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Rain Couldn’t Dampen our Day Out

The salt evaporation pools in Atlit at the Salt of Israel visitor center.

Photos: Dennis Kaliser

Wednesday, April 25 dawned … raining! The sky was so gray I could have been back in Manchester. However, I searched for, and found, my anorak and, braving the elements, set forth for the meeting place where all the other suitably attired participants were gathered, clutching their umbrellas.

The coach duly arrived and we set off for our first destination, Atlit, in the North of Israel, where we visited the Salt of the Earth (Melach Ha'aretz) factory. Israel is at the crossroads of the three saltwater sources: the Red Sea, the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, from which the salt is derived.

There was a pictorial exhibition including 'do-it-yourself' questions and answers, and then we heard an interesting talk by one of the workers about the properties and benefits of salt.

The rain stopped long enough for us to stand outside the building and view the peaceful sandy marshlands where migrating birds congregate and nest. Then it was back to the coach after receiving 'going-home' presents of ………. SALT!

Now to Atlit Station where we boarded (in pouring rain) the Jezreel Valley Train, a railroad that existed in Ottoman and British Palestine, as well as a modern railway in Israel built in the 21st

 century, which runs from the coast inland along the length of the Jezreel Valley. 

Chava Almo who spoke of her trek from Ethiopia and her aliyah

By this time our stomachs announced lunchtime and we spent a pleasant hour-and-a-quarter eating our sandwiches, chatting with new and old friends and admiring the wonderful open views so sadly lacking in Raanana and Kfar Saba.

Now I (and I suspect others) cannot function without a caffeine fix so I was delighted to spy a small kiosk at Bet Shean station where we purchased coffees before being chivvied back on our bus, which drove us (in pouring rain) the short distance to our final visit of the day. It was an Ethiopian tent with a delightful lady called Chava Almo, who related the background story of her journey to, and arrival in, Israel, alone at the age of 10, together with thousands of other Ethiopians.

She told her fascinating story in Hebrew, which was translated in sections to English by a fellow former Mancurian immigrant now living in Degania – yes, I did know her family!

After sampling freshly-brewed, very strong Ethiopian coffee and unusually textured bread and having the opportunity to purchase their beautiful handicrafts, we boarded the coach which then transported us safely (did I mention the pouring rain?) back to Raanana and Tel Aviv.

I only went on this ESRA outing as I fancied the train journey, but I found each part thought-provoking and worthwhile.

So, many thanks to Cecily Hanson for her organization and I look forward to future trips. 



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Wednesday, 29 March 2023

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