We arrived in Nehariyah around three p.m. Leaving the train was unexceptional. We remarked to the man who helped me get through the gates exiting the station that we might be coming back to return south today. Mindful of the request that we give 12-24 hours notice we wanted to see if this would be a problem. No problem at all, apparently. The fellow said he see me on the train safely, and off we went.
Nehariyah is really a wonderful place, at least at this time of year (never been there any other time of year). We strolled about the city a bit, then went to the beach and sat watching the gulls, and listening to the waves. We strolled about a bit, ate a bunch of strawberries we had bought wandering through the town, walked to the end of a promenade and decided if possible we would like to find a hotel in order to spend the night and maybe even go back tot he beach in the morning.
Unfortunately we were not prepared for the hotel situation which was not in our favour. The first place we went, which was really the only really desirable hotel (to us)), turned out to be so inaccessible it was impossible to even consider staying there. No fault of the hotel, a really nice, quiet, small and lovely place, but all the rooms were above the first floor and there was no lift/elevator. The manager there gave us directions to another hotel (where the lift was far too small to take my wheelchair), where we got directions to another hotel (which wanted a truly insane amount of money for three of us (daughter Havva was returning to her apartment that night) in one room. We went to another and another, and eventually decided that it simply wasn’t meant to be.
We all turned back towards the trains, but I decided to stay and shop at a Big Man’s clothing store. My youngest son is fourteen, and requires Big Man’s clothing, and while I am not quite so large, I really like to wear really big men’s shirts sometimes. We actually had a lot of fun trying things on, and youngest son walked away with a new jacket, a new fleecy shirt, and two new belts, while I got a new big shirt with the sleeves tailored right there in the shop for me. All for a ridiculously low price. At least compared to what I have had to pay for similar items over the years.
Having that boost of energy that new clothes seems to give one, we went back to the train station and were just in time to catch a train that was leaving for Acco. Acre for most of the English-speaking world. Even though we arrived at the last minute they had no trouble getting me on the train, and promised to phone ahead to Acco so they would be ready when I got there. It is a really short trip, which is good as the wheelchair nook on this train was literally one wheelchair large. My son was on the companion’s fold down seat which left TH in the corridor with the bags. Not very comfortable at all, and I’m not sure why they bothered with a window in the nook as neither my son nor I could look out of it, being seated facing in the other direction. The handicapped-bathroom door wouldn’t open – we don’t know if there was someone in there or it just wasn’t working.
I had used the bathroom at the station which is placed no where near the regular facilities and is kept locked. TH got the key from the kupah (ticket window), but then came the next unpleasant bit. There was no way to remove the key from the lock without the door being shut and locked. Which meant that either someone outside the door had to lock me in and then let me out again, or I had to (if I were alone, for instance) leave the door unlocked with the keys on the outside. NOT a happy situation. The bathroom itself was fine, and in better upkeep than most – probably at least in part because it was kept locked all the time. I am clear that there are not easy solutions to these sorts of problems, but I do think it would be helpful if the people who design facilities for wheelchair users and build them and manage them actually thought a little bit more about them. ‘Nuf said about that.
In any event it was just as well I had stopped since I couldn’t use the one on the train. Arriving at Acco, the lift wasn’t there ready for me, I assume because of the lack of warning, but they did get it to me in time, and were not stressed or upset in the least. The Acco train station was the busiest one I’ve been to yet (the one in Tel Aviv had more people, but also plenty of space and was streamlined). There were crowds getting off the train and one man standing in the middle of the floor stopped us, took our passes to swipe them, and got us out through a side exit. Very neat. Then we began our search for a hotel.
There is a youth hostel in Acco, but it was quite full up having had a multi-bus tour group show up before we got there. A very friendly and helpful cab driver took us to several different hotels – one had nothing on the first floor and no lift, another was closed for renovations… – and eventually we ended up at more of a resort hotel. It is off-season, but still quite pricey. By then it was well after dark and we were all tired and ready to be anywhere, though, so here I am.
Really tired, and I forgot we (TH and I) were supposed to get on skype with our two older grandchildren tonight. So very frustrating! I’m too tired to even apologize now, I’ll have to do that in the morning. Or tomorrow night, if the wi-fi at the train isn’t any better than it has been. Ah, well, it’s being an adventure.
It is a wonderful vacation so far.