Monday, July 14, 2008

Hiking and En Karem

Much thanks to all of you for the lovely comments on my Summer Swing Jacket! I think it's the first time I've really designed an actual sweater all the way from scratch, so it's really nice to hear how much everyone liked it. For those of you who asked for the pattern, it's now linked in the sidebar, and on Ravelry, too.

We've been on a bit of a sightseeing whirlwind lately--Vitalay's parents went to Belarus for 10 days and left us the car, so we've fully taken advantage--despite having to travel with mashed potatoes for what has proven to be a very painful post-wisdom-teeth-removal week for V.
Last week we drove out towards Jerusalem for some hiking, first in a beautiful agricultural preserve, and then in a little mountain artists' town called En Karem.
We hiked down:
There were some ruins.
All around us were fruit and nut trees. The place is some special sort of gardens for organic farming. You could walk along and pick walnuts, almonds, olives, or figs.
And grapes:We hiked till we reached this cave:
See how I'm smiling, like, normally? Well, I was not smiling on the inside. To get into this cave, you have to walk through this crevice, in pitch blackness, and there's water running under your feet, and then you climb precariously up through a hole--all the while, in blackness, except for your teeny-tiny flashlight--and then you're in this little cavern. Also black. I never knew something like this could be so scary, but I was a little shaky! No worries, though, we made it out alive:See how happy I was to see daylight again?
Then it was off to En Karem, a beautiful little town built into the side of some mountains. It was once an Arab village, surrounded by Christian monasteries and convents, but the Arabs left it and the Israelis moved in, and now it's a very cool, artsy little community.
The Christians are still here too, though we couldn't visit any of their churches because it was quite late in the day. You can see one of the churches up in the hills:
Taken through the convent gate:
View from the convent road:
Happy hikers:
On the knitting front, Indigo Ripples has screeched to a grinding halt as, halfway through the ruffle, I ran out of yarn. There was no going back, since I'd already cut out one lace repeat, and I still need to make an i-cord. So yarn has been ordered, and shipped, from the UK, and now we'll see how efficient the Israeli postal system is.... Unfortunately, this is one of the rare projects that I am knitting solely for the end result--I WANT that skirt! Guess I'll have a few more days to wait....
Next stop: Jerusalem!