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Saturday, April 30, 2022

Destination Entertainment

Aloha Everyone,

Passengers were invited to the pool deck of the vessel. The show consisted of Israeli folk songs, storytelling and dancing. It was very entertaining and enjoyable.

The two of us wrapped up this special day in Haifa by sharing our dinner table with a couple from Chicago. The four of us quickly discovered that there were multiple areas of personal life as well as family, lifestyle, social responsibility. Intellectual and philosophical thoughts that we shared.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, April 29, 2022

Baha’i Garden & Akko

Aloha Everyone,

By 7:00 am, our ship had already docked at Haifa. The free shuttle bus dropped off us near the Baha’i Garden. This is one of the main attractions in Haifa. However today is a holiday for the Baha’i religion and the complex was closed.

Haim as in La Haim, “to life,” approached us offering his services as a licensed tour guide. His family emigrated from Georgia, served in the Israeli Defense Force, knowledgeable and friendly, we truly lucked out. After agreeing to where we will go and the cost of a private tour, Tom and Susan from Oklahoma joined us to share the cost.

Akko, located about 40-minute drive from Haifa is now a subterranean city showcasing the history of the settlement from Persian, Egyptian, Hellenistic to Roman to Byzantine. Conquerors built settlements on top of another, Akko requires that you walk through underground tunnels.

Ottoman and Crusader periods strongly reminded us of what the two of us experienced in Rodos, Greece. Having Haim accompany us the entire duration of our subterranean walk was helpful. For an additional US$15 each, we each had audio narration devices which corresponds to displays and diorama.

The cost of US $150 per couple was reasonable. Haim was happy when J.J. gave him a US$20 tip. 

One interesting item to note is that there was a charge of US $1 per person to use WC. No soap, running water, nor toilet paper were something we had to quickly dismiss as something to be expected. Ah, luxury of American life.

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Full Day Tour of Jerusalem

Aloha Everyone,

The Jerusalem Acropolis, referred to as “Gateway of Heaven” has no rival. The site has a magical, magnetic pull.  Irregardless of one’s ethnicity, educational, economic or professional background, faith, religious beliefs or political inclination, spending time on this Holy Ground will impact you. My visit opened more personal questions than answers.

Visiting the room of the Last Supper, the Via de La Rosa, Jewish Quarters, and Muslim market, Holy Sepulcher made biblical stories more real. The sights and sounds, scents of spices and humanity, all mingled and enveloped us, often overwhelming.

For me, the most meaningful experience was our visit to the Western Wall. I filled a small piece of square paper provided by the tourism staff with the names of family and friends to express gratitude for what we have, For our health and our love & compassion for one another. Witnessing women wailing and uncontrollably crying affected me.

Jerusalem, ancient and cosmopolitan, pure and simple, yet complex. Nine hours only opened more questions. There is no doubt in our mind that two of us will return.

Aloha -- Cathi