Day 34: Neve Shalom to Giv'at Ha-Shlosha
Day 34, April 2: Got to Latrun monastery early, got water. Was going to see it but when gate opened, five tour buses descended on it quicker than flies on fresh poop. Continued over boring terrain, just got to nice flowery meadow. Maxing. In sight of Modi'in, what an eyesore. Should be able to get to highway in afternoon, hitch up to Yarkon River. If rain tomorrow then will go straight to Ra'anana and start from there. Night: Hitched to Tel Afek park. Looked like very sketchy place to camp and looked like rain. Other hikers gave me the number of trail angel in nearby kibbutz and I went. Good call - nice people, shower (I am disgusting from the humidity) and internets. Giv'at HaShlosha. Tomorrow Baptist Village and Yarkon.
I forget why Latrun monastery is famous or interesting, so maybe it's not that much of either. However, that didn't stop the inevitable tour buses from dumping people onto it first thing in the morning. Those smoke-belching monsters (buses, not tourists) are such a part of the landscape over there that I stopped noticing them. I guess Old City in Philly is kind of similar.
Modi'in is one of the most heinous examples of modern Israeli architecture, much of which is truly a grievous sin against aesthetics. Modi'in also one of the larger cities in the country, but an entirely planned one, unlike Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa or Be'er Sheva. As such, although I have not been in it, I have a pretty good idea based on other such towns of what it looks like (sterile and prefab), how it's laid out (large boulevards with few intersections or alternate walking routes, and all housing in cul-de-sacs) and what the vibe is like (soulless). I'm kind of a city-planning elitist, I guess. Philly is largely planned also, but it was done right - lots of intersections and cross streets - in the parts of town I go to, at least.
The trail angels were an unusual middle-aged couple - the husband was a gentile from England. We chatted for a while in the evening. He'd adapted pretty well to his new world, although he still had some Marmite or Vegemite in the fridge. This I tried, and quickly became convinced of the irredeemable insanity of the British.
Their daughter, who was doing the standard post-army world traveling, had just landed somewhere in South America, but her bags hadn't, and they were in the midst of trying to handle the crisis (the bags had appeared by the next morning).
The Baptist Village was some little town of American Baptists that would send people over to volunteer for a while doing who knows what. I thought it would be interesting to check out, but the gates were locked.
In case any older and/or country folk are reading this, "maxing" is like "relaxing" but more urban and stuff.
Self-portrait with spring meadow
Lovely Shphelah landscapes, with an atrocity against aesthetics in the distance
A perfect image of hiking in spring. To the right, olive groves; to the left, cacti - the telltale sign of the
former site of a Palestinian village destroyed in 1948
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