One of the great advantages of a holiday, is that people can get together. There is a little more free time than usual. On the one hand, it may mean traffic jams all over the country, as people go off to some of the famous picnic grounds, and popular tourist sites. In a small country like ours, pretty much everyone gets the same idea after the first snow, and you can see cars in long lines at the approach to the Hermon mountains, as everyone, and some of them with children take skis, sleds, and other devices and head for the snow. So if you don’t fancy being part of the crowd, it is best to choose one of the less popular vacation sites, when traveling on a national holiday.
But it is also a good time to go and visit friends… or… on the holiday of tabernacles, you can make a very large booth, and invite them all to your place. For me, this is a time when I enjoy traveling, and I try to take the back roads. One of the advantages of living in a small country, is that almost every destination is somehow accessible. We started in the northern part of the country, and found ourselves drifting in a southern direction.
Yesterday was a beautiful day, and the visibility was good. There weren’t too many cars on the road, and everywhere we went, there were open hearted people, with smiles on their faces. What a pleasure. It is now the time when a lot of the crops have already been harvested, leaving empty, or freshly trimmed, fields. Around eish kodesh, where my sons live with their families, the cabernet grapes are still on the vines, and they look most tempting. The clouds above, hung in a blue sky, and had I painted the picture, I couldn’t have improved on it. From time to time, I would stop my slow moving car, and step out of the vehicle just to enjoy the landscape more intimately. I like to drive slowly when on vacation. I’m in no rush. And I want to enjoy the scenery.
We had coffee and cake at a gas station. The young people smile when I enthuse over such simple pleasures, but I can remember when it was extraordinary luck just to find a telephone that worked at a gas station, or a clean toilet. Since then, we have learned from the more modern countries, and there are any number of restaurants conveniently situated next to gas stations, ranging from fast food to rustic local eateries, as well as small convenience stores that sell all kinds of things that you might not have looked for, until you saw them on the shelves. Touring has become a national pastime.
After a brief rest in the home of some dear friends, we set off to look at the sunset from a national park just a bit north of Be’er Sheva. We took Bonnie the bitch with us, and she was delighted to walk along with us on an old dirt road, as we kept to the high country so that we could see the country around us. There were very few other tourists around, and there were lots of scenic views. When I took out my camera, I soon discovered that I was not the only one who enjoyed recording the beauties of nature. My friends whipped out their telephones, and soon we were all looking for a unique view in the face of endless possibilities. It became a very cheerful group effort… almost like being in a photography club on an excursion to see the sights.
We spent the evening trading stories and drinking good red wine, till we could take it no longer and went to bed. Lodging was provided to anyone that needed it. The accommodations were most comfortable. And here it is morning again. And since I get up a little earlier than most, I was able to jot down a few of these impressions, before I go off again to appreciate nature.