On Monday morning I enjoyed being able to sleep in. Having my own room, especially one with fantastic air conditioning is wonderful. After hitting my snooze button a few too many times, I got cleaned up and then went downstairs to forage for breakfast.
I ended up hanging out in the main office administrative area with Zolo and Tomer for a few hours, learning about camp and having a great time bring around the energy that is the Zolo-Tomer connection. Maggie, Zolo, and Nathan took care of putting up banners, and then at around noon Tomer drove is to the train station where Maggie, Nathan, and I took the short ride south to the Haifa.
Out in the bright sun of Haifa I was reminded of being in Nice. We walked west, soaking in the rays and dodging some startlingly unlabeled construction areas. We passed the Maritime museum, and made out way up several flights of stairs to Elijah’s cave. There we found another beautiful vista and many people lounging in the shade eating lunch. Inside, the cave has very straight, milled-looking, sides, and a partition to separate men from women.
Next, we walked back down the flights of stairs, manuevered across some large roads, and found our way to the base of the small gondola that we took to the top of Mt. Carmel. The ride up was quick and along the way we were afforded another spectacular view of the coast line. At the top, we found a small pavilion that had a short audio recording built in that told us about the region. After listening for a while, we turned around the street and began waking further up the mountain towards the Bahai Gardens. Along the way we passed many gorgeous houses and absolutely perfect views. We imagined they cost about 10-20nis a piece :)
We finally made it to the gardens only to find that you can’t walk through each level without being on a tour, and the last tour had left an hour earlier. Regardless, we did get to walk around the upper level, which was quite beautiful. On the way out we got information on how to take the bus to the lower level of the mountain, and soon made our way to the German Colony area, way at the bottom of the gardens. On the street we found a very nice restaurant (Fattoush) and dove into a round of Sharwarma. We ate a leisurely pace and relaxed as the sun went lower on the skyline. Next, we made our way to the nearest train station, scooted back north to Acco, and then took a taxi back to Manof where we found that Bob and Linda had arrived.
A couple hours, everyone headed out to the old city of Acco for dinner, so naturally, Maggie, Nathan, and I had to join them. We ended up having dinner (the second one for some of us) at a spot overlooking the bay. It was a wonderful vista and the social time was grand.
Tuesday was a day of rest. We spent the day walking the grounds, and working on various camp prep tasks. Later in the day Maggie and I explored the very large farm area of Manof and saw many chickens, goats, sheep, other birds, dogs, and horses. They have quite the facility here! Later in the night, Zolo, Tomer, Bob, Linda, Maggie, Nathan, Karym, and I gathered for a pizza dinner, enjoying the last calm evening before the true storm.
At least 12 more staff members are making it into Acco today, with the largest wave coming in tomorrow. All the prep work is going well and everyone is excited for camp to begin!