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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Age Old Adventures

 In the last 3,000 years, we were about the last ones to discover Caesarea.
Having flown into Tel Aviv, we took a train into the city where we had booked an apartment for one night. We found train, bus and taxi to take us there. No key as promised so we woke up the manager by calling on a borrowed cell phone. Turned out the key was hiding in a couch, not in the mailbox where we were told we would find it.

It was a bit of a shabby place but served its purpose. The next morning, our first in Israel, we walked along the beach of the Mediterranean Sea to Old Jaffa - a beautiful sea port, with thick walls and crooked little streets.
After a shake of fresh oranges, melon and banana, we collected our luggage and took a small bus (almost too small for our large backpacks) to the bus station where we headed north to the kibbutz. We had kindly been invited by someone we’ve never met, to stay here in a small cottage. Kibbutz Sdot Yam turned out to be a lovely park setting dotted with houses and schools. Lots of little children and dogs run rampant. Our little cottage is run down but cute - with a comfy bed and a tiny kitchen. We picked up soup, bread, tea and other essentials and love having our own little place here.

The beach is gorgeous. I even had a little swim. On Wednesday, we set out to explore the area and discovered that we are right in an area that has been highly contested by many civilizations.
Some 2,000 years ago, ruling Roman emperor Herod decided it was an ideal location for a port. He had walls and a fortress built here, and a complete city with baths, towers, an amphitheater and more.

Subsequently, Jews fought to control the city, and were conquered by Byzantine armies, who were overthrown by Muslims, and then by Crusaders. Others came and went. Walls fell down. Towers caved in and were restored. Synagogues made way for cathedrals that were razed in favor of mosques.

Roman columns lay strewn everywhere
Now, the crumbling walls and remnants of this age old city called Caeasarea, is in the backyard of Kibbutz Sdot Yam. We walked along the old seats of the amphitheater and the arena where chariots used to race. Marble columns lay strewn among building blocks of coral. A great movie and a fantastic hologram display explained the history to us and introduced us to rabbis and emperors throughout the ages. Caesarea is a National Park we much enjoyed.
I feel 18 again as we backpack around Israel.

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