By Louis the Scooterer.
Oh well.. I love being a quitter (like when I quit smoking !) but I hate being a “loser” as I am NOW with smokers all around.. and them winning, and by choice I need to leave a place.
Today.. this beautiful beginning-of-summer-morning..first cup of coffee at the square where the smokers were in the millions..even though there was a pleasant breeze.. I left when it became unbearable. I then scooted to coffee at Mypop which I now call POSSS (place of smelly stinking smokers)..as the other millions of smokers come there.
I get the impression that the owners / partners supply free cigarettes ? coz the place has become very popular, and remains a beautiful place. but, when many people are there, they have lost ME.. (who cares..no one gives a damn?)
Anyway this morn I even saw the owners smoking inside the restaurant !!.. thats bad news (for me), and my decision is to reduce my visits at mypop and go ONLY when they open in the morning, and when I can be the first one there.
Surely I will miss seeing the bikini beauties, and other people that I previously exchanged chats with.. but as I watched 3 newcomers sit at the next table 1 meter from me..all 3 began smoking.. then 2 others arrived and sat at another table 3 meters from me and both began smoking.. (and I refuse to take pics of smokers, any more.).. that means that the 5 newcomers were all smoking.. that means 100% newcomers were smoking ?? and while I breathed-in and swollowed their stinky smelly smells..I wondered at which place will I be happy.
I thought about my visit to such a place ..BANIAS.. and I relate here about that visit to that most beautiful place…
There are 2 main roads to the only Ski Site in Israel way up north, on top of Mount Hermon. The more popular route, takes you past the foot of Mt. Hermon where the source of Hermon Stream flows, at a mysterious place called BANIAS. I had visited Banias several times by scooter and in a rented car, and because I knew I couldn’t walk much, I usually stood at the entrance gate to this awesome place, received brochures and maps with walking routes.. and stared in wonderment what was directly in front of me.
The gigantic arched entrances into the mountain caves, waterfalls, running water, ancient workings and remnants of buildings, and knowing that much walking is required. But my old knee wouldnt allow..so I sat on the saddle or in the rentcar for a few minutes, took a picture or two, and then moved along to elsewhere. Well..this is my story about a proper visit, a couple of years later, after receiving a TKR (Total Knee Replacement). Now at this time, I am able to walk some distances, painfree (perhaps with some stiffness), and started doing what I hadn’t done for so many years.
I climbed up steps and walked on broken rocks and on beautiful grass lawns and next to the flowing waters in many areas in this incredible place, walking along the fast flowing very narrow streams and up and down rock steps and on muddy sand over little bridges through narrow tunnels. This was a new experience for a more than 70 year old scooterer..this trip was on my scooter. One of the excellent sites on internet is http://www.jafi.org.il/education/noar/sites/banias.htm. It was marvellous seeing many groups of children visiting this place, as well as many tour buses arriving with tourists from all around the world. There are also places with many tables and benches under trees for picnicking, or taking a rest.
There are several different routes to follow, and I chose what looked like the “easiest and shortest” (purple route). (Not to kid myself)..this was a long and most interesting winding route which comes upon a longtime-disused hydro-electric plant, and cellars and ancient flour mills and other buildings that need time to explore, and I walked crossed a Roman Bridge… and need to know where to make the left-turn at the correct spot…(to follow the purple arrows). I even came across a tiny kiosk run by an old Druze man, and I jumped back in time at least 100 years seeing this spot..and “chatting” with this “picturesque chap”.. and eating what he makes..a thin bread filled with goat cheese, with a cool drink, or his special blend of tea.
The streams flow non stop, and in wonderment I stand at many spots and take my hat off to those who designed these places for hikers and children and even older ones like me. I passed through underground tunnels to archaeological diggings, found plaques with English translations about what stands at a particular spot…and always found a place to sit in the shade.
Later I met with tourists from USA and another group from Nigeria. Many groups of Christians travel in buses with their church leaders and guides..and my take on that is, unfortunately the time they spent at this magic place, is far too short to really explore. I casually joined one of these groups and listened to a well informed guide telling about some of the spots where they stop..take pics..listen to a quick story..and move along.
After taking a coffee at the kiosk, and being very satisfied with my (new knee) achievement..and pleasantly tired..I chatted with tourists and staff, and listened to their stories. I then scooted along a couple of kms..down the road.. to the BANIAS FALLS.. and stood at the viewsite, and with my binoculars I could see many hikers of all ages, climbing up the pathways to eventually arrive at the Roman Bridge (where I was earlier).
I learned that at the spot where I was standing, there are 100 steps to the bottom to see the falls… and my decision was “those 100 steps down and up again” ??.will be for another time…and I waved goodbye to the couple who began the climb down.
Did I mention not to forget camera and wear comfortable walking shoes.. SO..dear reader spend a few minutes (google to Banias) and start planning your visit. Feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org