We took an overnight trip to see our friends, the Claymans, who live in Nahariya. Nahariya is way up north, almost to Lebanon. It’s essentially a resort town, and the Claymans live across the street from the beach.
It was such a change from the Rova. Here, we’re in a very urban environment, surrounded by stone. There’s not a whole lot of greenery — even the surrounding hills are pretty much brown — and there’s no open water to be found (see my note on tashlich). Nahariya is open and lush, adorned with festive lights over the streets and full of outdoor cafes and nightlife. And then there’s the beach, with a carnival-like promenade.
It was a major effort to get out of town. During Succos, there is no bus service or cab access to the Rova. We had to hike (with our bags) down to the Hertz office, near the King David Hotel. Once there, we had to overcome the obstacles that (1) I’d forgotten to bring my passport (solved when I was able to forward an email copy with my iPhone – technology!), and (2) our car was not there, and had to be sent from another location. After about an hour, we finally had our car and were underway, with my Dad following (he rented his own car to go visit relatives). Traffic was bad getting out of Jerusalem, and again close to Nahariya, but most of the middle part on Route 6 was pretty clear.
When we were near Haifa, the brakes in my father’s car started making a terrible noise, so we had to pull off to figure out what to do (he detoured to Haifa, got there just before they closed, in time to trade for another junky car). The rest stop featured a restaurant with a sad abandoned playground in the back. Is there anything more depressing than an abandoned playground? Yes — an abandoned playground with trash heaps in the background, and populated by half-starving kittens.
In part because we got such a late start, and because we had to get back to Jerusalem by 5:45 p.m. (a deadline we missed badly), we spent far too short a time in Nahariya. The Claymans have a really nice apartment, with a big porch and a great view of the promenade. The boys got to go to the beach, but got pulled away before they were ready to go. There’s also an amazing playground there, which they also didn’t get to spend enough time in (Yitzi was inconsolable). It was really nice to see the ocean, enjoy the open space, and to have a bit of a break from the intensity of the Rova. G-d willing, we’ll be back.