March 11 A Different Sea

March 11

Insurance has decided to send me home. A ticket has been sent through cyberspace, and I am  freaking out. Though I had decided this was likely a wise course of action, it is a shock  to contemplate leaving Israel early. I hate to leave Arlene, though I know she’ll be safe and that she enjoys the solitude of walking and camping. I vascillate between feeling eager to see Fraser and family again, though 3 weeks ahead of schedule, to feeling utterly sad about leaving the trail unfinished, and Arlene to soldier on with her painful ankles. The rest we’ve had from walking, both on the Dead Sea and in Kermit the car, has been good for the knee, and her feet. I don’t think she feels as if she’s walking on shards of glass any longer.

I had to pick up the parcel I mailed to myself from Eilat almost six weeks ago. The trail angel who had it in Dan brought it to his mothers place in Rehovet, just south of Tel Aviv. Turns out I could have picked it up at Kibbutz Dan in the Golan Heights, as we actually made it there, but who knew at the time?

We left our camp on the Sea of Galilee and drove down to the sprawling suburb. I chose a street at random to turn left, and if it wasn’t the exact one we were looking for! After retrieving the package, we looked around for someone who might fix Arlene’s solar charger, which just stopped working for no apparent reason. This is a major blow to Arlene’s independence. There’s no problem with the sun, so the failure must be due to something broken in the device connector. How we miss the little beeps as those shiny panels cheerfully powered up our phones!!

After leaving Rehovet, Kermit took us north past Tel Aviv and west to the Mediterranean. We found the Shvil sign in a seaside park but decided not to camp on the beach as it was cool and windy, we’d have to pack our stuff down the cliff, and when the tide came in we might have been washed out to sea! So we continued north. We considered driving up to the hostel in an Arab fishing village, but opted instead for a closer option. We were guided into a moshav with the lyrical Irish sounding name of Mikhmoret, by a man who told us about there was a place called The Resort for backpackers.  When I called, I got a message that the owners were away and the resort would re-open in April.

On the beach road, we saw a druz stand – exactly what we had searched for in Golan, without success, so we satisfied our curiosity and each ordered a pita ( druz bread cooked on a convex spherical hot plate) filled with either yogurt or a sour cheese, bulgar, chives, and then sprinkled with a spice found around Israel known as zata.  He also sold something that looked like a corndog but was filled with potato and mushrooms, as well as stuffed cabbage and grape leaves.

Not wanting to drive another the extra half hour to the fishing village, I decided to check out the “Resort”, and to our surprise it was not closed, but hopping. A party was in full swing. Apparently people rented rooms there during the winter and they were having an end of season bash. We were invited to join the party, pitch our tents in the yard, have a shower, power up, whatever we needed. Israeli hospitality once again. So we did. The beach was a 10 minute walk and spectacular, the blue Mediterranean , the surf, soft sand, in short, picture perfect. The young people at the party were lively and talkative, and thankfully, the loud techno music petered out by 9, leaving about 6 of us sitting around a roaring fire.

This is my last camping night in Israel. Tomorrow I’ll return the car to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv and wait for my Sunday morning flight to Amsterdam, then Edmonton. Talk about bittersweet! Arlene and I will make the most of tomorrow. We will sort our stuff, exchanging what might be useful- my last freeze dried meal and power bar for her broken solar charger, my comb for her unused platypus, her large pot for my two smaller ones. She has cut the pages she might need from the trail guide, taken the list of trail Angels…I wanted to give her my SIM card, which has free calling, but neither of us knows how to remove/ install the cards. Thinking about leaving each other makes us both incredibly sad. We try to concentrate on the glorious time we’ve had, the anomaly of our sore knee and feet, the serendipity that has brought us to this point. We cry, we laugh, we review pictures, we both feel a bit lost. We remember the words of the young guy at Barack canyon that it is not the kilometres that matter, but the journey. And what a fine journey it has been. So very fine.

And we go to sleep knowing that by tomorrow night, our journey will have taken another turn. We have felt very protected, very cared for throughout this trip and we believe we carry this with us, even if we must be an ocean apart.

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