Monday, 29 August 2011

The Sea of Galilee

Sadly the summer is coming to an end. I don't mean the weather - it is still hot, hot, hot over here - but rather the lazy mornings, fun outings, swimming, touring and frozen yoghurt consumption that are part of summer holidays. The boys are going back to school on Thursday and I am feeling a little sad about it (though I must admit it will be nice to get back to my crafting).
We have had an amazing time over the school holidays. I have gotten a little behind with my blogging but hope to post many photos here from our various mini breaks. I'm going to kick off now with pictures from our trip up north, to the Kinneret, or The Sea of Galilee, Israel's largest freshwater lake.
We stayed in wonderful kibbutz accommodation in the Lower Galilee area, where the Kinneret is situated. The Lower Galilee is the southern part of the Galilee. It's called "Lower" since it is less mountainous than the Upper Galilee, yet the landscape is greener, with forested hills, fertile valleys and gushing springs. It is also is a history-soaked region where scores of events in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament took place.
The few days we were in the area we visited the delightful Gan Garoo, a beautifully landscaped park that features a variety of animals and plants, all of which are native to Australia. We all fell in love with the cuddly koala and the kangaroos which move around freely in a specially designated area.
The same day we visited Sachne, known in Hebrew as Gan HaShlosha (literally "Park of the three"). Sachne is a series of natural pools fed by hot springs and a stream with mini waterfalls.  Although the water is warm, it is amazingly cool and refreshing on a hot summer's day. The pools are pretty deep and the kids had a blast. After experiencing our somewhat overcrowded local pool, swimming in the pools at Sachne was simply a dream for us all.
On another day we kayaked down the River Jordan. At times the current kept us moving but we also had to use our paddles too. The kids naturally wanted to race against each other even though I tried to point out that we were missing the gorgeous scenery that way. The thick riverbank vegetation was delightful, unless you happen to be heading straight into it with your kayak!
Further outings saw us making chocolates at the delightful Galita's Chocolate Farm. The Farm is housed in a beautiful old stone building that was originally the first cowshed of Kibbutz Deganya Bet, some 85 years ago. A film told us the story of chocolate, from the fruit on the tree to the praline in our mouths. The kids soon set to work making - and sampling - chocolate treats which were truly delicious (if you can forget just how much they have been 'handled'!!!).
We visited an ostrich farm on the shores of the Kinneret, though delightful as the animals were, the place has seen better days, and took a jeep tour around the hills and through the streams near Moshav Ramot. The sights were magnificent!
One evening we indulged and ate dinner at the truly incredible Decks restaurant. We were given a table on the deck overlooking the Kinneret and the skyline of Tiberias. The food was good and I got to taste St. Peter's Fish, straight from the Sea of Galilee. It was a little expensive, but the atmosphere of the place made up for it. Pizza was on the menu the following evening to put things right.
For those interested in Christianity, the area has a lot to offer. We did not visit those sites on this occasion. There was simply too much to do. For sure we'll be back there another time to enjoy the great views and fascinating history of this special place.


Meeling said...

Looks wonderful!! Sounds like you've had an amazing summer with your kids...I love how much you do with them.

Enjoy your quieter moments now as school gets back and you can craft to your hearts content!!

Doda said...

Hi, that really makes we want to comeback on holiday to Israel! It's been way too long since I was last there!!