Friday night we packed up the car and headed for Hammat Gader around 4pm. Its located around Tiberias right on the boarder of Syria.
Its only about an hour and a half away from where we are but it took us a bit longer because Maor got confused with some of the roads that have been built. His sister and mom tried to back seat drive and were both certain and loud about their very different directions being right. Besides the screaming I really enjoyed driving there. Israels countryside is beautiful.
I should have read about it in the book my dad gave me before we went. Hammat Gader is a natural hot spring that has been turned into a resort/spa. I noticed a lot of old buildings around and in it that have pretty much gone into horrendous disrepair but looked like they were at one point pretty impressive. The guide book says that most of the older buildings are left over from the Roman spa city built in the 3rd century A.D. I knew I should have taken a picture of them but they are being used as equipment storage so I felt a little silly pulling out my camera in front of Maors family. Another building I noticed was covered in graffiti and looked like it was being used as a dumping ground, the book says that is an old mosque.
There are three areas to the hot springs. There is an outside where the water is around 90, an attached area under a giant gazebo where they have massage jets everywhere where the water is around 100-115, and a separate indoor area where the water is 120. We didnt go to the indoor one because we felt we were cooking enough outside.
I had a lot of fun with Maors family. There were 16 of us all together. Everyone brought something to eat so we have quite the buffet going. We would go in the water for 10 to 15 minutes then come out to have chicken, salads, cake, coffee, ect. We left around 10pm. Maors mom was worried that I had been bored because 90% of the conversations were in Hebrew. She didnt have to worry. I really enjoyed myself and Im getting a lot better at understanding Hebrew, even if I still cant say much.