I still remember exploring the little museum of Canaanite artifacts when we stayed at the adjoining kibbutz Nachsholim in 1993. It was an active archaeological site, rather than a national park, so we couldn’t officially visit.Thursday November 21 2019
Sunny and warm, 72F
Today was sunny and warm, as it has been all our time here in Zikhron. In the evening it gets cooler and we have the heat on in the cottage.
We drove down to Habonim Beach on the coast. It is about 15 minutes from here. There are two highways along the coast. Highway 4 goes along on the flat area below the cliffs and hills. Then closer to the coast is highway 2 which is more like an interstate or motorway and goes between Haifa and Tel Aviv. Between highway 2 and the water a stretch about a mile deep with agriculture and some towns. So from highway 2 you are not looking out on the water. It is a bit difficult in this area to get to the water. Up in Haifa they have parks and walkways along the water and the road goes beside them.
Habonim Beach is in a National Park. You exit highway 4, go on a bridge over highway 2, then drive across the train tracks. Then it is a mile or more of rutted out road until you come to a manned booth at the entrance to the park. We paid 36NIS, about $10, to enter and park.
The trail along the water is well marked. I think it only goes south. I have one hiking book that says you can hike all the way to Caesarea where we were yesterday. We did the Israel by Foot version which was from Habonim to Tel Dor and back, 5 miles.
This hike was lovely. It was sunny and warm, with a gentle breeze. The past few days have been windy so we waited for a not windy day for this hike. The water sparkled. The Mediterranean is such a beautiful body of water. We walked close to the water, across a few shell beaches, along interesting rock formations, on scruffy grass areas.
There was one large group of school kids ahead of us and we passed them while they stopped at a beach. I think this was a group of Arab school kids. There are a few large Arab towns nearby. (Israel is very segregated with Arab towns, Druze towns, Jewish towns.) At the end of the hike we saw another big group of school kids.
Tel Dor was the turnaround point. You can drive here. There are remains of a Canaanite port and town which were interesting. The area has not been excavated extensively but you can see a few walls and parts of columns. From Wikipedia: “Scholars who reconcile Bronze and Iron Age history in the Levant with biblical traditions write the following: Dor was an ancient royal city of the Canaanites, (Joshua 12:23) whose ruler was an ally of Jabin king of Hazor against Joshua, (Joshua 11:1,2).”
A great hike and we got back in the afternoon so had time to walk into the center of Zikhron while it was still light out. The main pedestrian mall is short and all galleries, clothing shops or restaurants - nothing that looked interesting to me. Everything interesting is on the block north of the pedestrian street. We stopped for ice cream again. Then into the bakery which is as good as the ones in Jerusalem. Nice bread, pastries, cakes. They will have challah tomorrow (Friday). Next into the candy and nuts shop to buy a bag of mixed nuts. These are as good as the ones we get at the Jerusalem market. After that into the very good fruit and vegetable shop. Everyone was very friendly and the shops are very nice. My opinion of Zikhron just went up quite a bit.
I am happy that we are staying here but am not sure if I like staying here more than in Haifa. It is easier to get out of town for hiking and day trips, but I Haifa has more to do in the town and better food shops and restaurants nearby.
I’m still enjoying your travels.