One problem with not being able to blog as I go is at the end of the day I have to remember it all. Not so easy as you might imagine.
After a not-very-good night’s sleep – which is common for me, no blame on the hotel or situation – T(he) H(usband), Eliyahu and I decided to walk to the train station, which turned out to be a very pleasant and relatively easy stroll. At the train station we ran into our first real shock. The lift/elevator to the southbound platform was out of order. Not working. The fellow at the gate was simply not going to let us through regardless of the fact that we had no where else to go and had a schedule to keep. Of course there was no way to get me to the southbound platform without a lift, and he also had no idea when (or if) the lift might be working.
Fortunately a woman (who appeared to be a cleaner) had a good idea which worked. She suggested we could go north to Nehariyah and travel south from there. Which is what we did. It led to a whole day of traveling without giving the stations adequate warning and we were told repeatedly at one place and another we should have called ahead. Um, yeah, only we hadn’t *planned* on the lift breaking down, and then what could we do? If Israel Railway wants us to plan ahead and keep to a strict schedule, then they have to keep up their end of it by making it possible to travel on the trains for which we’ve made reservations.
I’m not complaining about the broken lift, but about being lectured for not having planned ahead for the broken lift.
As long as we were in Nehariyah again, we stopped for a spot of lunch. Eliyahu and I had kebob sandwiches which were quite filling if not exactly my favourite thing. We got back to the station where the first lecture occured, and here is where the lack of immediate blogging takes its toll. I do recall that one of the stations we were told there was no handicapped access car because we hadn’t called ahead, but I don’t remember if that was a Nehariyah, or later on. There were a couple of times that TH had to get me on or off the train by bumping the wheelchair down the stairs (two or three, depending on the train). One time we were in a car with space for two bicycles but no wheelchair accomodations. Another time we ended up just in a regular car, and I got to be transferred to a proper seat – heaven! After five hours or so in the wheelchair, my backside is sore regardless of eggshell foam padding.
In any event it was an adventure, and if the railway employees weren’t thrilled at our non-planned travel, they coped and we coped and we got to where we wanted to go with a minimum of fuss and bother. I have to say that if you CAN plan your trip it is at least a bit more comfortable, but then, I wouldn’t have gotten to sit in a proper seat on the train if I”d had all w/c accomodations, and that was really quite nice.
We traveled next to Kiryat Motzkin, where we went in search of a couple of bottles of seltzer water, something I’d been looking for for two days by then. Found them in a nice little makolet, and started to walk to the beach there, but it didn’t feel right. I felt extremely whiny and was complaining about the cold and the length of the trek to the beach and in the end we decided that it would be better all ’round if we continued on to Haifa then.
We had hoped to spend a bit more time in Haifa, but the misdirection from Acco, going north to go south, took about a three hour bite from the day, and so we decided to simply go to the beach. Train station Haifa: Hof Karmel. Which conveniently right next to the beach, and a very nice beach it is. Even being in the off season there were vendors selling fruit drinks, and coffee, and a restaurant. TH got me down to the sand, and over to a bench placed on the beach by a restaurant there. Sitting right next to us was a young couple. TH went to get the drinks for us all, and while he was gone the young woman asked if I would like her untouched salad. She said she hated to just throw it away and for some reason (I *never* do this sort of thing) I said sure, and thanked her. I didn’t eat much, a couple of mouthfuls, because I am allergic to so many things that can show up in a salad. But Eliyahu ate a bunch and TH had some as well, and it really was a nice addition to the day.
I forgot to mention that I made an attempt to use the bathrooms at the Hof Karmel station. There are two wheelchair accessible bathrooms but they are kept locked. At that point I had just had enough of waiting for railway personnel for each and every little thing and insisted TH push me into the women’s bathroom. It had four stalls, none of them big enough for me to even get the w/c in the doorway, but I was desperate and determined and managed to get into a stall and out again in good form, but truly exhausted at the end of it. I said to TH it was a true miracle, but maybe the biggest miracle was that there was no room to turn the w/c around in the bathroom and I walked it out leaning on it and pushing it backwards. You heard it here, first. 🙂 After that I was truly a basket case. Can’t go around walking miraculously without there being some consequences. I find it curious and irritating that they keep the w/c accessible bathrooms locked. Am I supposed to give notice before using them as well? Isn’t it hard enough? Argh.
We spent the rest of the daylight sitting on the beach, and just relaxing and enjoying ourselves. TH read aloud a bit from Feet of Clay, a book by Terry Pratchett. TH reads aloud to Eliyahu and I just about every day for a bit. I got a bunch of knitting done, working on a potholder for my brother. When the sun was almost down we made reservations at a very nice place (I know it is nice now – then we were just happy to find something not quite so expensive as the last place) in Binyamina. The woman we spoke to even offered to pick us up from the train station. So, back to the station, and we rode once again in regular train seats to Binyamina.
It was dark, and a bit cold, and we couldn’t really figure out which way to go so we took a bit of a scenic route which was fortunate because the Binyamina train station was hands down the nicest one yet. It seemed really pretty, laid out pleasantly with some quiet and relatively quiet areas off to the side from the platform and a little convenience store that was actually convenient. It is small and not fancy but comfortable. I’m looking forward to seeing it in the daylight.
That’s it for today’s travel by rail. We’re planning tomorrow’s trip now. The big question is are we doing to get off of the train anyplace between here and Tel Aviv? We know the Hedera station, and also Pardes Hannah from before. Neither of us particularly want to get off the train in Hertzeliyah, so I suppose we will just go to Tel Aviv, where we intend to transfer to a different line and ride to Hod HaSharon. Now we have to pick which trains and call in our intentions. One thing we really want to do is get off the train in Kfar Saba, in order to find the best ice cream (in the opinion of my family) that we have yet found in Israel. IF we do find it, I’ll write and say more about it.
I’ve got to try and get some rest, not to mention I want my hair brushed out. I should say, I really, really like the place we are staying tonight. Beit Grushka in Binyamina. Maybe TH and I will come back for another short vacation sometime.