Day 2

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After we had had breakfast, we left Natanya, and set off for Caesarea.  On the way, Bernice told us some interesting facts about Caesarea.  She said that Herod the Great was actually a half-Jew, whose father had helped the Romans with supplies and things of that sort.  In return, Herod the Great (as a young boy) went to Rome to be educated there.  Subsequently, he urged Caesar to let him go and keep an eye on the Jews, as he was a Jew.  Because Caesar ‘owed’ him something, he agreed.

Herod the Great was an excellent economist, and as a result, money flowed in.  Herod wanted to trade across the sea, but he didn’t want to make use of the two existing harbours, namely, the one at Jaffa and the other at Acco. This was because in the former case, Jews lived nearby, and he was afraid of rebellion. In the case of Acco, the reason was that he didn’t trust the heathens that lived near to the Port.  Herod therefore built another harbour at Caesarea, where trade flourished.

Heriot’s sons were Philip and Antipas and he divided the kingdom between them.  However, they were useless with money, and Caesar sent proconsuls to rule instead, one of whom was Pontius Pilate.

When we got to Caesarea, we saw the Amphitheatre.  Plays were performed here.  There were even alcoves in the stage, which were originally used for statues, which were then worshipped, Later on, the alcoves were used for the flags of the different countries which Caesar had conquered.

We then went to see the aqueduct.  It is truly amazing to think how sophisticated the Romans were.  To build that aqueduct and harbour, they had to find a way of either holding the sea back, or they had to find some way of inducing concrete to set under water.

We then drove on and saw the Crusader City.  The city itself is not very big, but it is well-fortified with a moat that has always been dry.  Crusaders had tried time and time again to get the Arabs out of the Holy Land, and give it back to those for whom it was intended.  In fact, Jerusalem was still under Arabic rule a century ago.  The concrete blocks, Gothic arches, and escape-hatches are breath-taking, and one wonders who did all the work!

We then drove on to Mount Carmel.  As we went, Bernice told us that most of the cultivated land here belongs to Zigion Rothchild, who is many times over or a millionaire.  He lets people cultivate various crops on his land.  Amongst other things, loquats, olives, flowers and wheat are grown here.  The bird life is especially interesting for the bird-watchers in our group, as there are many birds which don’t live in South Africa.  We also passed the only 18-hole golf course in the country.

We then arrived at Mount Carmel, at Muhraque, where the Prophet Elijah defeated the prophets of Ba’al.  It started raining in at this point, so our group looked for a place to shelter.  There we read the Biblical account of what went on between Elijah and the prophets of Ba’al.  Lots of people walking past that place, stopped to listen; it made me glad to think that others were benefitting from what Robbin was reading!

We then went to a Druize settlement, and had falafels for lunch.  This entails peta-bread (pockets of dough) filled with all kinds of fillings, amongst other things, fried chick peas.

We then went to the Crusader Castle, and saw a movie on how the Castle got captured, recaptured, forgotten, and captured again.  We walked in the streets, and came to a large, open courtyard, called a caravanserai.  We then went to a famous copper-beating shop.

We went to the Park Inn for supper.  After supper, we walked up one of the roads to a little shop.  It is interesting to see what kind of things are sold here.  It was so surprisingly small!  Tomorrow we are going to cross the lake in a boat; I’m looking forward to it!