Last year about this time we took our first train trip, and went all the way to Nahariyyah (Nehariah) the furthest north of the train stations. The Husband, and youngest son and I had a wonderful time. Middle daughter went with us, but left earlier than we did, we had things to see and places to go. We had such a wonderful time that I promised youngest son we would go back there, and finally, the past Thursday, we did.
I had cataract surgery on my left eye just about a week before. It had made for an interesting and difficult week, but by Thursday I was able to read reasonably well, and the only aftercare was putting drops in my eyes four times a day.
I’ve been having these driving lessons for months now, which are great, but take so much out of me that one driving lesson equals almost a whole day lost, or two if I am particularly wiped out. The lessons are generally about two hours long and including getting me ready and into the van, and out again at the other end, it equals half a day easily.
Because of the driving lessons and the time and energy that they take, I’ve done literally almost nothing else for the past several months. So, the option of getting out was extra appealing.
Given the situation with changing trains here in Israel, with me in a wheelchair, we did the research and found out that if we drove to Be’er Sheva we could stay on the train all the way to Nahariyyah. Oy, the alternate spellings. The city’s name in Hebrew is נהריה, but using the English alphabet there doesn’t seem to be a single good transliteration. The spelling ‘Nahariyyah’ was the one used on the train in announcing the destination.
But I digress.
It was a very involved leave-taking. Youngest daughter is still in the army, and needed to get to her base so we timed it so we could drop her on the way to Be’er Sheva. Oldest son wanted the car available, so he also got up early to go with us, in order to drive the car home. I ended up waking up at (I think) five a.m., which means that TH got up even earlier. What it takes. 1.5 hours to get me dressed and out the door, half an hour driving to youngest daughter’s base, then another half hour to the train station in Be’er Sheva, including finding someplace to unload the car. We made the 8o’clock train with time and to spare.
Three hours on the train. I forgot to bring a camera. I spent the whole time working on a snood I’d been knitting for myself. It had taken weeks what with one thing and another, so I was determined to finish the blasted thing. The problem was I kept making mistakes and having to rip stuff out and re-knit it. For a week or so I never made any progress, just knit and ripped, knit and ripped.
The views out the windows weren’t the best. I think the windows needed to be more clean, and there was plenty of glare. I had to wear sun glasses the whole time because of the cataract surgery. I don’t think it make me look any more glamorous, though. 🙂
Arrived at Nahariyyah at 11am. There were VERY high winds. High enough to blow TH’s kipa (yarmulkah/skullcap) off of his head and down below the train. It also took my hat off at one point, but at least I didn’t lose it. We walked across the city to the sea. Beautiful. It was at this point that I regretted the cameras sitting quietly at home. I got out my cell phone and did the best I could with it.
[Note added: I’ve no idea why the photos are so small, or formatted as they are. They never used to look like this. I can’t seem to do anything about them, though, so for now it’s what we’re stuck with]
We fed the fish some bread, tried to feed some birds, and then shared some roast beef with a couple of well-fed strays.
I mentioned that there were strong winds gusting. Here’s TH, standing his ground while his hair (what is left of it) and beard try to fly away.
And one last image. I actually got up and walked a little bit. I can do that sometimes, particularly if I have a wide, flat path with no one to bump into – since I tend to stagger a bit. Okay, more than a bit. We piled all our bags and the clothing we’d shed in the sunshine onto my wheelchair
So that was pretty much all the photos I got that are worth sharing. Not that good, and the colours are off. I’m not used to taking photos with my phone, so there were far too many with bits of my finger, and even some that were mostly finger.
We had stopped at a market on the way to the beach for a picnic lunch, which we ate with the wind whipping the sand around, and blowing my hair into my mouth with bites of food. It was a really beautiful day, and quiet. Why we go to places in the off-season. After enough fun and sun to wear us out, we headed back towards the train station, stopping to shop a little bit. I didn’t buy an all cotton nightgown on sale, and I hope I won’t live to regret that. We did buy some clothes for our son who is really quite large. There is a big men’s store in Nahariyyah (I believe it’s called “Big Men’) and at fifteen years old, that is where we must go to get clothing for the lad. A pair of jeans and some sweatpants, and we were ready to go home.
Getting help to get me on the train at any station that is at the end of the line has never been a problem. We show up, they wheel out the little metal lift contraption, and I’m all set. As long as I’m not changing trains, or trying to get on or off a train at a more central station (for instance in Tel Aviv) the service works. I recently had a trip to Tel Aviv where the fellow whose job it was didn’t even bring the lift, and when we somehow got me off the train anyway – a dangerous proceeding for sure – yelled at us that we should have stayed on the train and gotten off at the next stop. WTF? My older daughter (middle daughter) dealt with that magnificently and ended up getting me several apologies after the fact, but that is another story.
As this was a terminus, we boarded with only minor difficulty because the doors for the correct wheelchair car wouldn’t open. We had to get me into the train by a different set of doors, then get me through the space back to the ‘official’ wheelchair seating. So it goes.
It would have been a uniformly wonderful day out, only before we were half-way home my back said enough. Enough of this sitting up, enough of not having sufficient lateral support. I was in agony, and with two hours more before we could even get off the train. Fortunately we were able to prop me up in the wheelchair, with my feet on a seat, in such a way I was at least able to survive the rest of the trip.
Important learning experience. I can do four hours on a train, but not more, not in a single day without a real rest. Must remember that for future trips. There *will* be future trips, I insist.
I have fantasies that I will get my wheelchair van, or even just pass the road test and get my drivers’ license, and I will actually have time and energy to *do* stuff. Given that I haven’t even been able to come up with time and energy to write, or often even to read anything, I am really ready to have a bit of my life back. I hope that with the van (assuming I ever get it – it’s been so long) I can do more things, visit friends who don’t live on train lines and go on field trips. It’s part of what keeps me going.
My health has deteriorated in the three years I’ve been going though all the various steps towards getting the wheelchair van, and so one thing I must keep praying is that when I finally get the van I will actually be able to use it. Since part of the reason for the deterioration is all of the stress and effort I’ve had to put into this, it would be a really bad burn if I finally get the van and then am in such bad shape I can’t enjoy it. So, fingers crossed, and prayers are appreciated if anyone reading this is a praying sort.
As a result of the train trip that went on too long, I have basically not been able to leave my bed for a few days now. At least it got me caught up on my reading. 🙂 Oh, and the snood was finished on Thursday, despite ripping out repeatedly, and youngest daughter finished it off by sewing it to a brim. Must get photo(s) and post them. I love the design and the yarn is delightfully springy.
It is after 2am, so I must stop typing and get some sleep. It feels good to write something, anything, it’s been so long…
Good night. Sweet dreams. May your day be as peaceful and pleasant as mine are turning out to be.