Four days, two nights
Years ago in the history of this blog, I was posting about some BMA or another and lamenting my lack of perfect dedication to the art of mothering, or something like that. One of my erstwhile commenters then commented that judging by this blog, it was clear that "mothering is your life!"
Well... I still don't know about that. I was talking last night with another friend who, like me, didn't have her kids 9 months and a sneeze after the wedding, and we were discussing how it's really hard to get into the swing of full time, full day mothering (her kids, like mine, are out at various caregivers from a very young age). And now, when it's been vacation (what another friend jokingly calls the 'onesh hagadol' (big punishment) as opposed to the 'chofesh hagadol' (big vacation))... well, it's not simple and it's not easy.
All this is leading up to why, for the first time since Sarah Rochel was born, I was quite ready for our gala 4 days, 2 nights vacation away from our precious gifts from Hashem. The idea of driving without talking to the backseat, of getting in the car without diapers, wipes, toys, books, the concept of everyone on a trip having excellent bladder control, the blissfulness of going to sleep and only getting up when you yourself want to... I wouldn't want my everyday life to change, but golly gee was it a nice break.
We first went to Beit Shearim and checked out the ancient catacombs, where humorously I noted they have more ancient things now than when I was there in seminary. We had a great time going through the cold, dank caves (a nice change from the blistering sun outside). Cool stuff. Then we went to Teveria and ate lunch - Yoav had a fish which I think had been swimming in the Kineret the day before. We then went up north and checked into the tzimmer we'd be sleeping in - wo. Next up was a orchard tour and fruit picking - that was a TON of fun (we ate probably 10 plums apiece just standing next to the trees), and really interesting to see the entire mechanism they use to accomodate the agricultural halachos (see the slide show) and the computerized sorting machine to divy up the fruit by size and weight. We picked our own plums to take home too, and once Yoav maasered (tithed) them (the ones you eat next to the tree you don't have to maaser) we proceeded to munch on them for the rest of our trip. We then hit a grocery store (where I bought canned crushed tomatoes to take home because, you see, when you find a desireable grocery item, you purchase it, even on vacation), got dinner supplies to augment our leftovers from lunch, and went back to our 'rustic' cabin. Oh, the tzimmer. It was beautiful, lovely frigid air conditioning, big jacuzzi (the jacuzzi: official mandatory accessory of tzimmers all over Israel), hammock outside - oh, I could stay there for, roughly, forever. Well, until some little sugar ants got into the yummy cereal we bought the day before. Sigh.
Next day we started at the Hula Valley Reserve - we went on a 9 kilometer bike ride around the lake. I haven't been on a bicycle since I got my driver's license!! But it was, pardon the expression, just like riding a bike, and we had a drop dead totally awesome time. I had forgotten how amazing wind-generating exercise is. It was plenty hot, but I wasn't hot because I had the constant breeze from riding, you know? The wildlife and view were gorgeous, and we had a fantastic time.
And then I had ice cream, because as all tourists in Israel know, you haven't really done an activity until you've purchased something from the kiosk at the end. Nestle Crunch ice cream bar - man, when was the last time I had one of those? 1995?
Next up was the Golan Heights Winery, where I'd never been before. The organized tour was very well done, and the free tasting at the end was ample. Hiccough. Then to Katzrin, where we bought some pizza and ice coffee - sops up the alcohol. Our last stop then was tubing on the Yarden river. We brought our own tubes (10 NIS each), parked on the side of the highway, walked for about 45 minutes through a bunch of cows, then jumped in the river and floated back to our car. SO much fun, and a lot cheaper than going to one of the kayaking / tubing places and paying for the privledge of using their launch.
Sodden, dripping and tired, we stopped at a rest stop to change into dry clothes, then wearily drove home, arriving about 10 PM, where I believe both kids were still waiting for us. I blissfully, extatically nursed Shulamis, and - eventually - everyone went to sleep.
That was Thursday night. Monday morning we left again! Back up north, this time we went to Tzfat for lunch, then went to a private session with a pyrography artist, where she showed us how to do wood burning and Yoav and I made our own piece of artwork, together. Aw. It was really very fun (Yoav had never done it before - I had, but the last time was when I was 8) and it was in Nof Kineret, a gorgeous little suburb south of Tzfat with Stunning and Did I Mention Stunning Views. Then it was time to go even norther, and right around Kiryat Shemona we stopped at Tzuk Menara, were we rode an alpine coaster. We then rushed to our hopeful accomodations, for you see, we had no reservations and the hotel had said - just come, we have rooms. So feeling quite sketchy, we walked into a hotel and asked for a room. Fortunately, they had several, and offered us the cheapest they had (when we had already agreed to pay a higher rate) - and it was great! We love the Alaska Inn in Metula - highly recommended. (Oddly enough, their site doesn't have pictures of the cheap rooms they offer - but they were still great, immaculately clean even if somewhat rough around the edges. But a major bargain!)
But - we couldn't stay, because we were off to a special night tour (by lantern light!) of Mivtzar Nimrod. Oh, wow. Wow. It was historically fascinating and really fun and totally, utterly cool. Alas, the complimentary hot tea, coffee and baklava at the end of the tour weren't kosher. We left there about 11 PM or so, and went back to our great hotel. Did I mention free wifi? Score!
The next day we went to the Hermon! (Wow, wikipedia says it's in the 'anti-Lebanon mountain range' - is that a political statement?) It was gorgeous - we rode the ski lift up and walked around. Now, snow woulda been a LOT nicer, but the wind blowing up there was cold. One didn't get cold, because the sun is still plenty strong up there, but it was like standing in a sunbeam next to the air conditioning.
We stopped off at the Naot factory store, but didn't buy anything (we had been there the day before three minutes after they closed), tried to see the Oaf-phoria (oaf = hebrew for fowl) exhibit in Hula but got there five minutes after the last one started, ate lunch and then went to play mini-golf in Kibbutz Farod. Speaking of things I hadn't done since I was a kid, sheesh!
And then we came home, where Sroch had waited up to show us the big Happy Anniversary sign she made us and to sing likewise. Llama was asleep but all of Srochel's stalling woke her, so once again I could happily nurse.
Phew! That's it!
The kids did WONDERFULLY with their Saba and Savta, baruch Hashem!! Hurray for family!
I should so stick a hidden bonus something in here to see if anyone is still reading, like Yoav and I had matching tattoos put on during our vacation, but nah.
(Okay, HOW amazing is my husband for arranging all of that???)