In keeping with our tradition of tiyulim-on-a-Friday, we decided to make a return trip to Ein Hod, which is an artists village next to the Carmel Mountain. We remembered going a few years back, enjoying the atmosphere. Husband found out about the Nisco Museums http://ein-hod.info/nisco/ and we decided to start our trip there. Rain was forecast so the museum was a good back-up plan. (it turned out to be a lovely sunny day, but as it had rained for five seconds in the morning, there were no Israelis out and about. I have never seen a nation so scared of rain in my life.)
We were greeted by an old-timer with an american accent, and when I asked if the museum was suitable for kids, he said yes, if they were “musically inclined”. He asked if any of us play instruments, so I confessed to being a lapsed pianist. He said we would likely enjoy it and that there was stuff in there none of us would have ever seen before.
So I rounded up the troops and in we went to a musty room filled with some of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. The Nisco Museum (short for Nisan Cohen, who owned the collection) is the largest collection of Music Boxes in the middle east. I have no idea how he acquired all these items nor how they brought all this stuff over from New York back in the day, but we were all spellbound. I don’t want to ruin the surprises should you ever decide to go there, but we were lucky enough to have an (almost) private tour, with just one other family, so my kids got to be up close and hands-on with the antiques. I thought I knew all there was to know about the evolution of music before the world of cds, but it turns out I didn’t. I could have spent all day poking around that place, as I love anything made from wood and this stuff was exquisite. The room had a musty smell to it which I associate with New Orleans, and the sounds were truly magical. If you like music, then definitely go. (It’s not so expensive and we didn’t pay for our 2 year old.)
Ein Hod is also worth a look in if you like art culture. It’s a nice place to walk around with charming old arab houses, street statues and or course, the art galleries. We took our kids into a couple of them which I think they appreciated on some level. Why shouldn’t children get to enjoy art? Must they spend all their lives in parks and gymborees? Aside from those there are lots of quirky little places to pop into although a few were closed (rain stops everything here). The little outdoor cafe we remembered was only serving coffees as the owner said she was feeling under the weather (the rain again???) so we ended up eating in an Argentinian steakhouse -no kashrut certificate so we just had veggie stuff – which Husband thought was a crying shame. But in any case, only hardcore Israelis eat meat for Friday lunch. In my opinion one cannot possibly justify that level of animal suffering and unsustainable eating. But that’s an aside…
Israelis are often surprised when they hear we usually don’t send our middle one to gan on a Friday. Most people take advantage of the babysitting service and use to it catch up things or go on couple dates. I say, 5 days a week of gan is enough! So unless there is a birthday party, or someone’s not well so we can’t do a trip, we don’t usually send our kid. Our older one is in school now so he is home on Fridays in any case, as we opted not to send him to the local “cheder” equivalent. But we value our tiyulim. After all, if you keep shabbat, when else can you go? Friday here is the Sunday equivalent, and since Husband does not originate from a religious family, he can’t think of anything more depressing then spending his one true day-off cleaning & cooking for shabbat. And I agree with him. Our kids know – if they want to go on tiyulim in the morning, they have to help make shabbat, so they do. They make desserts, ice cakes (yes it’s a messy business but it keeps them busy), peel potatoes and do whatever needs to be done. In return they get to go on hikes, beach outings, adventure playgrounds, museum trips, visit historical sights or just get a change of scenery in another yeshuv or town. I believe their lives will be all the more enriched from it.