In the morning our tour started. Our group is really small—there’s the Texans, two women from NY, Mary the blond and Randi, the odd couple of Nori and Ken, and Sadira, master of scarf-wearing. Our tour guide/driver, Tomer, is much more mellow than whoever picked us up from the airport, thank the stars.

We started at Ceaserea, where the ruins are impressive in the way of all ruins. The amphitheater is still used for shows, which seems really cool. On the other end, restaurants nestle among the ruins. I would have enjoyed visiting them if we’d been there without the group. We also stopped at a section of aqueduct on the beach, which was very pretty with the blue Mediterranean behind.

Aqueduct and sea behind.

Aqueduct and sea behind.

Next we drove to Haifa, and paused to look the Bahai shrine up and down–literally. We looked up at it, and then we looked down at it. I would have liked to see inside the actual building, but it is nevertheless neat to have seen two of the shrines now. The gardens are incredible. I wonder what it takes to be allowed to walk the length of them. A shame that everyone isn’t doing so. What good is it to create a marvel and not let people fully enjoy it?

The Bahai shrine, from the top.

The Bahai shrine, from the top.

From there we sped on to a Druze village. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this wasn’t noticeably different from any other little roadside town. We had a decent but not mind-blowing lunch and then were harangued by merchants wanting to show us their “hand-made” merchandise, which I am sure I could buy at Target.

Next we stopped at Megida (Armageddon), which was more ruins and hot hot heat. It takes a lot of imagination to appreciate ruins, and I was out of that brand of imagination for the day. One nice thing is that they let people crawl all over the ruins here; they’re not all precious about them like so many other places. But I guess that goes with them being not all that impressive, really. We did walk down to a tunnel dug under the city walls to reach the town’s water source. Pretty cool thing to have done in ye olden times, and a welcome break from the heat.

The original Underground Tour.

The original Underground Tour.

Our last tourist stop was at the Jordan River, supposedly the site where John the Baptist baptized Jesus. It was pretty. A great many people in robes were being baptized there, and across the way horses were running about for no apparent reason. We were able to just step into the river, where tiny fishes nibbled and tickled our ankles. Have I been saved now?

These fish live on a diet of almost exclusively sin.

These fish live on a diet of almost exclusively sin.

Finally we reached the Kibbutz where we stay for two nights. I am still not totally clear on the kibbutz concept, and hope it gets explained tomorrow. Our accommodations are what you’d expect from any hotel. We had a nice dinner and nicer chat with our traveling companions, and then Husband and I tried to walk the “promenade” that loops around the kibbutz but probably were going the wrong way and so we turned around and came back that way. Lame.