Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gan HaShlosha

When we were relaxing in Avon, Colorado a few weeks ago, my father came across a magazine advertisement showing beautiful turquoise blue water surrounded by lush vegetation.

Interestingly enough, it was Israel at a site called Gan HaShlosha. So he showed my mother and demanded to know why she never took us there.

My mother didn't really have an answer, especially since she and her family would frequent the park when she was living in Israel. Also known by its Arabic name, Sahne, the park is a stream converted into a series of swimming holes cascading down from aquifers. Fortunately, the water is relatively warm all year round as it's technically a hot spring though the temperature is refreshingly cooler (82 degrees) than the steaming hot springs (100 degrees) you'd find in Japan or Iceland.

So on our first full day in Israel, my grandparents took us to Gan HaShlosha (B), which is about an hour drive southeast of Haifa (A). As you can see in the map below, it's somewhat close to the West Bank territory, but there were no safety issues at all getting there.


Normally, the park is quite crowded during the peak summer months, but we were going on a random September Tuesday before the Sukkot holidays, so we found the park active but not overly full of visitors. Given it was about 85 degrees and sunny that day, spending the day swimming was a perfect start to our Israel trip.




Around the watering holes, there were grassy lawns with multiple picnic tables and pits for families to grill lunch. There was also a bathroom / changing room area and a small convenience store (think 7-11) selling drinks, ice, and small snacks at one end of the swimming hole.


As you followed the stream down, it opened into three different sections separated by small water falls. But since this wasn't a man-made swimming pool, you had to be careful because the natural spring pools were pretty deep in most parts and in the few shallow areas, you had to navigate around many oddly shaped rocks along the river floor.



But the best part of Gan HaShlosha was that they had dedicated children swimming areas where babies and toddlers like me could stand and splash around safely. I told my parents to go wander off together while I spent some quality time with my grandmother.


Meanwhile my grandfather was busy grilling up some marinated pork and chicken skewers for a late lunch.


Overall it was a great way to spend time with my grandparents. Highly recommend Gan HaShlosha for you other lap children out there.




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