Hard to believe that we have only been here one full day. We keep thinking that it must already be Wednesday and by the time this is blogged it will be because we still don't have wifi. This morning started with kids who had to be dragged out of bed, and waiting two hours for our landlord to show up and work on the wireless "problem". But Mike and the kids did squeeze in a walk on the beach, and enjoyed squealing at the washed up jellyfish(es). After the slow start, we picked up the rental car and headed to Zichron Yaakov to the First Aliya Museum. Have to say that driving here is much less stressful with the help of GPS.... The museum is a very interesting place. It follows, through video and models and information, the story of one family who left Europe for Israel in 1882. We all learned how truly difficult it was for the early settlers, who faced a difficult land to farm, hunger, sickness and exploitation by Baron de Rothschild's overseers, and no wifi either. From there, we went to a winery created by the family of one of those first immigrants - the Tishbi winery. The family got its name from Hayim Bialik who visited the vineyards. We learned a bit about wine making, had a fantastic late lunch in their restaurant (sweet potato ravioli in pesto sauce), tasted some wine, ate very expensive chocolate and bought some wine to enjoy here and at home. Sima loved the chemistry talk about wine making and was enthralled with the still for brandy making. It was over 100 years old and brought over from France - absolutely gorgeous. Only Mike tasted the brandy, but at 1500 NIS, even he couldn't quite pull the trigger to buy a bottle.
Then, we GPS'ed it to Nahal Taninim, which was officially closed (don't know why the parks close at 4 p.m.) but we somehow talked our way in even though the only employee there could not speak a word of English (or, he pretended not to). We only had 30 minutes but we saw plant life, birds, a Roman dam and aqueduct and are already planning a return visit. But no alligators or crocodiles. Interestingly, our Hebrew dictionary here lists both as the translations for tanin. Ben Yehuda could have done better.
Back to Netanya where the kids could go to the beach. Noah had his headphones the whole time, the girls swam a bit - shrieking "salt in my eyes" every time they dipped their faces in the water and running to us to rub their eyes with a towel - and Eitan and the girls dug very deep holes. From there, we walked up to the kikar for dinner. In a scene very reminiscent of when Mike, as a boy, visited Netanya with his family, a restaurant owner coaxed us in (not really in, but rather to his outdoor tables). This guy offered us 10% off, free coffee and ice cream. Hmmmm... hamburgers and ice cream. We told him that we can't eat there and he told us that if we keep kosher we can eat at his "brother's" restaurant next door. We were suckered, but the food was plentiful and decent enough. Trips to 2 makolets on the way home for essentials - peppers, soap, cookies, cheese and kleenex. The kids are asleep (or should be) and the adults are watching an episode of Srugim.