Thursday, August 23, 2012

8/14-15/12: The Dreidle Said I Would Be Lucky In Love... I'll Take It!! Jerusalem and Caesarea

After a very full week of traveling all around Israel my sister and I had two more very important stops to make before she left to visit a friend in Ashkelon over the weekend. The first, and most meaningful for my sister who studied both history and is an avid Jerusalem lover, was a stop to the holy city to visit Yad Vashem (the Holocaust memorial museum) and the famed old city. Since I recently wrote a very in depth post about a trip I took to Yad Vashem I won't go into too much detail about what we saw, but it was just as powerful seeing it only a few weeks after my last visit.

My sister and I arrived to Jerusalem around 1pm and headed straight for the museum. We wanted to spend as much time there as possible so we waisted no time. I will say that the one difference between this trip and the group one I took only a few weeks before was that we could really take our time, read everything, and watch every survivor video account that they had. It was a hard day being at the museum, hearing the accounts of so many survivors that suffered the worst of human atrocities, but I was so glad my sister and I were able to do this together. It was a wonderful, albeit emotionally draining, experience.

Monument at Yad Vashem 

View from Yad Vashem 

Eating Brunch on Ben Yehudah before the Museum 

After we finished at the museum it was off to the Old City to explore the Arab shuk that I spent so much time in when I lived in Jerusalem 4 years ago. It was just as busy and chaotic as I remembered, and the intense heat of the mid afternoon combined with the fact that we were walking against what seemed like thousands of Muslims making their way down to the Dome of the Rock for afternoon prayers, but it really felt so great to be back. I love the Old City just as much as I did 4 years ago, and though I have become quite the Tel Avivit, I will always love going to visit Jerusalem. What luck for me that the two cities are only about an hour apart :-)

The walls of the Old City 

We are on our way!! 

Entrance to the Arab Shuk 

Our last big excursion took place the next day, and my sister and I were off to see the famed Roman ruins of Caesarea. It was a little rocky getting to the right location, but after some creative discussion with a cab driver who seemed to speak as little Hebrew as he did English, we were off to what I hoped was the correct destination. Always an adventure! As the cab pulled up to the entrance of the port of Caesarea I realized the cab driver knew where he was taking us and I was very pleased to see a familiar entrance (I had been there once before a year ago but still remembered it well). When we had paid the entrance fee we were off to grab a bite to eat and then walk around and see the ruins.

As we entered the port we were exposed to gorgeous stone structures built thousands of years ago against a backdrop of a most blue water you have ever seen. It was one of the most beautiful sites we had seen and though it was a bit of a rocky start we were very happy to be there.

Ruins at Caesarea 

After walking around for a few minutes we decided to grab a bit to eat and then do a bit more exploring. Neither of us ate any breakfast so we were quite ready for a good lunch. The thing about port cities such as Akko or Caesarea is that they have TO DIE FOR seafood so my sister and I decided to share a very delicious (albeit non kosher) seafood pasta filled to the brim with cream sauce, shrimp, calamari, and crab. Now, again, for those of you who know me, and I'm speaking mostly to my family right now, know that it would take something extreme to make me try crab. I have gone through life fairly convinced I hate the stuff even though I have never tried it. However, I thought, what the heck, when in Rome right?? I mean I was at Roman ruins :-) I took a bite of the meat from the shell and it was absolutely delectable; it was incredibly delicious. After I gave the OK my sister tried some as well and we immediately thought that our parents and grandparents would be so proud of us! The pasta was the perfect size for us to share, and upon our completion of the meal we decided to walk around and see some more of the ruins.

About half way along the boardwalk we came to a section where the ruins ended and some little shops and stores began. Remembering that good friends advised us to go into a rather famous Dreidle (the tops that we spin during Chanukkah) shop we found where it was and decided to pop in for a visit. When we first entered there was no one in the store and before we could even ask any question the lady behind the counter told us we needed to each spin a Dreidle. Lucky for us these dreidles were blessing dreidles and we were supposed to be blessed with luck based on what it landed on. Well it must have been my day because my Dreidle spin landed right smack in the middle of Love and Health and I was soon informed that I would be lucky in both areas! JOY!!! Everyone can use a little luck in love and health every once in a while so I guess mine is coming soon (and by soon I'm thinking the end of October when a certain someone returns from 2.5 months abroad).

When we had looked around the whole shop and the gorgeous hand made dreidles, hamsas, and other pieces of Judaica, we decided to spend a little more time looking at the ruins before heading back home. It was a perfect day and a great last out of town excursion. Despite the fact that we, again, had to wait probably an hour to get a cab to take us back to the train station (just our luck), it was a fantastic adventure!

View from our Restaurant 

Until we meet again! Stay tuned for my post on my step sister's birthday extravaganza and Elana's last few days in Israel!

Lilah Tov ya Chaverim,
Jordana Simone

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