Sukkot in Israel: Day 3, Caeserea National Park, the Aqueduct and Mager


Shuki’s cabin (Czarina Cabin) in Caesarea

Friday, October 6, 2017

Our internal clock was completely off today. We all seemed to wake up around 2 o’clock in the morning. All at the same time. Shuki’s garden lights were on so from my bed I thought it was daytime, but when I peaked out the window the sky was black.

To us it was daytime.

We turned the lights in the cabin on and sat in bed. While we talked we ate Shuki’s chocolate wafers and his milk (which tasted sour…not sure if that’s how Israelis like it) and talked about how hard the trip over here was on us.

Isaac has been saying that we have to stay long enough in Israel to forget the ride over, because it’s going to be very hard to get back on the plane and do it all over again. Perhaps the reason people don’t want to leave Israel once they get here is because the travel over is so nasty. LOL!!

We finally got a little bit tired again, turned the lights out and went back to sleep. It was so nice to lay flat.

It felt like we could’ve slept a long time. The girls slept hard while Isaac and I got up around 7:30 am and begin getting ready to go to start exploring Caesarea (which later I was corrected – it is pronounced “K-sar-ea.” Maggie slept right under us as we packed. She was so tired. Honestly, whe’s horrible to travel with. She’s been that way since she was 4 days old and we had to put her in the car seat to take her home from the hospital. She screamed and cried so much I had to take her out of the car seat and hold her to get her home. She didn’t stop crying till the movement stopped. It’s the same today at age 18.


The garden outside of Shuki’s cabin the night we arrived.

Shuki’s Czarina Cabin was pretty small so it was hard to get all our bags opened to deal with stuff, but we did. It’s ok. We don’t mind. We just were glad to be done traveling and in Israel. He’s pretty proud of the cottage him and his dad built. It is cute and I really loved the rain shower in his bathroom. The little garden area in front of our door with the lemon tree, the birds and the first rain of the season last night all made up for the smallness of the cabin. Shuki told us that none of his guests had ever experienced the rain while staying with him. Hasassah and Isaac heard the rain and got up in the middle of the night to look outside… I slept through it. According to Shuki we brought the rain with us! Perfect for Sukkot.

Isaac began to haul our baggage to the car. When he didn’t come back for a long time, I went looking for him. I took the path that Shuki had led us in on last night. And there, around the corner was Shuki and Isaac talking. Shuki smoking a cigarette and happy to chat. His mom stood there at a little distance. It was really neat to meet Shuki’s mom, Lea. This was their home. The cabin was in their backyard, basically. We stood outside their home as Shuki smoked (they both smoke, I think a lot of people smoke here in Israel) and talked about why no one can own a gun in Israel, how much it is to get a building permit in Caeserea, why he built his cabin the way he did etc. He built his cottage like a boat because he served in the Navy. He said it costs $50,000 and many years to get a building permit in Caesarea. He is working on another cottage that’s two stories to rent out. But when I told him I was confused as to if his cabin was a smoking one or not when I reserved it he said, “no one smokes inside my home or cabin…ever!”

I came to Israel with lots of gifts to give away because Papa said don’t come to his Feasts empty-handed. I plan on giving a gift away day. I have no idea who the Ruach will have me give them to. I’m a little embarrassed for some reason. I don’t know why. The gifts I brought are things I’ve spent my life creating from what I’ve learned and lived out.

Papa likes my gifts.

My first gift I gave was to Shuki and his mom. It was my Mastery of Matzah Cookbook. Part of me worries they won’t like me anymore after they read about the Messiah and know what eating of matzo has to do with him. What does brother Judah do when they find out someone believes in Yahshua? I don’t know yet. They received my gift very graciously and with much surprise. That was the reaction I got from everyone I gave to. Most people were taken away to get a gift from a random friend from America. (Shuki called us later and went on and on about how wonderful my book was and how him and his mom had read it through. They loved the pictures and how I describe what Matzah is for. I think if I do this again I will bring the “Go Feast CardGame” and my Matzah book. Those are easy to give away and use to connect with brother Judah without offending right off the bat.)


Shuki and his mother, Lea and the Sukkot gift I left them.

Lea couldn’t believe I was as old as I am. And thinks Maggie is just beautiful! She wants to see a real Indian tipi, mountain lakes and our cabin. She wants me to come back next time and stay longer with her and she’ll take me to her brother and show me how he makes wine. She wants the hope that all the land will return to the Jews and trusts God to do it. Shuki just wants peace at any cost. According to Shuki Caesarea is the most American village in Israel. After visiting, I think Tel Aviv is.


Beautiful Maggie outside the cabin on the walkway.

Somewhere around 10:00 we left their little wonderful, safe and cute cottage behind the fence in their backyard and went to Caesarea National Park. When we got there we were starving. Isaac took a wrong turn, so I thought. But at the end of the road was a little cafe, Sophie’s. Inside, a couple and a single man on opposite sides of the room were having coffee. The couple was talking rapidly in Hebrew. They didn’t even know we were there. Hadassah went to sit on a couch, but she quickly got shooed off to a table by the owner. I guess those couches were for sale.

Her name is not Sophie, but I’ll call her Sophie. I couldn’t see a menu to order from. I wasn’t sure if she made food or just served drinks. But I asked and she pointed to some cheese bourekah’s. She said she could make those with salad. I agreed. We sat down at a table while she made us breakfast. Initially she brought us sliced eggs, cheese boureka’s, Israeli salad. Then she just kept making us more food and bringing it to us on large trays. Tuna, different bread, falaffl, labanah cheese with olive oil and spices. We like how they eat here! After an hour of eating we were all alone in the café with Sophie. We were stuffed. This was our first meal in Israel. It was good.


Our first breakfast in Israel. Israeli salad, eggs and cheese bourekas.


Bread, tuna with spices, falafl with tahini sauce

Since the cafe was right next to the entrance of the national park we could see that the tour buses began rolling in. I heard you should get to your destinations early in the day to avoid lines. So we finally said goodbye to Sophie and made our way over to Caesarea National Park.

We bought a three park pass for each of us (because we plan on going to Ein Gedi National Park next week and a pass will make it cheaper). We also rented 1 really cool pair of visual goggles to help us see the ruins in their glory. As we walked around there would be flags signaling that you should put the goggles on and look around. It was a 3-D program where they had reconstructed what that area would have looked like. They literally “built” in cyber space the palace, amphitheater and pool! You could see the color, the roof, the walls, the tapestry and the grandeur of the place. You could see people in period clothes doing period things. Hadassah absolutely loved those goggles! I think they were the highlight of her entire stay. She put them on at different spots in the park and exclaimed very loudly, “oh, wow!!!” She didn’t want to take them off! At the end of our exploring we returned the googles and found out that the young man who was providing them was the actual man who developed them. He told us it was a pretty long and intense process to do because of having to get the authorities (University professors) to approve everything to make sure it was correct. If you go, get the goggles!


Caesarea National Park


The family at the park. You can see Herod’s pool in the background.

The park was wonderful, but soon we just wanted to get in the Mediterranean Sea because it was so hot out and the sun was so bright! It was teasing us, so we left the park and went to the Aqua Duct Beach. This is a public beach and free. After parking in it’s free parking lot and changing into our swim suits, we went out between the arches to find that there was a sandy beach in front of a guard tower to swim in the ocean. They have designated swim spots with lifeguard towers. You can take your own risk and swim in other places, but you can be sure they will yell at you in the swim spot for no apparent reason.

We put our towels under a structure for shade (which reminded me of my childhood when we would go to Central Oregon to swim on the Indian reservation at Kayneeta Hot Springs). I’m so glad that I remembered to pack towels! I don’t like the new swimsuit I bought for the trip. There’s too much fabric. That may sound funny to you, but I have issues. Thankfully, I brought another one for the Dead Sea. I’ll wear that next time.


Aqueduct Beach just a little drive up from the National Park.


Hadassah and I in the warm Mediterranean Sea at the Aqueduct Beach, Caesarea


The arches at the beach

I think this is Isaac’s favorite part of today… getting in the water and playing in the warm waves with the girls. We couldn’t believe that we are playing in the Mediterranean ocean! Such amazing and warm water! Maggie finally had some fun and enjoyed herself. I think it took getting immersed in the water to really realize where we were and to help her calm down. A lifeguard yelled at me and Hebrew so I went up to him and looked up in the booth and said, “I don’t speak English. What did you say?” He repeated it again in English. We were just to stay close to shore and more North. It was a very small swimming area with ropes that defined it, but somehow we were not supposed to be near the south ropes. He asked where we were from and I said, “Idaho, in America.” At the end of the day a strange man came up to us and asked, “you’re from Idaho?” I guess it’s a small world around here and news travels fast…

On most beaches we were at there was a pull string shower with fresh water to rinse off with. This one was right in front of one of the aqueduct arches. We used a few times. After about a couple hours more more groups of young men begin to show up. They came with boomboxes and the lifeguards shooed them away down the beach to another part. When we decided to leave I went back to the beach to video a little bit of our experience and realized that as evening was approaching these groups of young men were coming out to party. So it was good for us to leave then.


The arches. Unfortunately there was trash all over at the base of this. 😦

While I was doing the video I looked down and realized how trashy the beach actually was. All along the aqueduct people had left their trash on the ground. There was lots of garbage cans around, but obviously people don’t use them. The pictures people take of this area don’t reveal how dirty the beach and sand is. To me this is a major tragedy. It speaks of a people that don’t care, have no sense of pride or respect for nature or for that matter Yahweh’s land. But thankfully, there was no trash in the National Park and Shuki’s neighborhood was very really clean. That was nice!

We left this area happy. We put in our coordinates for the Kibbutz Kadarim Cottages into the Wade app on our iphone and began driving to our next stay.

Eating became an issue. As we left we assumed that we would be able to find a grocery store on the way to the cottages before Shabbat. But we had trouble finding a store close to the freeway. I think we need to know Hebrew. The stores don’t look anything like at home in Coeur d’Alene. So, we weren’t sure what was what.

One of the tires got low so we stopped to fill it up. Isaac asked a local about a supermarket, but left the conversation more confused then he was when he went into it. We finally just drove to the gate at the Kibbutz. We were all super hungry, but we decided to get into the cabin and then deal with the food issue. At the gate, which looked really military, we tried to figure out how to get in. I finally figured out that this was the gate I was supposed to call Tomer from. The car behind us drove up beside us to help. A nice man (Nadav), lady and kid knew Tomer. They helped us by leading the way through the gate to the parking area. They told us of a market we could go to that was open on Erev Shabbat in an Arab village nearby. They gave us their phone number if we needed anything and left to their home in the Kibbutz.

A man named “Freddie” (yeah, right) in a salmon colored t-shirt was waiting for us at the parking area just as Tomer said he would be. Freddie helped us haul our luggage down the boardwalk to the cabin and checked us in. We paid then.

I was very anxious to get to the market before sunset, but it didn’t look like that was going to happen. Freddie gave us directions to a supermarket about 30 minutes away. Nadav had told us about one that was 15 minutes away in Mirar. After Freddy left we decided that it was safe and so we left the girls in the cabin to unpack as we went to the market. I didn’t see another option. I wasn’t taking them after dark to an Arab Market on Erev Shabbat! The Kibbutz had a fence all the way around it and there were other cabins with guests in them all around us. It felt very safe. Of course, Maggie wasn’t very happy with staying there alone, but we felt it was fine. I got dressed differently to make sure I would not be saying the wrong thing.

Isaac and I drove in the dark to a place we’ve never been before and never thought we would go on Shabbat! But our stomach’s were growling so we prayed and braved the adventure. We drove up into this village on a hill and saw the “Best Center” super market that we needed to go to. There was no parking. Ok, there was a parking lot, but only enough room for 10 cars. There were 20 in there and a few trying to get in and out. Thankfully, there was curb-side parking. We locked the car and held hands and we walked through the car jam past all the outside stuff for sale and into the market.

Culture shock! I couldn’t believe we were there when we were there. Isaac left me in the produce section to get a shopping cart. Their carts look like our kinda except that they roll both ways. They roll front to back and side to side. I think that is because they must not think in a linear manner, but in a manner that says, “anything goes.” I got some avocados. For 2 weeks we lugged them around Israel hoping they would ripen. They never ripened. Tomer told me later that he likes to go to the Market instead of the supermarket because the produce and products are better quality. Now I agree. But you can’t get corn flakes at the Market! We had cornflakes and grapes when we got home.

While we were shopping trying to read the labels, a nice man and then the owner saw that we were struggling to read and find things so they helped us through the strange shopping experience. The ladies who were shopping were less amused that we were there and would’ve physically removed us if they could, I think. The owner gave us some baklava on our way out with a smile! I sure do wish I had a picture of him he was very nice! I bought things like fruit, cereal, olive oil, yogurt, milk, eggs, potatoes, tortillas, cheese (their cheese is not like our cheese! It does not melt and it’s very salty and it almost tastes like it’s going bad) and catchup and some juice. This market had very little bread. The bread it did have was not wrapped, but was tossed in a big basket or box. Flies were all over them. I did find some flatbread in a bag but it was or more like puffy flatbread. This would be our challah for tonight. We are kinda messed up with schedule. But we tried to acknowledge the weekly Shabbat even while jet-lagged and confused.

The olive oil we bought there was some of the best olive oil I’ve ever tasted and it was so cheap!

We were happy to leave, but felt better about it after the 2 nice men helped us out. I’m so thankful we decided to get 6 liters of water before we left. We really needed that later. We got back to the cabin within probably about an hour and ate cereal and huge grapes while sitting on the porch looking at the full moon of Sukkot.

We finally went to bed, hunger now controlled. This was another very crazy long day.


About Lady Rebekah

The Happy Hippy Hebrew Girl :-)
This entry was posted in Israel, the Land and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s