By Louis the Scooterer
The travels of Louis the Scooterer, a retired former South African who has found an unusual way of getting to know Israel.
Part Twelve – “A little north, a little west, a little east…then a lot north”…then sunset, then night time.
After leaving hydro electric plant we are back on main road going north pass industrial areas and a couple of kibbutsim which we won’t visit now.
As we see the south end of Lake Kinerret (Sea of Galilee) for the first time in front of us… I notice a tourist INFO office in a shopping complex, and make my way to that..while all my passengers ran to different restaurants and kiosks to buy something to eat..I collected a handful of interesting brochures and deciding immediately that we will go first to Moshav Kinerret on opposite direction to our main plan.
We will pass several important kibbutzim on our left side and several venues on the water edge, and arrive at the bridge where Kinerret flows again south as Jordan River,..and make our way to the area known as Yardenit, on the Jordan River..
supposedly for a coffebreak and relax on the quiet river edge in beautiful surroundings..with high trees and ducks in the water and birds all around.
But wait..hey..wow ..theres action in front of us as many worshippers dressed in white robes are making their way down a series of steps to enter the water preparing to be baptised..in the Jordan River..this is incredible luck for us to find this event as we arrived…
After reading the various posters about the place, and watching the ceremony and each participant being dunked in the water ..while onlookers and worshippers sing hymns and pray together with the various religious leaders among them..
and many pics are taken by everybody including me..
After a while and a coffee on the large terrace we make a quick visit into the “tourist shop” crammed with thousands of religious objects and ornaments and watch as tourists select and then wait in line at the cashier counter..to pay..
I guess we could call the place “a religious artifacts supermarket”.
Time to leave ..lets go before the buses start pulling out and clogging the narrow road back to the bridge….(many things to see and places to visit in the immediate areas on future travels…like the date plantations and driedfruit minimarket for tourists just up the road.)
Continue to the west up route 98, a lovely scenic drive with neighbouring Jordan on the other side of the fence, we get to Khamat Gader and condense our stay, to enjoy some swims in the various hot and cold water swimming pools and some relaxing in the sun..
http://www.hamat-gader.com/hamatVirtGalleries.php?linkOrder=41 (or google to other sites)
then maybe a coffee n snack and take a walk to see the crocodile farm.. and then move out. It would be very easy to spend a couple of days relaxing in this incredible place.
On to the uphill winding scenic road we make several short stops to see views and take pics..(Hamat Gader now way down below us !)..then on top of the plateau the road straightens out and we begin to see glimpses of Lake Kinerret, and when we drive into Kibbuts Mevo Khama..we are in for a unique experience.
On my very first scooter visit here I met Elaine who works in the office at plastic factory..
and when she and the security were satisfied that I was a scooterer visiting everywhere, she invited me to drink tea with her and some staff at the large plastic factory on the kibbuts.. then… she pointed me to go to the back of the kibbutz, to find a special spot on a metal platform, from where the entire Kinneret can be seen
Surely a unique experience from that unique spot..thanks Elaine…and as luck would have it that was a perfect haze free day..thanks again…and for the plastic gifts.
A quick stop a bit further and another view from Shalom observation point viewsite..in Kfar Kharuv, a place that caters for b/b and every Friday will be full to capacity.. and empties out late Saturday until the following Friday.
Through to Afik kibbuts..here I met a young woman working in reception, where on the wall is large photo of Afik holiday cottages. While doing her time in the army.. she was a leader at Sar-El, so we had much to talk about..she sent me to a viewsite that is also magic..sighting the hills n valleys bordering Afik..every old building and monument has interesting stories and I guess a one night stayover will be many hours of adventure with someone from the kibbutz able to tell about the places.
Then down the road to a winery at Eliad,
where we were invited to view the current art exhibition and taste wines.
(I had visited on previous occasions, once having been invited to a tour of the winery and lunch with a few other important guests…that was a marvellous invite, where again I felt embarrassed, as me and my scooter were discussed more than the wines and grapes. I have been back a couple of times to chat and take lunch with the owners and workers.
More quick decisions as to which route to take next.. and I decide to go to Gamla..(I can envisage that we will be in these Kinerret areas for several upcoming chapters) and will try not to backtrack where we have already visited.
It is not possible to stop at every kibbuts and industrial area on our route to Gamla..(altho I have done that on my scooter..scooted in and around and often do not see another person to ask ..Often I have done those rides on a Saturday when many areas are seemingly deserted.)
On one occasion I scooted into a kibbuts Avnei Eytan and rode around. I saw a summer-holiday-camp that had been closed after the season..sleeps a few hundred people in Red Indian style tepees ..but the guard spoke no English..so no explanations. And at the same time, a little further on, I came to hot-houses where flowers and fruit are grown, and the man in charge showed me around and althoogh he spoke no English ..we communicated ?
Drive into Gamla Nature Reserve and receive brochures and learn something about the place..
visit http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3373998,00.html ( or google to other sites)
A happening way back when Romans attacked the city built on a hill..the remaining fighters would commit suicide rather than being taken prisoners into slavery (similar to Masada). There are some great drives, and walks to see the vultures and eagles building nests on the high cliffs and rangers to give info..at the viewing stations built across the way from the nests…then there is the waterfall that must be seen while we are here,
and after a break and snack at kiosk..time to move along.
So after watching incredible sunset, with Tiberias in the background and the Kinerret in front… and as dusk falls and we can no longer see anything we drive to the north end of Kinerret to Kare Deshe Youth Hostel to sleep over, and look forward to a marvellous breakfast.
(unplanned at this time.. we will be staying several nights, as our base for trips to far north and areas adjacent.)… so watch this space… and please connect with me at email firstname.lastname@example.org
Louis the Scooterer is 69 years old and it sounds like hes just getting started.