Saturday, April 13, 2013

The north coast of Israel with my parents (Part 1)

The Baha'i Gardens are one of the most prominent sites in Haifa
This post is out of order again. This takes place about a week before the post about the cave, when only my parents were here and my siblings hadn't arrived yet.

Caroline and I were so excited to welcome my parents to Israel when they came to visit. We wanted to show them all around Haifa and the places we would go for our daily lives, and also to tour some other cities in the area with them.

My parents were not staying in Haifa, because they were able to stay at the apartment of our good friends in Caesarea, about 40 minutes south (thanks Snitzers!). Caroline and I got on the train to head down there to stay for the weekend. We had a nice Shabbat dinner with mostly delicious food. There was only one small problem.

My dad and I had been tasked with buying ice cream for dessert. We went to a small corner store, and many things were already covered up if they were not kosher for passover, because the holiday was starting in just a few days. No problem, we found the ice cream freezer and picked out a good flavor. But then at the last minute, I switched it to a different flavor without checking it carefully. When we went to open it after dinner, we found that it was non-dairy and kosher for passover. Terrible! My dad and I choked down a few bites to make it seem tolerable, but overall we didn't make much progress on it.  
I don't know why this was there, but I guess there must have been some giant statue originally.
The next morning we went to the Caesarea national park, with ruins dating back to the start of the common era. Caesarea had been the major port town on the coast of the Roman province of Palestine, originally built in order to attract traders from the spice route to come through this port instead of Alexandria in Egypt. The ruins are pretty well preserved and displayed and you could really envision yourself back in Roman times. Honestly, I've also been reading and watching Game of Thrones lately, and being able to refer in my mind to that fantasy world actually helped me imagine how things would have worked in these Roman ruins.

This ancient theater has been somewhat restored, though a few rows of the original stone seats remain so you can see them. The view faces out onto the ocean; it's beautiful! They hold concerts here in the summer, so maybe we will go.
Here you can see the view. I always think the color of the Mediterranean is so beautiful.

I think this floor is original, or at least parts. Maybe the more broken tiles in the bottom of the photo...
The Romans sure knew how to relax!
There were GIANT waves crashing on the rocks. Here you can see the spray going up higher than the building!
Caroline climbed up into an old Roman aqueduct while my dad looked on. We heard that the aquaduct only dropped about 30m over the course of about 30km. Amazing engineering!
OK, I'm out of time for tonight but I want to share this with you, so this post is to be continued...!

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