So, day 3 started out with breakfast at Nof Ginosar again and then onto the bus. We only needed to go about 6-7 miles to a local horse back riding facility. I went with Ilise, my brother, our kids and our niece Dani. The horses were really friendly and the ride was spectacularly beautiful. The view of the Sea of Galilee was amazing and the weather was beyond expectations. We probably had temps in the high 60’s in late December. Pretty nice!
Once we left the horseback riding we headed to the Dan Nature Reserve, the source of the Jordan River. The reserve was very pretty and we were able to take a bunch of really nice pictures. We were able to take water directly from the spring and drink it as it was extremely clear and clean water. The water issue in Israel was pretty bad for years, but recently they have started to use technology to reuse waste water so that they don’t rely on nature as much as others. In addition to the water there is an old fortress that was on the reserve along with a very famous temple. The grounds were pretty rocky and a bit difficult to maneuver for some of our elder travelers, but a nice national park.
From the Dan Reserve we headed to the top of one of the dormant volcanoes to view Syria. The view was really nice, but the fact that it was so close to the northern cities of Israel and that the Syrians used to control those hills before the 1967 war is pretty amazing. The people that live in that area are pretty special as they have lived with conflict most of their lives and there is a chance that they could lose their homes should Israel have to give back the Golan Heights to the Syrians at some point in the future. Our tour guide didn’t think that was happening any time soon, but there is a chance that in these people’s lifetimes they might have to give up the homes they had built for decades.
After the Syrian boarder we visited a local sheep farmer named Udi. Udi was the father of 12 kids, yes, a dozen children, ranging in age from 17 to 35. His wife is a nurse and was not at home, but Udi was very kind and talked with us for about 2 hours while showing us his farm and his flock of sheep. There were also little lambs that were about 1 month old and another group that were 5 months old. The 5 month olds were going to be sold in the next couple of weeks. They own about 600 sheep that produce about 1,000 lambs a year on their farm, and sell just about all of them. They pick the best 100 of them each year to upgrade the flock, but they breed lamb for slaughter. Udi was very candid about his culture and how his beliefs have effected his life. Our family really enjoyed our time at Udi’s home, with my father saying that this was the type of thing that he wanted to do in Israel, meet the real people of the land.
From Udi’s home we headed back to the horse farm for dinner. We had a very nice dinner with some spirited conversation about a few hot topics. Looking forward to our day tomorrow as we head to Jerusalem as we stop at a working kibbutz, a temple from the 600’s and an old Roman town. I’m really looking forward to seeing Jerusalem and starting to prepare for Noah’s Bar Mitzvah. Noah has a bit of a cold but I think he is toward the end of it.
I will continue to do my best to post each day so there isn’t too much backlog.