Out and About

 August 12, 2013   Miniature Trains in Jerusalem

Summer is passing all too quickly and it’s time to cram in a few activities before the children head back to school. Not being a beach or swimming pool person, this means we need to find air-conditioned activities. 

This past week this Spy took three of the Grand~children to the newly opened miniature train exhibit in Jerusalem’s Old Train Station. I was not certain if they would even enjoy such an afternoon. Granted they have trains of their own (Thomas the Train and miles of track) but I wasn’t sure if they would enjoy just looking and not touching. 

I have great memories of a friend in the second grade whose father had a hobby train village set up in their basement. He ran several different gauges of trains at the same time and his walls were filled with special shelving that held his massive collection. We used to sit for hours watching him run the trains and build the villages. I figured, if I ~ a girl~liked it… maybe the grand~boys would like it.

Off we went. The whole area has undergone a wonderful transformation the past few years from an abandoned train station to a marvelous family oriented entertainment area (More about that in another blog) We were pleased that there was plenty of parking. (If you go be warned… it is a ‘pay’ parking lot. This Spy didn’t notice that and had a lovely pink ‘gift’ on the windshield upon returning to the car)

The air-conditioned hangar is about 1000 meters of total fun!  What an amazing display! There were about 40 trains running over 1.5 kilometers of track. There were steps for the children to stand on so they could get a really good view. Every now and then a button was available to push that would activate an action or sound. The attention to detail was astounding! All hand-constructed (no wonder there were 4 delays to opening day)

The trains were from different eras of history including steam engines and electric, passenger, and cargo.  Many of the trains were on loan from collectors from all around the world. As the trains traveled through European style villages they ran over bridges, through tunnels around lakes past windmills and beautiful scenery. One of the favorite areas was the amusement park with running rides.  There was a central computer running the whole exhibit with aids stationed all around the room to make certain that things ran smoothly.

We ended up staying almost an hour and a half. The boys~ aged 6 and 4~ absolutely loved it. They went through once slowly to get a good overview and then a second time even more slowly to really notice all the details. Their delight was to pick a train and follow is as it made it’s way around the whole course.

It was a marvelous afternoon and this Spy is glad that there are more grandchildren that need to go and see it.  Maybe today.

Here's a video of the set up  Click Here

September 18, 2012
In August, before the children all went back to school, the government had a campaign to hand out gas masks. For what we hope won't happen but with the knowing that it might, we began our preparations for war. The gas mask distribution was handled through the post office department. The 2 Spies got our masks months ago. But our married children did not. So we all headed to the local mall~ the distribution point~ took our number and waited. We arrived early and our number was #294. We shopped while we waited and had a good lunch. On the whole, all was a very orderly and well organized. The children were very curious but not overly concerned. Actually, most people were taking it all in stride.

The 2 Spies were in Israel during the first Gulf War. We have gone through the process of gas masks, making a safe room and laying supplies by. We did participate in the SCUD missiles and sirens in the middle of the night. Many left the country at the time. We chose to stay because this is our home. We have no other place we'd rather be. Kind of like a marriage~ for better or worse. We also realize that our trust is not ultimately in our troops or our government but in
G-d~ the Maker of heaven and earth.
Waiting... there were plenty of chairs but even with numbers I guess people thought they'd miss their turn.

The 'newer' version for babies. MUCH improved from the tents!

Not sure if he wanted his photo taken....

Got them all home.... now where to store them!!

April 12, 2012
Yesterday was the day. Time to hit the beach. Never mind that it had been plenty hot earlier in the week. BUT yesterday.... br-r-r-r-r!  Did that stop us? NEVER  A beach day is a beach day~ no matter what.
The ladies of the family piled in the car~ the men had gone camping at Ein Gedi~ and off we went. Complete with sweatshirts and warmer clothes.

It only took about 40 minute to get to our favorite spot~ Herzeliya. There wasn't much traffic~ not surprising considering how chilly it was. I was so please when we arrived and saw the new improvements. A great boardwalk, clean bathrooms and showers (which stayed clean ALL day due to a diligent crew) and the lounge chairs and umbrellas for rent. Very beautiful and classy. A great place even if you don't care for the beach. Wonderful just to take a book and relax. I'll have to go back with the other Spy and our Kindles and spend a day!

Here are a few shots of the beach. A wonderful wind made for great surf!

It's NEVER too cold if you are 5 !

Gotta have a kite!

A little bit of rain

March 13, 2012

International Ice Festival

Today we took several grandchildren to see the Jerusalem Ice Festival put on by the Municipality. The first ever Israeli Ice City~ full of ice sculptures made by Chinese and Israeli artists. What a feast for the eyes and imagination! It was rather surreal to go from a VERY warm spring-like day into the -10C degree temperatures. We were quite shocked at how cold it was and were VERY grateful that the city provided warm coats. We remembered to bring ours but we needed the extra protection to stay warm enough to enjoy the exhibit.

Many of the sculptures were of landmarks from around the City.... including the Jerusalem Lion. There was David's Citadel and the Windmill. For those of you who have been to Jerusalem before you will recognize the great 'ugly' slide from Kiryat Yovel and Montefiore's carriage. There were some fairy-tale images from the Wizard of Oz and a great display of the animals and Noah's Arc~ completely with a rainbow.

We will post our photos and a video about the Ice City and let them speak for themselves of the beauty we enjoyed. You will notice in the video that the sculptors are Chinese. Harbin China is renown for their yearly International Ice Festival. One of the 2 Spies' son has been to this festival. Here is a photo from the festival in Harbin:

Harbin, China International Ice Festival

Jerusalem Lion

David's Citadel

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