The last day of our vacation

Rivka told all the kids about mattressing (not sure if that's the real name but it's like banana boating except that you lie on your stomach instead of sitting) and it sounded like a lot of fun. So Rivka, Zvi, Leora and I left the zimmer around 8:15 on Thursday to go to Teverya. The night before it had been packed there to the point that you could barely walk but in the morning it was totally empty. The four of us got on the inflatable raft and lied on our stomach and the motor boat it was attached to went around and around in the kineret for 15 minutes. It was fun and the kids all enjoyed that.

Then we went home and packed up the car to check out. A nice family that had been staying at the zimmer had five free tickets to Hamat Gader that they didn't end up using and Yeshaya and Nava were free on account of their size. It's a good thing that it was free because it really isn't worth anything near the 58 shekel per person that it's supposed to cost. There is a small zoo, a water slide and hot springs. I stayed away from the water but the kids said that the lines at the slide were really long and it stunk by the water slide. There was a parrot show that was pretty good (Leora loved it) and a crocodile show that was too crowded. We didn't stay that long and then drove home.

On the way home we all (besides Nava who slept the entire drive home) rated the days from best to least best. I think the way we rated it is indicative of how hard it is to plan a trip for seven Greenstones. Thursday was the favorite day for both Leora (she loves water and thought the parrots were great) and Zvi (he loved the mattressing so much that it made up for the fact that he didn't like Hamat Gedar) but it was the worst day for Yeshaya and Rivka. Tuesday with the Hageges was Rivka's favorite day and everyone else had it second besides Leora who rated it fourth - ahead of only the travel day on Sunday. Shira and Yeshaya both thought Monday at Majrasa was the best day but Zvi and I thought it was the worst. I thought Wednesday's biking and canoeing was great but Zvi and Yeshaya both had it fourth. So we had a bit of complaining almost every day but overall I think that looking back everyone had a great time.

Biking and canoeing

We had a coupon book which was full of things to do in the North. We found a bike trail that had family bikes to rent not too far from us in Daganya. Rivka and Zvi each got their own bike and the rest of us got a five person bike. There are pedals on each side in the front and back. Yeshaya and Nava couldn't reach the pedals but Leora helped when she was in the mood. We got the bikes for an hour and it was a real workout.

 Then we went canoeing at Rob Roy which we remembered from three years ago. When we came last time it was May and the place was empty. It was packed this time and there was a 30 minute waiting list. We had to canoe around swimmers and others in the water. It was still fun (at least for some of us).

Then we went back to our place and ate some Yavniel pizza before heading out to Teverya for a light and water show. It turned out that we were a little early so we just walked around and got spots so we could see the show. Yeshaya also went on a pony ride since he was the only one who didn't get a turn on a horse the other day.

Hermon with Hagege

About six months ago we thought about doing our entire summer tiyul with Ethel and family. Shira and Rivka started getting nervous about booking a place and Ethel really didn't know yet what they were doing. So we decided to just book our vacation and we'd try to do something with them if it worked out. They ended up staying much further north in Kfar Szold. They came up with the idea of doing Har Hermon on Tuesday together so we left at 9 in the morning and met them in Kfar Szold which is right on the way.

At the Hermon we took cable cars to the top of the mountain and then there was a walking tour up there. After taking cable cars back down we went on this roller coaster type ride. The kids had a great time on that so we finally gave in to them begging and let them all go a second time. We were then going to stop at a small hike and spring but it turned out to be closed already. We had to get going because Rivka and Shira were going to the Shweky concert that night.

This day wasn't in water at all (it was also much cooler on top of the mountain but we all got sunburned) so we have lots of pictures. Here are a few

Monday at Majrasa

We hadn't planned this trip at all. So each night Shira and I sat down to figure out what to do the next day. Sunday night we decided to try a hike at Majrasa (מג'רסה) on Monday. We heard it was a hike in the water and figured the kids would enjoy it. One thing we learned (again) on this tiyul is that it is impossible to please everyone. Some kids really liked the hike but others really hated it. It's about a 30 minute walk (with the little kids) through water - it gets as high as my thighs in some places. Then we walked back, (half via land and half via water), got popsicles and ate lunch.

It was still very early in the day and we really didn't know what we were doing next. We decided to drive to Katzrin since we were nearby and we heard there were things to do. There was supposedly a water factory, a wine factory and some other stuff. We got there though and we quickly realized that it just wasn't a touristy place anymore. The water factory had closed to tourists a while before and it was just a regular city. The kids weren't in great moods by that time and after hanging around in the shopping center we decided to leave and head back to the zimmer.
After hanging out in the zimmer for a couple of hours and eating dinner we went to Kfar Kamma to go horseback riding. Rivka and Zvi each got to ride a horse and then he gave Rivka a short 5 minute lesson so she could try jogging by herself. Then Leora got to go on the horse for a few minutes and Nava wanted to sit on one but she got scared when she was actually up there. Kfar Kama is an interesting place (the guy gave us some history) - the population is Circassian. They were booted from Russia in the 19th century and moved all over the world. There are two towns in Israel that are populated with them. They're Muslim but serve in the IDF. The man was really nice and the kids had a good time.

Vacation up North

I decided to start blogging again when we do fun things that we want to remember. It's nice that we can refer back to this blog to see what we did three years ago so we might as well have this as a reference for all our fun activities. I don't expect to have any regular readers but this is intended for our family and for anyone who stumbles across it.

Sunday we began a five day trip to the North. Shira booked early and did a lot of price comparing and found us a nice zimmer in Yavniel called Tropiqan.  We didn't get an early start because we hadn't started packing before Sunday morning. We also had company for Shabbos and had to get the house ready (Shira would never leave without having a clean house first). So we left around 10:30 for the drive. Some kids weren't anxious to join us on vacation but in the end everyone was forced to come. Choosing where everyone sits is never an easy task in the car and squishing in all the luggage was a challenge. Finally, we were on the road.

The drive up wasn't too bad - we thought we missed a turn but in the end we were going the right way. We got to the zimmer a little early but they let us check in and we were pleasantly surprised at how nice it was. It's a new place and they have 5 zimmers next to each other with a beautiful enclosed yard. There's a decent swimming pool and lots of lawn furniture. All the guests the entire time we were there were frum so either we got the pool to ourselves or there were separate times for the men and women. The only problem with the zimmer was that it was a little small - just one bedroom and a living room area. So we had two twin size beds, a big pullout couch and two mattresses. This led to a few more fights about where everyone would sleep but we ended up moving everyone around every night and the kids were more or less satisfied. The owners of the zimmer were very nice and we highly recommend this to anyone interested.

Yavniel is an interesting community. There is a large religious community which seems to be almost entirely Breslov. There is a main shul with tons of minyanim which is a sefardi shul that is apparently run by Breslovers. They built a huge shul next door which looks very nice from the outside but isn't quite complete so they're still davening in the old place. There is also a pizza store, falafel stand, makolet and small grocery story. It really has most things you need. It's about a 15 minute drive from Teverya so the location is good. There are tons of zimmers in Yavniel so in shul or at the stores you see lots of other vacationers.

When we got to the zimmer we went for a family swim (even I went swimming for a while) and had lots of fun. After a little more relaxation we went to Teverya to walk along the midrachov and eat dinner. Overall, it was just a relaxing day without too much activity.