with very prickly vegetation (including wild raspberry bushes) in which we were constantly becoming entangled, because Dudu and Adi, at the oars, preferred to daydream rather than to row. They also preferred to engage in water fights with the crews of other boats, which somehow resulted in Yours Truly getting soaked to the skin long before the Hatzbani had joined the Jordan (it’s okay, I had been expecting it and was wearing a swimsuit). I tried to remain aloof but eventually was drawn in too – I have a bruise on my arm from an (accidental) blow with an oar to prove it !
We dried out quickly enough in the hot sun (somewhere in the upper 30s Celsius) and then it was on to Beit Shean for (you’ve guessed it) another gastronomical blowout. I will leave you with a picture of dessert …
                           … no doubt a gesture to Tu B’Av, the Jewish version of St. Valentine’s Day, which falls tomorrow (Monday).
And after that, it was home to Jerusalem, with the sun in the west painting everything golden all along the way…

About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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