After another Israeli breakfast spread, we headed out with three items on our agenda.

First, we head off to find Ram Pool, a small lake that, according to our guidebook, is one of only two lakes inside collapsed volcanic craters in the world.  We drive to where we can see it from uphill a little way–the water level is extremely low–too low for tourists, so we move on. Perhaps after the winter rainy/snowy seasons there’s a little bit more of a lake there.  Driving around the area with apple orchards on either side of the road, we see many farmers pulling trailers full of apples behind tractors, pickup trucks, and underpowered Volkswagens. Almost every orchard has an apple stand at the entrance.

Apple carts on the road. Orchards on either side of the road.

Next, we drive to the Kfar Blum Kibbutz, which rents river rafts for a 90 minute meander beginning on the S’nir (from the previous day’s hike) which joins the Banias Stream and becomes the Jordan.  It’s a pretty leisurely ride, and the current does most of the work.  We just needed the paddles to push ourselves off the sides and keep the front of the raft at the front.  All along the river are picnickers, and rafts pulled over to extend the afternoon.  The highlight of the run was when two boys swam up and asked if they could “tramp” with us.  Sure, why not?  The run ended with a small rapid–a one meter drop–where they took our picture.  A little too much for Noah, but a nice bit of excitement for his parents.

Rafting on the Jordan River

Finally, we followed the advice we found on the internet and stopped at Ezba, an Arabic restaurant in the town of Rama for a late lunch.  We got a carafe of water and one of an almond-based drink, which was very sweet and terrific. As an appetizer, we thought we were ordering carob (charov-חרוב) with tahini, which sounded intriguing though perhaps not  quite imaginable, but it turned out to be cauliflower (charovit-כרובית), more logical and surprisingly tasty.  This was followed by beef with freekeh (porridge made from smoked wheat) and mallabi, a milk pudding with orange syrup, walnuts, and coconut, with Turkish coffee and spearmint tea to wash it down.  We were waited on by a teenage boy who was friendly and helpful and wearing a funny English-language t-shirt about evolution.

We made it home with plenty of time to put Noah to bed, our first road trip a terrific success, thanks to good planning by Sarah and a lot of good luck.

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