PART 4 (Conclusion), SEPTEMBER 16 – OCTOBER 1


Wednesday, September 16th, 1953

My room in the hospice of Mount Tavor was by no means luxurious, but my bed was very comfortable because the mattress was so soft.  I was given 2 blankets, & used my own sheet.  Manuel woke me at 7:15, & I had breakfast, again alone, in the large hall where there are long tables & seats for many people, & around the walls are pictures from the life of Jesus.


I intended to leave Har Tavor today, & journey to Nazareth, trying to see what I wanted to see in the town, & get to some kibbutz before nightfall.  But I still had to write yesterday’s diary entry, and had yet much to see on the Mountain, for it had been too dark to see much yesterday – so I decided to stay until after lunch.  For breakfast, I was given only tea, bread & butter (margarine) and jam – but there was plenty of all, including sugar, & it was nice to be served at a table by myself.  After breakfast, I went back with Gabriel to the church, & this time could see properly the very beautiful glazed mosaics around the altar.  Then Gabriel showed me side-chapels, & took me up one of the two towers of the church, whence we could see a blue sliver of the Sea of Galilee to the NW., and many green settlements on the brown land.  I took a photograph of

Gabriel, & he let me climb right up onto the sloping roof, where I did not feel very safe.


Then I went by myself again to the Gate of the Winds, to admire the view in the other direction, towards the Plain of Esdraelon.  But for all the extent of these views, I don’t think they are very beautiful.  I sat on top of the gate, writing my diary, until lunch-time.  My lunch was again not a very satisfactory meal.  The noodle soup & white bread were good, but again I was given a plateful of some kind of sweetish vegetable which I did not like at all.  But this was a different vegetable from that I was given last night.  However I now did a very unusual thing.  “Just for the hell of it” I decided I would eat up all of this unpleasant stuff – and I did, smothering & drowning its taste with bread & water, thus using up as well all my considerable portions of bread and water.  To consummate my feast, I wiped up with bread every last speck of vegetable & gravy on the plate. Afterwards naturally I felt very full.


Despite the food, I now decided that this was such a pleasant place that I would like to spend another night here, & leave after breakfast tomorrow.  I wanted especially to see the sunset which I missed yesterday.  The time is now 3:30.  I have spent my time since lunch writing my diary.  I much dislike this “waste” of time, but still it must be done, & I am glad once again to have brought my diary up to date.


Now it is 5:25 PM, & I am sitting on top of the Gate of the Winds.  I have been climbing & walking about the walls which surround the plateau-summit of Mount Tabor.  But I am not sure which are the Crusaders’ walls, & which are those of the ancient city which once stood here.  I would also very much to know what exactly are “drafted ashlars” of which my guide-book says the old city walls are composed.  As far as I can make out, there seems to be a moat in front of the wall, and then an earthwork in front of the moat.  Around the walls, there are supposed to be the remains of 13 towers, but I have seen only a few of them.


Before touring the walls, I paid a visit to the property of the Greek Orthodox church.  There I met the one black-robed monk who lives there, though there seemed to be several workers about.  He had a long grey beard, & showed me inside his church, a very different place from that of the Franciscans – much smaller & full of ornaments, candlesticks, paintings, curtains etc.  – An ugly place, but interesting to me, for I think it was the first Greek Orthodox church I have ever visited.  The monk spoke no English, & his French sounded very bad to me.  He had been here only a few months, come to replace another man who had died.


Last night I dreamt I was riding a camel through the streets of London.  This morning I saw a camel being brought up here to carry down water.  This is not so remarkable, for I have seen many camels in Israel, though none in the past few weeks – but I certainly never expected to see one up here.  I took a photograph of it & the Arab who was filling the cans on its back.  As soon as I had taken the picture, he said to me “tain lee cesef”  (give me money) – probably the only Hebrew words he knew.  He probably didn’t even understand the “ain lee” (I haven’t any) with which I departed.  Later I saw several other people come up with camels & donkeys to get water which they drew up from a cistern in the ground – mainly for men who are improving the road leading up here, I think.


8:15 PM.  I have just finished my supper, which was again rather a poor meal, though it filled me up.  The soup, of which I had a large bowlful, was good, but the next course consisted of 5 boiled potatoes & a slice of cheese.  Before I left home, I had hardly ever had cheese in my life, but in Israel I have several times eaten it, especially at kibbutz meals, in the white form of cream cheese, which I spread very thinly on bread.  But, like coffee & cucumbers & other foods which I have had for the first time this summer, cheese is something which I still do not like – and I especially disliked the slice I was given for supper.  But I had ¾ of it, & 4/5 of my potatoes.


It certainly was windy on top of the “Gate of the Winds,” & I felt after a while quite cold – but I had a grandstand view of the sunset, & watched the valley darken, & the lights of the settlements twinkle.  The sky is most beautiful after the sun has gone down.  Hurrying back past the hospice to the viewpoint beside the church, I could see the top of Mount Hermon rising faintly above the haze.  But on the way I met the Father-Superior, who has a rather stern face, & told me he thought I was leaving today.  I said I planned to leave tomorrow morning, & he said, in French, that I must leave then because some other people were coming.  I assured him that I would leave then, but my spirits were somewhat damped, feeling that I had “outworn my welcome.”


I saw several groups of tourists come up here today, but I think they were all Jews.  With their cameras, loud laughter, & noisy manner, they were as distasteful to me as any other tourists.  When I think back on it now, it seems hardly credible to me that I allowed myself to be herded round with 200 other people in the tourist-excursions of the Summer Institute.  How could I have sunk so low?  Never again for me an organized group!


9:10 PM.  Some time ago, Manuel came in when I was sitting alone here in the dining-room, & told me that a large party of Jews had come up, although it was now of course dark, & was intending to go back down tonight.  A short time ago, I heard singing outside, & went out to see what was going on.  In the courtyard was a small bonfire, & around it were sitting & standing a large group of young people, singing Hebrew songs in the way I have become so accustomed to seeing in this country. Here, when young people gather together anywhere, the first thing they seem to do is start singing.  I talked in English to one of them, & learned that they came from a kibbutz, I think Gazit.  It did not seem very tasteful to me for these people to come up here & disturb  the Christian peace & silence with their songs & bonfire -- but  this is an excellent example of all that is fantastic in Israel.  Here is a group of young kibbutznik Jews of the modern State of Israel, who probably came from every corner of the world, or at least their parents did, gathered on top of a “Holy” Mountain where dwell Christian monks from Italy, Greece, Germany & Yugoslavia, who cannot even speak Hebrew. The young Jews build their bonfire & chant their nationalistic songs at a place where devout Christian pilgrims have been coming since 400 AD.  And all about, live Moslem and Christian Arabs who form so hostile a danger to the Jews that the adult leader of the kibbutz group carries a rifle over his shoulder.  And the boy I spoke to asked me seriously if I was not afraid to come up here by myself.  Such is Israel today!


Thursday, September 17th, 1953

This has been a day for me of hard travel, in which I have done no hitch-hiking, but much walking & climbing.  It was my aim to journey from Har Tavor, visit Nazareth, and arrive by sunset to stay at the kibbutz of Kefar Hachoresh, west of Nazareth.  This I have accomplished, with much fatigue, but little difficulty – and I am very satisfied with my day.


Last night I finally finished reading my copy of Homer’s “Iliad,” translated by A.L. Rouse, which I bought in a cheap edition in Tel Aviv on August 19th.  It was the first time I had read Homer, and on the whole, I was not much impressed.  This was probably partly because the translation, which claimed to be “colloquial,” though it made all the characters speak like hearty middle-aged Englishmen, deprived the story of all beauty or dignity.  But, even allowing for that, I still cannot appreciate why, apart from its antiquity, this is considered great literature. For me, it was often monotonous, and rarely of great interest.  I found the interventions of the Gods only annoying.  Also I was disappointed to find that the stories about Achilles’ heel and the Wooden Horse do not come in the Iliad, & must therefore occur in the “Odyssey.”  From the historical point of view, however, I did find much of interest in the “Iliad.”  I was interested in the ideas of religion & fate which occur in it, the importance of sacrifice & libations etc., Gods assuming human form to deliver messages, & the significance of omens.  In the many long & gory accounts of battles, I was impressed by the importance attached to stripping the armor from a vanquished foe, & to protecting the body of a dead comrade.  Now of course I feel more than ever that I have to read the “Odyssey.”


Last night I had a wonderful dream.  I dreamt that I was employed as a taster in a chocolate factory. I slept well, from about 10:30 PM to 8 AM. My breakfast was identical with that of yesterday – tea, bread & butter, & jam.  I made myself one sandwich, from one slice of bread, to take with me, & ate the rest there.  I did not see Brother Gabriel again, & so had only Manuel to say goodbye to.


When I left the hospice on Har Tavor this morning, I was still not sure that I wanted to go on foot to Nazareth, or even that I wanted to go there at all.  Since even before I came to Israel, there has been bred in my mind by all that I have heard & read, a fear of the Arabs.  So many times have I heard stories of Arab outrages, & been warned against travelling after dark, & near frontiers, that the prospect of journeying alone through all the Arab territory which lies between Har Tavor and  Kefar Hachoresh was not an inviting one, and I was tempted to consider going somewhere else instead, perhaps to Karnei Hittin or Tiberias.  I remembered how Dr. Vilnay, our Summer Institute guide, had told us, when we were about to visit Nazareth, that it was a center of Arab hostility to Israel, and warned us to keep close together when walking through the streets, as if there were grim danger all about.  Certainly it is true that Jews were being killed and injured by Arabs every day – but I think those are usually Arab infiltrators from other countries.  The American Israeli soldier whom I met 2 days ago told me how 3 Jews walking along a road had been mown down by Arabs who had crossed the border.  Surprising as it may sound, the Israelis, as a reprisal, sent a raiding party to destroy an Arab officers’ training school across the border in Jordan.  They succeeded, & killed over 100 Arabs, but 6 of their own men were killed.  But, for all that, it still seemed very ignominious of me to reverse my plans like this, and the Arabs added a tang of adventure to the idea of a journey to Nazareth.  I had therefore decided, by the time I passed under the Gate of the Winds, that I would make for Nazareth, but still was not sure whether to go on foot all the way, or to descend to the main road, and hitch-hike via Afula. 


But, just past the Gate, I came upon a parked Israeli army lorry.  I had seen a group of soldiers come up to the Monastery, & knew that this must be their vehicle.  On the back was sitting a little soldier with a rifle, obviously left to guard the lorry.  With no definite purpose, I asked if he spoke English, & found that he spoke it very well.  I told him I was going to Nazareth, & he invited me to stay with him, & said I might be able to get a ride on the lorry, though I am not sure if it was going to Nazareth.  So I waited there for the others to come back, & had an interesting conversation with this man, who came from Bagdad, Iraq, & had been in Israel 3 years, 2 ½ of them in the army, from which he would soon be discharged.  Unlike several other people from Iraq I have met here, he is quite content in Israel.  When he comes out of the army, he will go to study at the Technion in Haifa.  In Iraq he went to a school where there were many English teachers, & he has a great love for English poetry.


But when his companions returned, I was told that for some reason they could not take me.  And so, not very disappointed, I started walking down the hill along the steep zig-zag road upon which many Arab men were working.  I wondered who was paying for this work, since the road serves only the religious buildings at the top.  For some reason (perhaps just for exercise?) the soldiers from the lorry did not come down the mountain in the vehicle, but ran, all the way past me down the road.  But at the Arab village of Dabburrya, they again got into the lorry & drove off.  Later I met them again in Nazareth.


According to my map, if I wanted to walk to Nazareth, I had to go along the foot of the mountains from Dabburrya to another Arab village of Iksal, then climb up a mountain path.  I had to go right through Dabburrya, & it thus became the first inhabited Arab village which I have alone traversed.  But the squalor & poverty I saw there were nothing new to me.  They recalled to me what I had often seen in Italy & Spain.  The village was however picturesque, with its small rectangular buildings on the hillside.  Many children, clad in blue, were coming home from school, & I had to ask them which was the way to Iksal;  but since I know no Arabic, I could just say the name Iksal.  They however understood me, and some of them led me down through the village, along steep rocky tracks which were the only paths.  Several men & women stared at me, but I did not feel myself to be in any danger.  I much admire the Arab clothes, especially those of the men.


Just at the point where I had to leave the children, & was saying to them the only Arabic word I know, “Salaam,” which I thought was the equivalent of the Hebrew “Shalom,” I came upon a white ambulance, marked with the usual red star of David, by which was standing a man in western clothing, who came out & started talking in English to me.  It seems he thought I was saying “shalom” to the children, & he told me it was foolish to say that.  I asked him then what I should say, & he told me the word “Bechadrak” of which I made a note, & which stood me in good stead today.  He walked along with me, & told me that he was in charge of a clinic in the village.  He invited me to come there because, he said, he wanted to show me that the Arabs were not all such beasts as the Israeli propaganda would have one believe. 


So I went with him to his little poorly-equipped clinic, & there sat & talked with him. He was a man in his 30’s, & told me his name was George, & he had a wife & 6 children.  His home was in Nazareth, & he was a Christian Arab.  He was not a doctor & had in fact no medical training, but he ran the clinic when the doctor was not there, & treated minor ailments & sold medicines which he obtained in Nazareth & from which he made his profit.  I was very glad to be able to meet & talk freely with the man, for it has been my long-standing desire to hear at first –hand the Arab point of view on matters about which I have heard so far only from Jews.  I of course told him that I came from England, & I think this perhaps made him more friendly than he would have been otherwise, for he much liked the British. 


During the period of the British Mandate in Palestine, he said, the Christian Arabs were very happy – but under the Jewish government, they were discontented.  Under the Mandate, he had a good job, working for the Post Office, but when the Jews took over, his job was given to a Jew, & he had to take up this job, in which he felt he did not really belong.  He complained that prices were now much higher than they were before, and that the Arabs were not being treated fairly by the Israeli government – having their movements restricted, lacking the privileges of trade unions & committees which the Jews had.  I did not attempt to argue with him on any of these matters, for, in the first place, I did not know enough about him, & in the second place, I did not want to antagonize him.  


Some patients came in while I was there.  One was a man with a cold in the head.  Somehow the idea of an Arab with a cold in the head struck me as ludicrous.  But I pitied him as he sat there on the bench, moaning & burying his face in his black head-dress.  George told me that he had told the man that he needed to rest, but the man had said that he must work.  George used this to illustrate his complaint that the Arabs had no “committees” to aid them when they are unwell, but I do not know whose fault this is.  A woman came in with her baby boy, who had a sore on his head.  George put on a dressing, & the woman paid him.  I don’t know how much of a socialist I really am, but I certainly hate this idea of paying money for medical aid.


George told me that if he could he would move to Lebanon, but the Jews gave very unfair prices for an Arab’s house  & property & land when he left the country, and they even sometimes used to think of confiscating it as “enemy property.”  Of course I do not know how much of all this is true, but it is quite believable.


But George was by no means entirely hostile to the Jews, although he disliked the present government, in which he said the Arab representation of about 9 members out of 120 in the Knesset was, he said, practically useless.  He did not deny my suggestion that the government had done some things to help the Arabs.  He said that the Christian Arabs felt closer to the Jews than to the Moslems, & he told me a story which I am not sure I understood, but I think it was this:  During the war between the Jews & Arabs, the Moslem Arabs formulated a plan to kill all the Christians in Nazareth.  The Christians, fearing the Moslems, sent delegations  to the American & British consulates in Haifa, who induced the Jews to send a force to capture Nazareth.  This was certainly a very different account from that of Dr. Vilnay, who told how, despite the opposition of many powerful influences, the Jewish Army decided that they must conquer Nazareth, and a band of young men easily captured the whole city.


Nor did George deny that the Jews had a definite right to the land they had bought at exorbitant

prices in Palestine.  He felt that the best thing now for this country would be government by Britain or the U.S., whose policies were, he thought, already controlling Israel (as I have heard many other people say.)  George said the Arabs suffered from bad leaders who were not interested in the welfare of their own peoples, while the Jews had good leaders & much help from abroad.  He said the Arabs had fled during the war because they had been scared by British propaganda which made them think that the Jews would massacre them all.  This conversation with George was a revelation to me.  I did not hear much which really surprised me, but it was the first time I had heard all these things from an Arab’s mouth, & I felt I now understood things much better.  But eventually I had to set out & continue my long walk to Nazareth.  


The path to Iksol led between flat fields at the foot of the mountain mass.  Several times Arabs riding donkeys passed me going in the other direction, & each time I said “Beshadrak,” & they replied something.  I was not afraid of them, though the thought never entirely left me that every Arab I saw might want to harm me.  But when I saw 2 Arabs on horseback approaching me on a path crossing mine, I suddenly did feel afraid, and my imagination changed the sticks they were carrying into rifles.  But there was nothing I could do but keep on walking, & I felt great relief when they continued on their path.  After this, I never felt much fear, & took considerable pleasure in getting a reply to my “Beshadrak.”


 So I continued on my shadeless way to Iksol.  Behind me rose the impressive mass of Har Tavor.  Far across the plain, on my left, lay Givat Hamore,  The Nazareth mountains were close on my right.  At length I reached Iksol, which I did not have to go through, but only bypass, in order to reach the zig-zag rocky path which wound up the mountain-side.  But, before ascending this, I wanted to obtain some water, & if possible, some food.  My breakfast had been poor, & I was now beginning to feel hungry, but I had with me only the sandwich I made this morning, beside 3 stale slices of bread from kibbutz Mishmar Ha’emec.  Of my water, I had given some to the Iraqi soldier, who had asked me for it – and my bottle was leaking, as usual.  I found a small group sitting in front of one of the houses near the path – a woman, boy, & some young children.  The boy spoke Hebrew, & I asked him for some water.  They sent one of the children off to fill my water-bottle.  Then, when I had obtained water, I hoped to be offered food, & tried the device of offering them my stale bread.  They of course refused it, but did not offer me anything in return.  Anyway, I now set off, & staved off hunger for a while with my one sandwich.  In a nearby field, I was interested to see that some Bedouin tents were pitched.  As I headed for the mountainside, I saw a beautiful sight – a train of camels high above, moving along the top of the mountain ridge.  The distance accentuated their graceful movement, & I could understand then why they are called “ships of the desert,” for they really did look as if they were sailing rather than walking.


(Continuing on Sept. 18)  So on up the mountain-side I went, along a very rocky path, passing an occasional donkey-back Arab coming down – and as I ascended once more, the panorama of plain and distant mountains opened up beneath me. It was a hot shade-less climb & I was quite tired by the time I reached the top, where I sat & rested on a stone, & there was a strong breeze.  Looking back over my life, I think the most exhausted I have ever been was when I reached the top of Ben Nevis in Scotland last April.  Today’s climb proved too much for my left shoe, which, repaired only 2 days ago in what I thought was stout fashion, once more gave way at the toe & started to come all apart.


At the top of the trail, I could see ahead a fine large building which stands above Nazareth – but the rest of the town was obscured by an intervening hill which, after my rest, I surmounted & saw Nazareth before me, a beautiful town spread out on the hills, with many trees and churches, the town where, almost 2000 years ago Jesus is said to have spent his boyhood.  Here I came, I think on August 2, with the Summer Institute, when we, in a large group, visited the Church of the Assumption, and walked quickly around the market, and where a boy selling ice-cream cheated me of 1 lire by giving me the wrong change for a 5 lire note. 


But even now, I regret to say, my visit to this town was not completely satisfactory.  I had intended to leave my rucksack somewhere, & take a leisurely stroll about the place, but that was not how it worked out.  As I walked up what I think was the main street, I was accosted by several people selling postcards etc., & wanting me to employ them as guides.  Of course I wanted nothing to do with them, but one man in white who spoke English said he could tell me how I could get shown around for nothing.  He told me to go to the Franciscan Monastery and see Father Valencio.  I did not know what to think of this, but before I had time to think, a crippled boy whom I seemed to remember from my last visit had offered to take me to the Monastery.  So I followed him & another boy, & they brought me to the Monastery, which seems to be part of, or adjacent to, the Church of the Assumption, which, though comparatively modern, is built upon the site of the great 4th Century Basilica, of which there are still some remains – columns, mosaics etc., to be seen.


 At a room just inside the entrance of the building, I met a man who spoke English, who said that Father Valencio was not there, but he would arrange things for me.  I rested first there a while, & he gave me a drink.  I left my rucksack in the room, & was sent over to another English-speaking man, who was told to show me around the Church of Assumption & the nearby Church of St. Joseph.  This he did, but in a very quick slick professional way, which left me hardly any time to appreciate things.  Still, it was better than on my previous visit, when we were often not given any explanation at all.  This church is, it seems, supposed to be built over the Nazareth home of Jesus and his parents.  This home, into which I was taken down, is nothing but a cave, with various niches & holes etc., which served different purposes, e.g. there is a place where water was stored, & a sort of hole carved into the wall through which a rope was pulled.  The Church of St. Joseph is built over another cave, supposed to have been Joseph’s carpenter’s shop.  But I wonder how authentic these places really are.  The Monastery also has a tiny museum, in which the most interesting exhibits are a group of finely carved Gothic capitals, in a very fine state of preservation, thought to have been sent from France to be used in a church which was never erected.  There are many quaint figures on them, supposed, I think, to be the Apostles.  My brief conducted tour of these buildings was over all too soon.  Then I asked which way I must go to reach Kefar Hachoresh.  I did not intend to go there yet, for the hour was still early – but I was told to take a road which went close by the fine large building which I had seen first from the top of my mountain path. (Before leaving the Monastery, I met Father Valencio, whom I amused by saying that all the Italian I knew was “Quanta costa? – Troppo caro”  -- “How much?  Too much.”)


So, taking my rucksack, I walked this general direction & passed through the very interesting market.  Nazareth is an all-Arab town, of which I think 2/3 of the inhabitants are Christian & 1/3 Moslem.  But many of the people I saw did not look like Arabs at all.  The market consists of some narrow streets lined with small shops.  Dr. Vilnay had said that one could read in the faces of the Nazareth Arabs their hostility to the Jews, but I could detect no such thing.  At a drink-stand in the market, I bought an Artic, & a glass of very poor gazoz.  When I sat down on a step, the boy who sold them to me went & got me a chair.  So I sat there for a while, in this most interesting place, which was a sort of miniature square in the market.  Down the center ran a large gutter, in which the donkeys stood, into which all the waste was thrown.  There were many flies about.  I saw a black-veiled Moslem woman, & other women tattooed on their faces.  There was a mixture of Arab & western clothes.  Most of the boys I saw wore the khaki clothes typical of any Israelis.  Some men wore red fezzes.  I saw some people playing backgammon, & others playing cards, a Christian priest, & some girls wearing what looked like a school uniform.


Then I decided to be on my way, & so walked up out of the market along some narrow lanes & cobbled step-paths, up the hillside, trying to find the road to Kefar Hachoresh.  Once I went wrong, & arrived at a dead end, & had to go back some distance.  But at length I came upon the large building which had been pointed out to me, & found it to be a primary school, built & maintained by contributions from France & Belgium.  Uninvited, I went up onto its long pleasant terrace, where there were benches, & there I sat & rested, looking out past palm trees upon Nazareth & the distant hills.  Behind me, through a window, I could hear a lesson being conducted in French & Arabic.  At length, a white-coated man who spoke French came out onto the terrace, & when I explained who I was, he invited me to go up onto the higher terrace, whence there was a better view, & gave me some lemonade.  From him I learned that this is a school for Arab children from many parts of the country.  It is a boarding school, & I saw some of the dormitories.  He directed me towards Kefar Hachoresh, towards which at length I set off, seeing it on a hill-top.  I reached the kibbutz without further incident, but could not understand why I saw so many people about who did not appear to be kibbutzniks.  Later I learned that the buildings at the top of the hill are not part of the kibbutz, but are a sanatorium of Histadrut, the federation of trade unions.  I met a woman named Novrit, who spoke some English, & took me into the dining-hall, where she obtained a very welcome meal for me, though it was not yet supper-time.  By the time I reached the kibbutz, I was very weary.  Later, at about 9:15, I went & had another meal with Novrit.  She soon arranged for me to have a room, & I was given a very pleasant one in a new building, with a radio & bed-lamp.  Most of the people in the kibbutz, which is Mapai, come from Hungary & Czechoslovakia.



Friday, September 18, 1953   (written Sept. 19)

After seeing an Arab with a cold in the head yesterday, I fear I have caught one myself, though not, I think, from him.  I awoke this morning with a feeling that all was not right with my body.  My nose was slightly stuffy, & my mouth & throat felt hot.  However, it did not appear to be serious, & I was not much worried.  But the ailment stayed with me throughout the day.  I had occasionally to blow my nose, & I definitely was not in good health, feeling tired much of the time. Apart from boils, this is the first physical malady which has attacked me since I left home.  When I left home, I had a kind of hay-fever & stuffy nose which had troubled me for weeks – but this left me after about 2 days at sea.  I think the cause of the present cold was the fact that during my 2 evenings on Har Tavor, I spent considerable time out-of-doors, in the cold windy air, and really felt cold at the time.


I forgot to mention yesterday that in the Nazareth market I went to a cobbler, and had my left shoe again repaired.  Although he was very anxious to begin work, I insisted on knowing first the price, which he finally told me was 10 piastres (5 pence).  This was of course cheap, but he did not do as good a job as the man who on September 15 wanted to do it for nothing.  This Arab cobbler got through the job as quickly as he could, and did not put on any glue, as the other man had done.  He simply hammered in some nails and cut off some of the protruding rubber sole.  But at least his work has held today.


Although I have little to return home to, and loathe the prospect of resuming my old unhappy life at home & college, I cannot deny that I am counting the days to my departure from Haifa on the “Artza” on Sept. 22, and am much looking forward to the homeward cruise.  My great regret however is that the ship will take me not to England, but only as far as Marseilles.  From there, I long ago decided that I would hitch-hike to one of the Channel ports, & then go home the usual way.  But on this journey, I will have to take my whole heavy rucksack, & will probably thus have much back-breaking misery.  I chose to do this rather than endure the agony of another overnight train journey (but also to save money) – but am not now sure whether I really did make the right decision.  Perhaps the train would have been the lesser of 2 evils.


Because of my illness, today proved to be a very hard day for me, and, although I accomplished almost all of my intentions, I was unhappy for much of the time.  It was my desire today to journey from kibbutz Kefar Hachoresh to Akko (Acre), see Akko, and find my way by evening to some kibbutz nearby. Tomorrow, September 19, would be the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  I had known this, and feared it, for several weeks. Yom Kippur is, in the Jewish religion, the most “holy” day of the year, when religious Jews go without food for 24 hours, and attend synagogue to atone for their sins.  At home, I know Mummy & Daddy fast on this day, and Daddy usually goes to shul.  I was not at home last Yom Kippur, & am not sure what happened 2 years ago, but when I was at home, I used to fast, only, I think, because my parents wanted me to (though of course they would never have forced me to.)  And on some years, I went unwillingly with Daddy to shul. But were I at home now, I would have no qualms about eating on Yom Kippur.


I had been fearing this day because I know that, on it, all shops etc. in Israel would be closed, there would probably be little traffic on the roads, and I might have difficulty finding places to sleep, and (especially) to eat.  In any case, tomorrow, besides being Yom Kippur, would also be Shabbat.  So I decided that the best thing for me to do would be to try and get onto some kibbutz where I could spend both tonight and tomorrow.  Of course, I did not want a religious kibbutz, but there are very few of these.  I have not yet even come across one.  But I was slightly worried about Mapai kibbutzim.  I knew that with Mapam I would have no trouble, for they would not observe the holiday at all..  But Mapai kibbutzim, though they would probably not fast or observe ceremonies, might keep the day as a holiday.  So I thought it best to try to find a Mapam kibbutz, which should not be difficult, since most kibbutzim are Mapam.  (It is interesting & rather puzzling to me that despite this latter fact, -- and I think the proportion is 2/3 or ¾ -- all the kibbutzim to which people were sent from the Summer Institute during our 2-week kibbutz period were either Mapai or religious.


Incidentally, when I was young, & heard people, especially Mummy with her inaccurate pronunciation, talk about Yom Kippur, I used to think that it had something to do with a “young kipper”!


Although, when I stay at kibbutzim, I am always afraid that I may oversleep and miss my breakfast, I don’t think I have ever done so, though often I have had to rush.  This morning I woke up in good time.  I did not see Novrit again, for she had said goodbye to me last night.  She had a cute little son named Abner, & last night I went with her to the Beit Yeladim (children’s house), where he slept in a room with 3 or 4 other children, & where she kissed him goodnight. She told me that once, when he was ill, she had taken him to sleep in her own room, but he had much objected to this.


Breakfast was not a very good meal.  There was coffee (usually on kibbutzim it is coffee for breakfast, water for lunch, and tea for supper)  -- as a matter of fact, I think I am wrong & it was tea we had, because I remember there were saccharine tablets to sweeten it.  To put in my food-box for my day’s journey, I took 2 large pieces of bread & margarine, & 2 small green peppers. Also for breakfast I had a hard-boiled egg & some fish – the small canned oily kind, of which I eat much when I can.


After breakfast, I had unfortunately to spend much time finishing yesterday’s entry, & it was not until about 11 AM that I set out from the kibbutz  There is a road which leads south from the kibbutz, out to the main Nazareth-Haifa road, & down this I began to walk, but was soon picked up & given a lift by an army tender, as far as the main road.  I planned to travel along this Haifa road as far as a turning not far from Haifa, where a road goes north to Akko.


But my plans are always very flexible, and, after consulting my guide-book, I decided that, if I had time, there was one place I wished to visit on the way.  I had not been along this road before, and there was a place called Beit Shearim (the House of the Gates) – the remains of an old town and its catacombs – that I thought would make an interesting visit.  Nearby there was a place called Givat Zeid, which, according to the book, was a “Youth Farm.”  Here I thought I might be able to have lunch.


But getting my first lift proved rather difficult.  When I alighted at the main road, I was near a large police station, & scattered all about were small primitive Arab dwellings.  I walked along the road & passed by the Arab village of Yafa. Ordinarily I would not have minded this walking, & could have continued for some time, but now, as throughout the day, I felt weary & in poor spirits.  I therefore stopped & waited, on a wall beneath a tree.  I had passed many olive & fig trees.  A group of Arab women & children with donkeys walked past me, carrying what looked like fire-wood.  One woman had a large long, obviously heavy, tree-limb, which she carried on her head, sometimes not even using an arm to steady it.  But there was a cloth pad between her head & the burden.


At length my lift came – I rode in the cab of a large lorry with a policeman, who was carrying a load of hay to feed some police (?) horses on the northern border.  Had I wished, I could probably have gone with him right to Akko, but I told him I wanted to go first to Beit Shearim.  He spoke no English, so I had to try to converse with him in Hebrew, practically an impossibility for me.  But with him doing most of the talking, I did manage to talk with him for some while.  I understood a little, mostly from his motions.  It seems he was a Pole, had been in the Russian army, & came to Israel during the Arab war.  The road we travelled on now went through some beautiful country, & past many settlements.  We went past the “Balfour Forest,” and the settlement of Nahalal, which was built in the form of a circle – but of course, this is evident only from the air.  It is near Nahalal that the people of kibbutz Kefar Hachoresh have most or all of their fields, and every day they must come down by lorry to work them, & return home in the evening.  The ground where they live, Novrit had told me, is so rocky that, when anyone wants to plant a lawn or garden, they must bring the earth from elsewhere.


We had some difficulty in finding out where I should alight – and in fact, I got off at the wrong place, & had to walk a little further than otherwise I would have had to.  But all walking & exertion was for me today to some extent unpleasant.  Beit Shearim, it seems, was a Jewish town which became quite important during the early centuries A.D.  When Jerusalem was denied to the Jews, rich Jews used often to be sent here for burial in the catacombs.  Beit Shearim was discovered in modern times by Alexander Zeid. who was one of the old shomrim, or “watchmen,” who guarded Jewish settlements, and in 1936 he built his home amid the ruins of the ancient town.  He died in 1939.  It was towards this house, a square building topped with small “battlements,” that I now walked along a winding road, past some new settlement still being built.  I reached the building, on a hill-top, feeling not only tired out but hungry.  I spoke to a girl, & she fetched a man who spoke some English.  I had evidently interrupted his meal, & he was gruff & unhelpful, even when I told him I was a student of History from England.  He indicated some of the ruins, & told me the catacombs were down the hill. When I asked if he had any food, he said this was not a restaurant, & went back inside.]


I looked around the ruins for a short while, but there was little that interested me – the remains of a stone floor in a synagogue, broken columns & carved stones.  I walked along a path down the hill towards the catacombs, but on the way felt so hungry that I stopped amid some part of the ruins to sit & have my humble lunch – a piece of bread & margarine, & 2 peppers


The catacombs were indeed very interesting, & I regretted that I was not in a better mood to enjoy exploring them.  There were many of them – pits in the earth, into the sides of which were cut burial chambers.  The entrances to these chambers were originally closed by small gates made of large carved stone slabs, which swung in some sockets.  Some of these gates were fallen, but many are still in position, & some still swing fairly easily. Inside, in the dark chambers, one can see the many stone “coffins,” carved into the soft rock walls – but this was a very different place from the catacombs of St. Calixtus at Rome, which I visited last year.


I saw also the metal statue of Alexander Zeid on horseback (Israel’s only equestrian statue says my book) which stands on a hilltop overlooking the plain of Esdraelon.  At length I returned wearily to the main road, pausing on the way far a gazoz, & there I waited for a lift. The time was about 3 PM.  My earlier accounts of sunset time have been inaccurate.  By 6 PM now the sun has already set, and by 6:30 it is dark.


Now I got a lift with an army officer (?) sitting in front of a tender.  He took me to Kiryat Bislik, but we did not go along the road I expected, going instead into Kefar Ato. This man spoke English, & I asked him about the kibbutzim near Akko.  He said he thought Ein Hamifrats, just south of Akko, was Mapam, and I decided that that was the kibbutz I would make for.  But first, of course, I wanted to see Akko.  I got another army lift which took me there.  On the way, I must have passed Ein Hamifrats, but did not remark it.


Like all my other activities today, my visit to Akko was spoiled by ill-health, and also, in part, by hunger.  This was another of the places to which I had paid a brief visit with the Summer Institute, on the same day, in fact, as I went to Nazareth.  But all we had seen then was the Great Mosque, and part of the market.  Today, after passing through some suburbs, I entered the town through the great gate of whose name I am not sure, passed through the old bazaar, inspected the gay water-fountain in front of the Great Mosque, then went into the grounds of the Mosque, & found myself in the garden, a quiet peaceful place with trees & plants, surrounded by an arcade containing Roman Pillars brought from Caesarea and Ashkalon.  It was very pleasant here, & would have liked to stay & rest for some time.  The soles of my feet were particularly weary.  But I had to move on, for there was much to see.  Akko is certainly a very “Eastern”-looking town, with its narrow streets & alleyways, its domes and minarets etc., which from a distance look quite romantic.  Its present appearance was I think given to it largely by the Turks.  Unfortunately, apart from such vague facts as that it was besieged by Richard the Lionheart and Napoleon, I knew little about the history of this historic town, & thus no doubt lost much pleasure from the visit.


As I had feared, I soon got lost in the narrow streets, which are most confusing. and, once lost, it took me almost all the rest of my time to find my way out of the city again.  Although I think Arabs now form a small minority of the population, I saw few people but Arabs, & the explanation must have been either that I just happened to wander mostly in the Arab quarter, or that all the Jews were indoors, preparing for Yom Kippur.  I saw much filth & poverty, many dirty children, smelt many unpleasant smells, etc.  But despite this, the place undoubtedly has a certain charm.  Several times, I found myself at the battlemented wall, looking out to sea.  And I sat to watch the red ball of the sun sink below the horizon.


My guide-book had a diagrammatic map of Akko, but one so poor that it was practically useless.  Only when I was trying to get out of the city, did I stumble across the Khan of the Franks and the Khan of the Columns, 2 large courtyards now in very poor condition.  And somehow I missed altogether the most famous building in Akko, the Citadel, which is however now closed to the public & is used as a lunatic asylum.

I saw a large group of Arab boys playing football near the sea wall, with an older boy acting as referee. 


It was a most weary undertaking to find my way out of Akko.  Several times I went wrong, & had to retrace my steps.  But at long last I succeeded, & returned to the Haifa road.  It was now dark, & I had, according to my map, about 2 or 3 kilometers to walk to the kibbutz of Ein Hamifrats.  This was the first real after-dark walking  that I had had to do in Israel, at least along a main road.  I was worried that (a) I might miss the kibbutz, or have trouble in finding it in the dark, and (b) that when I did find it, I might be challenged by some after-dark guard.  The second fear proved unfounded, but I did indeed have some difficulty in finding the kibbutz.  Once I went along a sandy track which I thought would lead me there, but instead it took me to “the middle of nowhere” – but I had not come far out of my way, & returned to the main road. Always in the distance, across the bay, I could see the beautiful sight of Mount Carmel, bejeweled with the lights of Haifa.


Eventually I did come upon a good road leading off to the left, which took me to Ein Hamifrats.  Rarely have I been so glad to reach a kibbutz.  I was very tired, & very hungry – but even then, my troubles were not over.  I met a boy riding out of the kibbutz on a bicycle, & learned from him with satisfaction that this was Ein Hamifrats, a Mapam kibbutz of the Hashomer Hatzair movement.  He advised me to go to the dining hall, & told me how to get there – but I got lost even in the kibbutz, & spent some time wandering about, looking for the dining hall, or for someone I could speak to.  Once, hearing noises & seeing lights, I went towards a building, only to find that it was the cowshed!


But at last I found the dining hall, & after that, everything was alright.  Some people befriended me, & I was taken inside to eat by a man from Egypt who spoke French.  The meal was one of the most welcome I have had in a long time.  I took particular delight in many cups of hot sweet tea.  There was fried fish & soup with beans & noodles.  After this, of course, I felt much better. I went with this man to his room, & spoke to him in French.  He came here from Egypt 10 months ago. There are about 23 Egyptians on this kibbutz.  This man’s name is Samuel Cohen.  Afterwards I met a friend of his, Chaim Rosenfeld, who came also from Egypt, & has a wife & 3 children here.  These 2 men arranged for me to have a bedroom.  It is a room with 3 beds, but I am the only occupant.  Then they took me to have a shower, where there was warm water, & then we went & talked in Chaim’s room. Chaim speaks English.  Samuel understands it, but doesn’t speak much.


Chaim told me of the good job & high position he had held in Egypt, in a large salt & soda company, where he said he used daily to speak 5 languages.  Now he is a tractor driver, & says he does not regret the change. He told me how Jews were discriminated against in Egypt, even if they & their fathers had been born there; and he told me how he had decided to leave, had sold his home & possessions very cheap, & obtained his insurance & other money from his company by telling them that he was going for a 6-month stay to France, because his daughter, who had infantile paralysis, must see doctors there.  He did in fact go to France, & stayed one month in Paris, (though it seems his daughter  has been operated on not there but here) then went to an immigrant camp at Marseilles, & was eventually shipped to Israel.  He said the conditions in the camp were shocking, but there were people who were glad to be there, because they did not have to pay anything for food & accommodation, & could also, I think, take on work.  He managed illegally to bring over £1,000 sterling into Israel, because he asked the clerk, who was a Jew, when he made a telegraphic transfer of the money, not to mark it on his passport.  Of Chaim’s 3 children, the eldest, a girl, has had infantile paralysis, & is awaiting a second operation on her leg, & the youngest, a boy, has a too-large heart, for which doctors say nothing can be done.


I went to bed very tired at about 10:15 PM


Saturday, September 19th, 1953

Today was Shabbat and Yom Kippur  (see yesterday) and it was certainly a day of rest for me, if not one of fasting & atonement.  In fact, I have been less active today than on any other day since I left home.  But this inactivity was not completely voluntary.  The fact is that I have again been unwell today, and though, apart from a slight dripping of the nose, there have been no positive symptoms, I have felt weak & listless all day, and the slightest movement has been an exertion for me.  So I have spent almost all my time here in my room on Ein Hanifrats kibbutz.  I got up for breakfast at 7:30, but after breakfast, I came back, lay down on my bed, & eventually went to sleep again.  While still awake, I cast my wandering mind back over previous trips of mine in other countries, particularly that first memorable journey in England in May-June 1950, with Bennett.  I thought too of my school-days, & how far away they seem now, and of my life at college, which I detest, & how I hate to return there, where there is not one person I can really call a friend.


It was an unpleasant exertion even for me to walk to the dining-room, but a very worthwhile one as far as lunch was concerned – for today we actually had meat, very good well-cooked meat, which I enjoyed very much.  It was the first time that I had had a solid piece of meat on a kibbutz.  Portions, of course, were not large, but they were also not very small.  There was also good potato soup, with beans & noodles.  But neither breakfast nor supper were satisfactory meals.  On both occasions there was only coffee, no tea, & all the coffee I have tasted on kibbutzim is abominable.  But then I don’t know if all coffee is like this or not, since, before I came to Israel, I had never drunk coffee in my life.


In the afternoon, I again lay on my bed for a while, & spent some time writing yesterday’s entry. I also took out my Bible, & read through the book of Job, which I have meant to do for some time. But although I know that this is supposed to be very great literature, and recognize that the thoughts it expresses are sublime, I cannot say anything of the work, other than that it is very very dull.


Since I first felt unwell, I have of course had the idea of being seen by a doctor or nurse, but I do not really think my complaint serious, and it was too much of an effort for me to go out seeking attention.  This evening at supper, however, I re-met Samuel and Chaim, and told them that I might not be well. Chaim took me to his room, where later Samuel came, & took my temperature with his thermometer.  But he found that I had no temperature, it being just .1 degree centigrade above normal.  This is good to know, & now I am less worried about myself.  At any rate, if I must be ill this is a more or less convenient  time for it, for in 3 days’ time I will be at sea, where I can be ill in comfort.


I talked some more with Chaim, this time mainly about politics.  He inclines to communism, & told me how he thinks that all wars, like the Korean War, are caused by the economic desires of capitalist countries, in this case the U.S., which was anxious to defend its interests in Java & Sumatra etc. Like many other people, he told me he feared America was becoming a fascist state.


Sunday, September 20, 1953  (written Sept. 21)

My long holiday is coming to an end, & today I came to Haifa.  But, although I thought it would take me 2 days to arrange everything for my departure, I might really have come just as well tomorrow.  In fact, it would have been much better if I had done so – for now I find I am running out of money.


There were many things that I wanted to do in Haifa – send postcards, buy souvenirs, arrange my baggage etc. – but I still was not sure this morning whether to go directly to Haifa or not. I thought I might first return to Akko, to see the things I had missed before, but eventually I decided that that was not worthwhile.  But my main concern when I woke this morning was with my health.  I seemed to be somewhat better than yesterday, but still did not feel completely normal.  For the first half of the day, on my way to Haifa, I was still miserable, but after that, my health & spirits seemed to improve.


The great worry on my mind has now become, what am I going to do when I reach Marseilles?  My rucksack will be very heavy, the weather in France no doubt cool & wet (I have few warm clothes).  After hitch-hiking across France 4 times last year, the prospect of doing so again carries no thrill of adventure, but recalls to me only the miseries of seeking lifts, cheap food, & cheap accommodation.  I greatly fear that this worry, unless I can succeed in putting it out of my mind, will cast a cloud over my ocean voyage.


I had a shower & breakfast at kibbutz Ein Hamifrats, and brought away 2 slices of bread & margarine, half a cucumber, & a hard-boiled egg which someone had miraculously left.  These things could if necessary serve as my lunch.


It was evident to me that I was not in my old good form when I left the kibbutz, for I could not even muster the strength for my usual songs.  The sun was strong, but I could not find a shady place to wait, so I continued walking along the main road, feeling distinctly unhappy.  So downcast were my spirits that when, after much walking & hitching, I failed to get a lift, I decided to take a bus.  The bus-ride cost me about a shilling, & this was a shilling’s worth of misery, for, as usual, I had to stand all the way – and in these buses, when one stands, one can see nothing out of the windows.  But it was probably my last bus-ride in Israel.


I had studied a map I have of Haifa beforehand, and found that the Municipal Museum, which my guide-book said was a “must,” and the Tourist Information Office, were in the same building, which happened also to be the building of the Town Hall.  This seemed a very convenient place for me to visit first, and the bus fortunately stopped nearby.  A man directed me to the Museum, which occupies a wing of the building, and there I went first, after having a gazoz  Gazoz & similar refreshments are quite cheap here, but today I bought too much, & later regretted it. During the day in Haifa, I bought gazoz 3 times, ice cream once, & peanuts once.  The total cost was about a shilling & 3pence.

The Museum was a well-kept place, with many antiquities, mostly of the Greek and Roman periods, pottery, coins, figurines etc.  There were some very fine Greek vases, and a black head of Nero, which I and my guide-book liked very much.  I was surprised at how beautiful & well-painted was some of the pottery of many centuries B.C.


Then, from the Museum, I went to the Tourist Office, a room in the Town Hall.  My chief concern was now to find someplace cheap to spend tonight and tomorrow night.  Since these were my last days in Israel, I did not mind being a little extravagant with my remaining money, & was prepared to spend up to one lire (4 shillings) a night for accommodation.  But of course I did not tell the woman in the office this, & simply told her that I had very little money, & was looking for the cheapest possible accommodation.  But she and a man who was sitting there in the office, had very few suggestions to make. They could think of nothing like a student hostel, and eventually, all the woman could offer me, after making a phone call, was the name of a hotel, where, she said, it shouldn’t cost over a lire a night. 


The only people I know in Haifa are the Salomons, the family of Jacob Salomon, the lawyer, whom Daddy knew when a young man in London, & whose home I visited for a weekend in July.  But, although I would of course have liked to stay with them now, it seemed most distasteful to me to phone them up, hoping they would invite me to do so.  I preferred to stay in a hotel.  But I did want to phone them just to say goodbye to them, and, since I did not know their telephone number, I asked the people at the Office to look it up for me.  When I mentioned the name Salomon, I think they both knew it right away.  The man said that he knew Jacob Salomon very well.  They both suggested I should go & stay with them, & advised me not to be shy about it, but I still did not like the idea, & eventually decided against it.  However, I made a note of the number, & this evening, after my accommodation was already arranged, at about 7 PM I phoned them up, hoping (for strong reasons which I will later explain) that they might invite me to a meal tomorrow.  But the phone was answered by (I think) the maid, who told me that Mr. & Mrs. Salomon were not in the country.  I did not inquire further, but think they might have gone on holiday, perhaps to Sweden.  This was disappointing – but it was also a satisfaction to know that I could not have stayed at their house anyway.


I made several other enquiries in the Tourist Office, e.g. the location of a cheap restaurant, & of a post office.  There were many people to whom I still wanted to send postcards, & from the Tourist Office I went & bought 9 cards for about 1/6, & then went to the post office & bought stamps for them, which was another 1/10 1/2 .  This was another large expenditure, which later I regretted.  This evening I wrote my cards.  They are to: Constable Green & family in Cornwall, with whom I stayed a night with Bennett in 1950, & to whom I have sent cards from many countries;  Constable Mulligan, in Arfraham, County Galway, Ireland, where also I spent a night in April 1952;  3 of my old teachers – Mrs. Eustace (English), Miss Ward (Art),  Mrs. Moss (Geography);  Pearl and Archie Bogat, my cousins in New York;  Bill Dubin in New York;  the Leventhalls in California; and, a person to whom I thought of sending a card only recently, Neil Morris, my old school-mate, at Downing College, Cambridge.


I don’t think I ever recorded in this diary that when, on September 8th (first entry in this book) I picked up my left luggage in Jerusalem, I discovered that the sunglasses I had brought with me were missing.  These were a particularly good pair, which Mummy had brought me back from Canada last year. I had kept them in a stout cardboard box, & feel sure that they must have been stolen, perhaps at the same time & by the same person who took my English & American money, whose tragic loss I had discovered only the previous day.  But I never used, or even wanted, these glasses, for reading about the Bates system convinced me that sunglasses were unnecessary.


From the post office, I went to seek the Hotel.  The address I had been given was Hotel Hadar, Nordau Street.  This was quite a good central location, & I had not far to walk before I found it.  The hotel seemed to be of about the same standard and style as the “Victory” hotel where I stayed in Tel Aviv.  The man in charge, Mr. Landau, who spoke some English, showed me a bed in a room with 2 other beds, and said that the price was, I think, 1.25 lire a night.  I said immediately that this was too much, & he asked if I were a student.  I said yes, & he immediately lowered his price to 1.72 lire for 2 nights. This was quite satisfactory, & I at once accepted, booked in, & paid.


Leaving my rucksack at the hotel, I next went to the workers’ restaurant in Hichalutz Street.  This place, like the one in Tel Aviv, was not at all what its name would suggest.  It is a large new clean bright restaurant, where the prices are quite reasonable.  When you go in, you are given a ticket, upon which the waitress writes your bill, course by course, as she serves them to you.  My meal of soup, bread, fish, potatoes & salad cost just a little over 2 shillings.


One of the most depressing, to me, of all the common sights of Israel, is that of so many people striving in competition with one another to make a living selling things like sweets, drinks, ice cream, nuts etc., from small stands, trays, or boxes.  In a single busy street one can see scores of these people sitting dismally by their wares, and sometimes they look very old.  Then there are the shoe-shine people, the newspaper boys with their very loud cries, who often come into restaurants, the pitiful beggars, who all go to make the Israeli urban scene.  I just do not see how many of these people can make a living at all.  There is a good joke which I heard some time ago, which is worth recording here, which gives a very good idea of conditions in Israel today.  It seems that Ben Gurion, Prime Minister of Israel, was having a talk with Truman, (former) President of the United States.  B.G. asked Truman, “How much does an average worker in America earn in a week?”  “A hundred dollars,” said the President. – “And how much does he spend a week?”  -- “$75.”  “Well,” asked B.G., “What does he do with the rest of the money?”  “That’s his business,” said Truman, “In our country we don’t ask people that kind of question.”


Then Truman asked B.G., “And how much does an Israeli earn a week?”  “$100.”  “And how much does he spend?” – “125.”  “Well,” asked the President, “Where does the extra money come from?”  “No,” said B.G., “That’s his business. In our country we don’t ask people that kind of question.”


After lunch, I went for a long walk.  I wanted to find a shady place overlooking the city, where in pleasant comfort, I could sit and write.  I remembered a point called Stella Maris, just by the Carmelite monastery, where I driven with the Salomons one evening, & later visited with the Summer Institute.  It was a place with a good view out over the bay.  So I decided to walk there. But it was a long, hot, mostly uphill journey – and my feet, which for days have been becoming easily tired, were again hurting me.  I went along United Nations Avenue, past the remarkable gold-domed shrine and gardens of the Bahai sect (which makes Palestine a holy land to yet another religion) and then a long way along Stella Maris Road, through the “military zone “ where “no parking of cars or taking of pictures is allowed.”  At the top of a hill, I asked a boy outside a house where I could get some water, & he went in & brought me some.  Several little incidents happened like this today where, almost as soon as I needed something, I found it readily at hand, and I thought of the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.”


As I walked about Haifa today, I saw much that I had not seen on previous visits, and came to realize how it has really 3 different sections – the harbor town, the “Hader HaCarmel” residential & shopping quarter, built on a sort of plateau on the mountain-side, and the Carmel suburbs.  The old Arab town by the harbor has been completely destroyed – but one still sees many Arabs about, more than in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.  Like every hillside town, Haifa has many steep streets and public stairways.  The views of Haifa and the bay from aloft are undoubtedly very fine, but, at close quarters, the city contains little that is really beautiful.


At Stella Maris, I could see right along the coast up to the Lebanese border at Rosh Hanikra with its white cliffs – but much of Haifa was obscured.  I could however see the port, with many ships, including one white ship with a single funnel, which I think was the “Artza,” my homeward vessel.


Unfortunately, there was no bench at all here for me to sit on, so I had to sit on the ground, & wrote most of my last letter home.  Then I walked down into the town along Allenby Road, & on the way bought a little package of peanuts for 10 piastres from a stand. It was the first time I had bought anything besides orange juice, gazoz (fizzy flavored drinks), and ice cream, & I enjoyed the nuts.  It is most tempting to walk down a busy street where on every side people are selling good things to eat.  This evening, I saw many people selling cooked corn-on-the-cob, which must be a very popular food here.  Never once in Israel have I bought any fruit, & in fact it is only rarely that I have bought food at all (apart from refreshments like ice cream.)


I had the idea now of going to the Shoham shipping office in the street which used to be called Kingsway, but is now Haatzmaut Road, and seeing if there were any mail for me.  But when I arrived there, it was after 5, & the place was already closed.  So I went back up towards my hotel, & visited on the way the Technion, or Haifa Technical College, which is a good building, built in 1912, & about which I have heard much, & met many people who have been, are, or want to be, students there.


But my chief concern this evening was to buy some presents to take home with me.  This problem of souvenirs is one that troubles me on every trip I make.  I hate to go home without anything, especially since Mummy always brings me something – but I never want to spend much money, & it seems silly to buy things just for the sake of buying them.  So I never know what to buy, &, as on this present trip, every time I pass a shop selling souvenirs, I think about getting something, but usually postpone my purchases until the last minute – sometimes until it is too late.  Moreover, there is the difficulty of weight, since I have to carry everything on my back – but this is not really much of a problem, since anything heavy is usually expensive as well.  Although of course I wanted presents for all my family, I was chiefly anxious to get something for Myrna, who, although there is not much love lost between us, gave me a bow-tie (which I didn’t bring with) just a few days before I left.  So this evening I looked well in the window of every souvenir shop I passed -- & there were quite a few of them -- & saw many goods of high quality & high price.  I wanted, if possible, some things costing a lire (4 shillings) or less – but this left me a very limited choice.  I was prepared to spend a little more if I saw something I really liked.  I went & looked around several shops, but found my task very hard.  I would have loved to take home a menorah (Hannukah Candelabra) for I know that is something we have never had – but they were much too expensive, & also too heavy.


But I saw one thing which did take my fancy, & which I seriously considered buying.  In many souvenir shops, both in Haifa & other towns, I have seen for sale square white tiles bearing colorful designs of things connected with Israel.  There were children dancing the horah, an Arab riding on a donkey, a newspaper boy – but the one I liked most & felt most typical of Israel was one depicting a queue of people at a bus-stop.  Amongst other people in the queue were a Yemenite woman, a soldier, an old Orthodox man, & an Iraqi man.  I felt that this would make a fine souvenir & a colorful & attractive decoration for a wall at home.  But the price was 1.48 lire, about 6 shillings.  I really did not feel that the tile was worth this.  Still, the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. But of course I did not buy at the shop, but waited to see if I could find a cheaper price elsewhere.  Eventually I went to a shop of W.I.Z.O. (the Women’s International Zionist Organization) who also have a shop in Tel Aviv.  Here were sold all the usual souvenirs, plus many made specially for sale through this organization.  Here I was waited upon by a woman who spoke English, & was very helpful & patient.  She understood what I wanted, & spent a long time showing me things, all of which for some reason or other, I rejected.  There were ashtrays and handkerchiefs and bookmarks which cost under a lire, but I just didn’t like any of them.  Before I had finished, I had seen practically the whole stock of the shop, for, as a matter of interest, the woman showed me the more expensive things as well. 


But at last I did see something which I liked very much which cost 1 ½ lire, & which I thought would please Myrna.  It was a brooch depicting a curved Arab dagger & sheath – and the knife actually came out of the sheath, to which it was attached by a little chain.  I am not sure, but I think this was made of silver.  It looked finely worked, & I thought the price was not too bad, so I decided to buy it.  Then I quickly made up my mind to buy the tile as well, which this shop also sold.  The price of the 2 was thus £3.  But when I looked in my wallet to get this out, I found to my shocked surprise that I did not have enough money!  I had come into Haifa with about £6 of Israeli money, but, without my realizing it, my various expenses had so eaten up this sum that I now had just over £3 ½ left.  If I bought these 2 presents now, I would have about 2 shillings left to last me until I board the ship, which would of course not feed me adequately during tonight & tomorrow.  So I bought just the brooch, but all the time I had at the back of my mind the idea that, perhaps I could, by living mainly on soup tomorrow, retain enough money so that I could buy the tile as a present for Mummy & Daddy.  But now I had to start economizing, & so, when I went back to the workers’ restaurant, all I had for supper was soup & bread, which cost about 6 ½ pence, but this was enough to keep me from hunger before I went to bed.


One of the men in my room comes from Argentina.  The good thing about today was that, after mid-day, I no longer thought about my illness, & I think it passed gradually away.  Perhaps I was never really ill at all, but only imagined it.


Monday, September 21, 1953.

This was my last day in Israel, and a day which passed off quite happily for me, with some pleasant surprises.


It is interesting to see how the street-traders keep pace with the Jewish festivals.  Now that Rosh Hashonah is past, and they can no longer sell New Year’s cards, children’s paper flags for Simchas Torah (the festival celebrating the completion of the year’s reading of the Torah in the synagogues) and the lulov and esrog, 2 traditional objects (one, I think, a plaited palm leaf and the other a kind of fruit) for the harvest festival of Succot, have begun to appear in their stands.


But, although my day went well on the whole, it began for some reason very inauspiciously.  Although I often have periods of misery (though not so often when I am away from home) it is rarely that I wake up in the morning feeling miserable.  Usually it takes me some time to collect my thoughts & decide that they merit misery.  But today for some reason I felt very unhappy from the moment I woke up.  The fact that tomorrow begins my 6-day pleasure-cruise had no effect on me.  I could only think of how badly off I would be when I reached France, & how difficult would be my journey home from Marseilles.  Also, I had little to live for today, for I had not money to buy good meals today, unless either I spent the  £1 ½ with which I wanted to purchase the tile, or, as I had thought seriously of doing, went back to the shop & exchanged the brooch for the tile to take back as just one present for the whole family – but the more I looked at the brooch, the less I wanted to do this.


But, as soon as I got up & started washing, I began to sing, & it was as if the sun had come out in my mind.  Things no longer seemed so bad, & I could look on the bright side;  and fate today has in good measure rewarded my optimism.  First of all, I fortunately did not have to worry about paying for my breakfast.  From the kibbutz which I left yesterday morning, I had providentially brought 2 large slices of bread & margarine, a hard-boiled egg, & half a cucumber.  I had thrown the cucumber away yesterday when I arrived at the hotel, as I thought I would not need it.  But this morning I still had the bread & egg, which I ate in the room -- & these served quite well as my breakfast.


I am not sure exactly how much Israeli money I still had, but, unless I did not buy the tile, or exchanged the brooch for it, I think I had just about enough money to buy me 2 bowls of soup, and to pay for the remainder of my baggage, which I have had in check at the Egged bus station for about 6 days.  But I was not sure exactly how much the check-bill would be, and, with luck, it might be low enough to allow me to have bread with my soup. So this morning after my breakfast, I set out with my rucksack (for I must re-pack my stuff at the station) for the Egged bus station. 


But first I went to the Shoham shipping office to see if any mail had arrived for me.  I very much hoped that there would be a letter from Mr. Sobel of P.A.T.W.A. in London, to whom I had twice written asking for clarification of the position regarding my return rail fare from Marseilles, which I wished to be cancelled.  When I enquired, I was given not only one but 2 letters.  One was an aerogramme, obviously from home, which I had not expected.  The other was a letter which had come by express post, & which, for some foolish reason, I supposed was also from home – so that I was at first disappointed when told that there was nothing else for me.  But when I opened it, I found to my relief that it was indeed from P.A.T.W.A., though from Helen Cohen, the Secretary, & not from Mr. Sobel, who was out of town.  She says that they never received my first letter, & goes on, “I have checked with the travel agents, who had in any case cancelled your rail and steamship tickets (since you did not return with the party).  It will therefore be for you to make your own way to England., after landing in Marseilles. The money will be refunded to you (we are not yet sure exactly how much there will be) after you have returned to this country”


This idea of “making my own way,” although I had of course taken it for granted all the time, looked, when I saw it in print, like an inspiring challenge, which did much to lighten my spirits.  But the most important thing is that now I know definitely that, my rail & channel fare was cancelled, which was what I had been wanting to hear for many weeks.  The letter from my parents also gave me some satisfaction.  It was unexpected, for I had given them no address, & they addressed it simply to me on the “Artza,” Haifa, sailing Sept.22nd.  It was written (or begun, for the postmark says Sept. 15th) on Sept. 11th, after they had received my letter from Tel Aviv in which I told of the loss of my English & American money.  Of course it must have been nearly as great a blow to my parents as it was to me, for, as Mummy says, it was not mine but “our money.”  Naturally they tell me not to take it to heart, & not to stint on meals, etc.  But I have no doubt that blame & shame will be heaped upon my head when I get home and have to “face the music” for this loss, which still puzzles me.  I certainly wish I knew when & how the money was taken, & why only the British & American money was touched.  Mummy regrets that we never thought of me taking a money-belt.  But the obvious answer is that I should never have taken such a large sum of loose money with me at all, but carried only travellers’ checks.


Mummy tells me about the wedding of Dennis Berman & Pat, & suggests that I give lectures on Israel for money when I get back.  Indeed, I would like to do, but feel that I have neither the courage nor the qualifications required to talk to other than perhaps an audience at my old school.


At this office I made another important inquiry – what time of day would the “Artza” dock at Marseilles? and received the pleasing reply that it would probably be about 8 AM.  (Of course I daresay it will be some hours before I will get off the ship – but still I will have time to leave Marseilles, & begin my journey north, getting perhaps (with great good fortune) as far as Lyon, where I could stay in the Youth Hostel.


I now walked to the Egged station, & obtained my bundle, for which I had to pay 30 piasters (about a shilling & three pence).  This was a little more than I expected, &. at a time when I was counting every piaster, it struck me hard.  I now spent some time in the check-room, where the man allowed me to come inside, as he had done before, re-packing my rucksack.  Those glorious days of a feather-weight rucksack were now over, at least for this summer, and from now on I must struggle beneath a burden of many kilograms, much of which, such as sheets & soiled clothing, I could dispense with.


Having made this expenditure, I now knew exactly how much money I had for food.  It would still, I think, keep me in soup, but not in bread.  Now I had a new idea, & thought to go & buy my tile, but try to get a reduction on it.  If I could save 10 piasters on it, this would be fine.  I went with my heavy load to a shop where I had been yesterday, and, after selecting the tile, explained to the man my position  --  that I needed money until I sailed tomorrow, & asked him if I could have the tile for £1.38 instead of  £1.48.  This he readily agreed to do, & I could probably have got an even bigger reduction if I had asked for it.  But this was enough for me, & I now rejoiced at the little extra spending money I had.—(a piaster is worth about a halfpenny), bought the tile, & took it & my rucksack to my hotel.  Then I went back to the workers’ restaurant for lunch, intending to buy just soup & bread for my lunch.


But now I was particularly fortunate.  I sat at a table where there were a man & 2 women.  When the waitress came, she could not speak English, & the man offered to help me.  I told him I wanted just soup, bread, & water.  He told the waitress, & then, when she had gone, asked me if that was all I was going to have.  I explained my position to him, & he readily offered to treat me to a second course.  I made a very poor show of resisting, & was soon eating fish, potatoes, & noodles.  Talking with the man, I learned that he is a professor at the Haifa Technion (technical college).  His name is Dr. N. Robinson, & he is head of the Solar Radiation Laboratory.  He asked me what I was going to do about this evening’s meal, & when I said honestly but casually that I intended to come & have soup again, he offered me a 50 piaster (half lire) note.  I at first refused, but he urged me, saying he knew what it was to be a tourist – and I thought it would be very foolish not to take it, since it really would pay for my evening meal.  So I accepted the money, which is worth about 2 shillings, and it is almost the first time I can remember that I have accepted money for nothing from a stranger.  I was of course very grateful, & offered to deliver any message he might care to send to friends in England.  But he did not know their addresses.  He & his companion, who also spoke English, left before I had finished my meal.  Once again I felt, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”


In the afternoon, I first returned to my hotel, rested & wrote, & then went for a walk & climb up Mount Carmel, which took me, just by a chance, to a point which is I think called Panorama Point, where I once went with the Salomons to a fine fish dinner at the Panorama Hotel.  Here at sunset I sat on a bench where I could look over the city, port, and bay, and finished writing my last letter home, which later I mailed.  I saw the sunset lightly glow and fade over the land, but couldn’t see the sun, since it was on the other side of the mountain.  Several groups of people came & sat or stood near me, & they spoke a variety of languages, even English – but I heard few people speaking Hebrew.  When it grew dark, I watched the lights of the city & settlements twinkle on all along the coast, a beautiful sight.


Then I came down, & after looking in some shop windows, went back to supper at the same restaurant.  For lunch I had paid for the first course & been treated to the second.  For supper, I paid for the first 2 courses (of which the second was quite good, an egg omelet wrapped around some kind of minced meat) and was treated to a third, a dish of a sort of fruit soup, by a soldier from South Africa whom I met at my table.  This was a very interesting but mysterious man who claimed to be a political martyr.  He said he was a highly qualified physicist, & when he first came to Israel from South Africa, he was employed by the government, having been excused influential council, which he says the government tried to bribe by presenting members with flats etc., but failed to win over a majority, of which he was one, which were “more left than the government.”  And so the government, to break up the council, suddenly drafted him into the army, where he is now, after a year, just a private, and used similar devices to get rid of the other undesirables.  He would not tell me if he was a member of the Communist Party, & wouldn’t even tell me his name.


After supper I returned to my hotel.

So I am at the end of my long stay in Israel, but it is late now (11:50), and my observations will have to wait until the leisure of the ocean voyage.


Tuesday, September 22, 1953

(4:45 PM)  Once again I am at sea on the Mediterranean, on board S.S.”Artza,” a few hours out from Haifa.


Before I proceed with today’s narrative, I want to mention that the fact which I learned yesterday in the letter from P.A.T.W.A., that Mr. Sobel had never received my first letter to him, explains what puzzled & annoyed me very much on Sept. 9 (q.v.), why Sam Sherwin, in his note to me, had made no mention of receiving any reply from Mr. Sobel.  Also, Mummy told me in her letter that I received yesterday, that, before cancelling my return rail journey, P.A.T.W.A. had phoned my parents to ask for their permission, which of course they granted.  So, despite all my worrying, everything turned out alright in the end, and I got just what I had wanted all the time – my sea-passage postponed (with no extra charge) to Sept. 22 on the “Artza,” and my rail and channel journey cancelled.


(6;30 PM)  This morning was spent in getting onto the ship.  At my hotel, the Hotel ‘Hadar,” I had a shower, stuffed my rucksack for the last time, and in good spirits travelled down to the harbor.  I still had about 13 piasters (6 1/2d) in Israeli money left, & I intended to spend this on some food, to keep me from hunger until lunch on the ship.  I thought I would buy my little breakfast at some buffet in the port, but on my way to the harbor, I passed so many kiosks with food temptingly on display that, before I reached the harbor entrance, I felt I could no longer resist, and at a little stand purchased a bun and my last glass of Israeli “mitz” – orange juice – which previously I had not had for a long time, since it is twice as expensive as gazoz.  I thus committed 2 foolishnesses which increased my pre-prandial hunger.  Firstly, instead of buying some cheaper rolls, of which I could have had more, I bought a comparatively expensive bun and drink which did little to fill me up.  Secondly, I should have waited longer before eating, for lunch was still a long hungry way off.  But I felt really that I was buying the mitz for sentimental reasons, and the bun was a treat which I had never before enjoyed.  This used up all but 2 piasters (a penny) of my money, which I intended to keep as souvenirs.


But I had a little shock yet coming to me. This was the first time I had ever boarded a sea-going ship by myself, and I found it a lengthy and complicated process.  The first step was at the entrance to the port, where I had to join a queue showing their passports etc. to a man in a window.  When my turn came, he examined my passport.  I told him I was going on the “Artza,” and he made out some sort of little ticket for me.  But then, to my dismay, he asked for 10 piasters!  I don’t know exactly what this price was for, but I told him almost indignantly that I had no money left.  I am not sure if he understood me, but he repeated his demand, and appeared to be determined that I should not pass without payment.  This was a remarkable situation.  Of course I do not think that the lack of 10 piasters would have kept me off the ship, but I was certainly much relieved when a man behind me in the queue intervened on my behalf, & explained the situation to the official, & I was allowed to go on.  I am not sure if this man paid for me, or if I was let in free.


Next I had to go to a large waiting-room part of the big Customs Shed. On the way into the harbor, incidentally, I met someone whom I knew – the young teacher from Holland named Dov, whom I met on September 13, at the kibbutz of Mishmar Hasharon.  He was seeing off a girlfriend of his, who was also going on the “Artza.”  I waited, mostly idly, in the waiting-room, for about 45 minutes or an hour.  I had been given a ticket, number 23, which indicated my place in the queue.  When seen at last, I passed along several tables where my passport & ticket were examined.  My ticket was not of the ordinary kind, but only an ink-inscribed card, written out & stamped by the Shoham office – but I had no trouble over this.  I was given a card telling my room number, D2, and giving me first sitting at meals.  Then into another room, more tables, questions about how much money I had with me, a form collected which I had carried in Israel, & on which banks had recorded when I cashed travellers’ checks.  I was given some other form, which I think I was supposed to fill in & sign, about money I was taking out – but later this was collected without my having written a thing on it.  Somewhere in all this process, my passport was given an exit stamp.


Next, to the Customs shed, where as usual my rucksack was passed without examination.  Never once in all my travels have I been asked to open my rucksack so that its contents could be inspected.  But only once have I ever been afraid of this happening.  That was at Prestwick Airport in 1951, when Brian & I landed, each with a valuable Mixmaster mixing machine (the present of Mr. Leventhall in California) wrapped up in pieces in his clothing in his rucksack.  I was now anxious to obtain some labels to put on my baggage, but, after asking several people without success, I decided to leave it until on the ship.  Later, when aboard, I obtained some at the Purser’s office.


From the quay, the white “Artza” (which means literally, I think “to the Land,” i.e. to Israel) looked a very small ship, scarcely larger than an English Channel steamer. And indeed, it is a small ship, carrying, I think, a maximum of 400 passengers, maybe less.  Upon boarding the ship, I had to give up my passport, which , as on the outward journey, will be returned a day before we dock.  Then a steward showed me to my dormitory, D2.  It occupies half of the area at the very front of the ship, 2 flights down, & is thus the shape of a narrow triangle.  And into this are squeezed bunks for 14 people.  There is very little space for moving about, or even for sitting or standing.  I was the first to arrive in the dormitory, & could thus choose any bed I liked.  The most important thing, I felt, was to get a place where my sleep would be least likely to be disturbed or prevented.  Eventually I chose the bottom bed of the bunk which seemed most distant from light and any possible noise.


But I did not reckon with a fact which I later discovered – that my dormitory is separated from the adjacent one only by a partition, & this adjacent dormitory is occupied by women & children, who will no doubt be making much noise early in the morning.  I remember, when we first sailed on the ‘Jerusalem,” that I was in another crowded dormitory, which, like this one, had no porthole, and we were woken up very early by the noise, especially of babies crying in the next room.  We were so dissatisfied that we succeeded in getting transferred to another dormitory, which did have some portholes.  But this time I will have to stick it out.  Not only have we no portholes, but the ventilation is poor, & it is always rather hot there.  Moreover, there is little space for hanging up things. It is a problem where to put luggage.


This undoubtedly is a ship of a lower standard than the ‘Jerusalem,’ on which I travelled to Israel with the Summer Institute.  On the J., for instance, there was a separate 3rd Class lounge – but here our only “lounge” is a part of the dining-room near the bar, where the tables are not set.  In fact, there is very little indoor space for Third Class (& dormitory) passengers besides their cabins.  I am, of  course, travelling Dormitory Class, which is the lowest.  I had been warned that the “Artza” was not as comfortable a ship as the J.  Since this is a smaller ship, there is of course less deck-space.  The J had a tiny swimming-pool, which I never used – but here there is none.  There was some organized entertainment on the J – films, quizzes, etc., but I am wondering if there will be anything here.  On the J, deck-chairs were free – but here, it seems, one has to pay for them.


But showers, washrooms, & lavatories on this ship are not bad, and the food today, as on the J, has been excellent.  There are 2 sittings for meals, except breakfast & tea.  Lunch in the first sitting is at 11:30 AM, & supper at 6:30.  I was originally given a card for the first sitting, but on the J I had second sitting, which I preferred, for I thought the first sitting times too early, especially supper at 6:30, which would leave me hungry by bed-time.  I managed to arrange to have second sitting, with lunch at 12:45 and supper at 7:45.  By lunch-time today I was very hungry, & though the meal was very good, it was not really enough for me.  There was soup, salad, some very good meat & potatoes, bread, & a large pear-shaped plum.  The last time I had had such a good meal was about a month ago, in the Negev. 


At lunch I met someone else I knew, a Dutch girl who had been in the Summer Institute, & who I remembered had told me that she was going to be on the “Artza” with me.  There is a party of about 11 Dutch students on board, several of whom are in my dormitory, & also a party of French students.  I sat at a table with this girl & 2 of her Dutch companions.  One of these girls I seemed to recognize, & she said she thought she recognized me.  But, though we thought hard, we couldn’t remember where we had met, until suddenly it came to her.  I don’t think that unaided I would ever have remembered it, but she reminded me of the time when I was on my way to Tel Aviv from Elat.  I had taken a bus to Beersheba, & from there tried to get a lift, waiting with a group of people beside the road outside the Town Hall.  I had asked these people if anyone spoke English, & one person had answered.  It was this girl.  I had not spoken to her for long, & had soon moved on, managing eventually to get to Tel Aviv that evening – but I remember that she told me that she had got a lift from Elat to Beersheba – but she said now that, unlike me, she had failed to get a lift from there, & had to take a bus to Tel Aviv.  She had not told me that she was Dutch.  I think she was with a boy.  This shows what sort of a country Israel is, where one is continually re-meeting people one has met before.


As we sailed away from Haifa  (the ship didn’t leave until after lunch) I sat on the deck & met an Englishman named Domb from Cambridge, a lecturer in Mathematics at Pembroke College, but a man to whom I found I could talk very easily (continuing now on Sept.23) –a tall thin man with a large nose & nasal voice.  I was really surprised that he spoke to me on such equal terms. We discussed our impressions of Israel.  He is returning from his second visit.  He speaks Hebrew & is (rather to my surprise) Orthodox.  He knew much more about more aspects of Israel than I did, & out-argued me on several points.


So Haifa fell behind us, & the Land of Israel became for me a memory.  But still I am on an Israeli ship, among Jews, so, as on the outward journey, the transition will not be abrupt.

Later I talked some more with Mr. Domb, & we stood on the prow deck at sunset, & watched the sun sink into the sea.


There are, as usual, several sets of passionate lovers to be seen about the ship, especially on the decks, after dark.  The moon was almost full tonight, & the light very bright.


I sat with Mr. Domb at supper tonight, which was again a very good meal, with some fine meat, of which I had 3 helpings, and the first cooked fruit that I have had in a long time. Tea-time was at 4 PM, & we had tea & biscuits.  Milk & sugar are in plentiful supply for the tea.


Once when I went down into my dormitory, I found a tiny puppy on the bed above mine.  I did not know whose he was, or how he had got there, nor did the only other person then in the dormitory, a man from Poland, who lives in America, & is going now to Italy.  Eventually I asked some of the stewards, & they said he belonged to a fireman, in whose room I put him.


Three of the Dutch party (2 of them girls, the other aged 25, a boy named Eddie, whose home is now in the U.S., & who is in my dorm) are medical students in Amsterdam.  One of the books I brought away with me from home was a book of English essays, & today I finished reading one of these, which I had actually begun on the outward journey.  It is an amusing essay by Thomas De Quincey “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.”


After supper, I sat in the “lounge,” reading newspapers & magazines, including a good article on the present situation in the Middle East by Adlai Stevenson, the unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the Presidency in the last U.S. elections -- and wrote until almost 11 PM.  I was surprised & glad, when I came downstairs to bed, to find that practically everyone else in the dormitory seemed already to have gone to bed, & the lights were out.  This boded well for my sound sleep during the remainder of the voyage.  How I suffered through the inconsideration of those who shared my dormitory on the outward journey (and afterwards, in Jerusalem) has long remained a bitter memory with me.


All was quiet too next-door (although a baby did cry once for a short while)  -- but I expected to be woken early tomorrow.


It is hard to believe that I really have left Israel.  Undoubtedly my 2 ½ months there have been a great benefit to me.  I feel much the wiser for having lived & travelled in so strange and interesting a country, and am proud that, when on my own, I managed without any difficulty.  My memories & impressions will be very varied and distinct – the towns, the kibbutzim, the Negev, etc. There is much that I regret I did not do, e.g. I feel I did not learn enough about Orthodox Jews & religion in Israel.  I am sorry that I never visited a Moshav by myself, or had time to get to know any of the large settlements like Petach Tikvah or Rishon-le-Zion.  I regret that I never returned to Sodom & the Dead Sea, & especially that I did not go to Ein Geddi, a settlement north of Sodom, about which I heard much.  I am sorry that I could not have seen Israel from the air, or visited the hot baths of Tiberias.  I saw little of the many settlements in the northern Negev, and feel ashamed that I did not learn more Hebrew than I did.  It is a pity too that I had to leave Israel just when 2 big much-publicized events were happening – the 4th Maccabiah, a sort of Jewish Olympic Games, and the “Conquest of the Desert” Exhibition in Jerusalem, Israel’s first big international exhibition.


But, for all that I failed to do & see, I still accomplished quite a lot, and obtained, I think, a good general idea of the country, though perhaps only a superficial one.  At least I saw and learned something of most aspects of Israel – the various kinds of landscape & scenery, the Arabs & immigrants, the government and institutions.  I talked with people of many different backgrounds & viewpoints, heard much good about Israel & much bad.  I was always glad of the considerable preliminary reading I had done before I left home, for this undoubtedly made a world of difference to my understanding of the country.  I regretted particularly however that I did not know more about the history of the country before the Zionist period.


But my visit has had a negligible emotional or personal effect upon me.  I have heard of people, Jews like myself almost in name only, who, upon visiting the Holy Land, felt inspired to identify themselves with the country and the people.  But no such nationalistic or religious conversion has taken place on my part.  I came with an open mind, and leave with a mind none the less open.  Certainly I am now intensely interested in Israel and the future of world Jewry, and will watch developments with great interest.  But I cannot really say that I feel a greater kinship with the Jewish people (whatever exactly “the Jewish People” may mean) than ever I have done.  I feel also in a way that I might have given over my attention to Israel whole-heartedly for too long, so that my perspective has become distorted, & I exaggerate its importance in the world.


Wednesday, September 23, 1953

(4:20 PM)  It looks as if this is going to be a very quiet voyage.  There is very little to do on this ship, especially if one does not care to sit on deck.  Deck chairs are supposed to be hired, but I can usually find one for nothing, or be content to sit on something else.


The ventilation in my dormitory is very poor, but this bothered other people more than me. There is so little space that I cannot do anything in there without knocking against something.  There is not really ample space even for me to lie comfortably in bed, for my toes touch the bottom.  It was so hot that I slept last night wearing only my pajama trousers, with no cover at all.  I slept fairly well, but woke up for short periods several times before morning.  Because we are down in an “underworld,” where all the light is artificial, one can only tell whether it is day or night by looking at one’s watch.  As I expected, I was woken early this morning, at 6:30 or earlier, by noises from the next room, especially children crying – but this did not much vex me, as I was confident that I would be able to get to sleep early tonight.  My pillow was very lumpy – in fact, our kapok-filled life jackets would serve much better as pillows.


I was quite cheerful when I got up at 7 AM & took a singing shower.  Breakfast is served from 7:30 to 8:45.  It consisted this morning of bread & marg & jam, a boiled egg, tea (or coffee) plus various things like cheese & olives which I didn’t touch.  On the “Jerusalem,” our breakfasts were identical every morning – but there were always sardines, & we usually had rolls instead of bread. 


Lunch was again a good meal, with soup, “Hungarian Goulash” (meat), potatoes – but the dessert was watermelon, which I also didn’t have..  For tea, instead of biscuits, there was a kind of bunny cake.  At lunch & supper, extra helpings are usually available, but I always wish there were more to eat at tea


I spent most of my time between meals (which are the most important thing) sitting on the deck, reading, mostly bare to the waist – for I want to take the opportunity of these last days of summer to revive my tan, which is not as dark as it was.


Mr. Domb, whom I met yesterday & spoke with some more today, is infuriatingly “English,” in that he will keep talking about the weather, remarking on the heat or the breeze, talking about the weather in Israel & in England, fearing he may get sunburned, but wondering if he should wear a pullover.  He really does madden me, although I must of course dissemble my irritation.


(6:45 PM)  This evening begins the Jewish festival of Succos (or Succot in Israeli pronunciation).  I don’t know much about its spiritual significance, but I know that it is a harvest festival, whose main feature is the idea of living outside (I am not sure for how many days) in booths – leafy, decorated structures.  It is in fact a Jewish law that during this festival one must eat and sleep in these Succot.  But observances vary.  Some people just eat in them. (In England’s climate, at this time of year, it would be very uncomfortable to sleep in them) – and at our old Synagogue in Washington I remember the children used to have a party in the Sucah.  I was very interested to find that a Sucah has actually been constructed aboard the ship, on one of the upper decks, with canvas sides, and a roof of palm branches.  Mr. Domb, who is Orthodox (it seems so strange to see a Cambridge lecturer in Mathematics actually washing his hands before meals, saying prayers to himself after them, etc.) told me that there had been trouble about the Sucah.  Some of the Orthodox people aboard the ship, of whom there are not many, had been assured, when they booked their passage, that they would be able to eat in the Succah, (though they will not sleep there) – but now, the Captain, or Chief Steward, said that he could not spare the stewards to serve in the Sucah. Mr. Domb said he & the other people were prepared to bring their own meals up there themselves, but I am not sure what eventually happened.


(6:30 PM)  After writing the above words, I went to see the Sucah again, & saw that a bearded uniformed man, whom I think is one of the ship’s officers, was dishing out the food there.  There were only about 10 or 12 men & boys there eating & singing songs I had heard often before in the past 3 months.


For supper tonight we again had meat, which I think was lamb, & I, being very hungry, ate 3 helpings of it, & feel now very full.  Also there was soup, & a kind of trifle, & wine – which of course I didn’t have.  Although I am anti-alcoholic on principle, it is really simply because I strongly dislike them that I do not have such drinks.


I have talked to very few people on the ship, & made no real friends.  Today I re-met a plump bald American man whom I had first met on the outward journey.  He is studying Medicine at Lausanne in Switzerland.  He says he is sure that it was largely because he was a Jew that he was not accepted by an American medical college.  There is something strange about me, in that, even though I may have a pleasant first meeting with a person, when I see them again, I often try deliberately to avoid them.


I have been reading some more in my book of English essays.


Thursday, September 24, 1953.

Succot, I learned today from Mr. Domb, lasts for 7 days.  And he intends on the ship to have his meals as much as possible in the Sucah, even though this causes him inconvenience.


Meals continue to be of high quality.  So far, there has been meat every lunch & supper.  I have not yet had supper tonight, but, as it is the eve of Shabbat, I think they might have fish.


My days aboard ship are acquiring a certain sort of routine, with meal-times dividing the day up into periods.  I always hate going down into the dormitory, because it is so stuffy & congested that I am always put there into an ill-humor.  So I carry in my shoulder-bag the few things I need – this diary, a  book, etc.


(8:20 PM)  I made a mistake above.  This is not Friday but Thursday, and we did have meat for supper, in a novel form – chopped meat & rice stuffed in green peppers.  We had also some good meat & potatoes, soup, & ice-cream.  My appetite on shipboard is amazing, considering that I do hardly any exercise or exertion all day long, except going up & down steep stairs.


I have 2 showers a day, one before breakfast, & one before supper.  I “dress for dinner” in the evenings, putting on my grey trousers & shirt instead of the sweater & shorts I wear during the day.  This afternoon I sat for a long time in a deck-chair, wearing only my bathing-suit.  But I am surprised to find that I seem to be the only person on the ship interested in sunbathing – unlike the outward voyage.


Although I much enjoy our meals, I often wish I could have more dessert, of which, it seems, there are never “seconds.” But most of all, after meals, I long for some sweets, some chocolate, of which I have had scarcely any since I left home.


When we embarked for Israel on the “Jerusalem,” I had a boil on my neck, which I had to endure for several days of the journey.  Now, on the return trip, I am once again troubled by a boil, though this is the first for a month, on my upper left cheek.  It is not yet very painful, except when touched, but today I went to the nurse, hoping she would put a bandage on it – but all she applied was a dab of some medicine.


The beauty of the Mediterranean enchants me.  By day, there is blue water & a clear blue sky.  Upon a red horizon, the sun sinks into a grey sea, then the bright moon rises, and the moonglade  shimmers upon the water, sparkling in the ship’s wake.


I had not realized it at first, but learned today that the route we are taking is not the same as the outward journey.  We were passing north of Crete instead of south.  But the island, past which we sailed for most of the day, seemed to be enveloped in mist, and, for the most part, all we could see were the dim shapes of its mountain-tops in the distance.  But this evening, just before sunset, we came in good sight of the mainland of Greece – my first view of that country.  I am not sure what part of the Peloponnesian coast we saw, but its steep cliffs looked very beautiful in the setting sun, and there was a pretty white village upon a hillside.  I saw also many small rocky islands.


One of my several worries about my forthcoming journey through France, about which I have thought little since leaving Israel, was that this time I have no British flag to put on my rucksack, as I have always had before.  This is a serious matter, for in the past my flag has gained me many lifts.  I have therefore been trying to think of some substitute, and there occurred to me an idea which I had had before – but then it was almost a joke.  On the Continent (and in Israel too, though one sees few cars from foreign countries) every car which is driving in a country not its own carries a small sign indicating by initials its country of origin.  Thus “F” is France, “NL” Holland, “S” Sweden, etc.  Britain’s plate is “GB” (Great Britain) and, although I had considered it a joke before, I now thought it a good idea, in lieu of a flag, to make a “GB” sign to carry on my rucksack.


The only cardboard I could find was that of which the little boxes for seasickness, which are provided in the cabins, are made of.  So I adapted one of these to my purpose, folded it to a square, and this morning drew upon it in ink the letters GB.  This I will hang somehow upon my rucksack when I begin hitch-hiking in France.


Early this morning we in my dormitory were again woken up by noise from next door – women talking and babies crying. Most of the people in my dormitory are French & Dutch boys, but they often speak English to each other.  They were more annoyed than I was by the disturbance,  -- for I realized that complaint was useless – and discussed complaining to the Captain, and making a “raid” next door when no one was there, to remove the light bulbs – though I doubt if this would do any good.  The really annoying thing, however, was that the women making the noise did not seem to think they were doing anything wrong.  To cries of “Shecket!” (“quiet”)  from my dormitory, and frequent bangings on the wall, they replied indignantly with “Ma  yaish?” (What’s the matter?) and carried right on, although the time was not yet 6:30 AM & they had begun at 6.  Indeed, we had been disturbed before, at about 5 AM, by a baby crying, but got back to sleep.  I think it may be that one or more of the women has to get up to feed their baby.  But really, on board ship, I find that 7 hours’ sleep is enough for me.


When I am away from home, I often have moments of exhilaration when I think that I am a fine fellow, and am very pleased with myself.  But sometimes something will occur to make me feel inferior, & dissatisfied with myself.  Such an event occurred today, when I began reading a book which I took out of the ship’s small library called “Testament of Youth,” by Vera Brittain. I chose this book because I had heard of Vera Brittain in England as a writer & Pacifist.  It was mainly about the period of the First World War, in which I am interested.  The book is a sort of autobiographical study of her first 30 years, up to 1925, concentrating mainly upon the war and its effects.  In it, V.B. tells how, in spite of many obstacles, she succeeded in winning an exhibition into an Oxford girls’ college (continuing now on Sept. 25) – which in itself reminds me of my own tri-fold failure, which will I think leave its mark of bitterness upon me to the end of my days.  But, more important, V.B. was a writer, and she seems always since her earliest days to have been writing stories & poems etc.  And she too kept a detailed diary;  but from the extracts from her diary and letters which she quotes often in her book, her writing ability seems to have been much greater than mine – and since writing seems to be my only talent at all, the knowledge (or rather, reminder, for subconsciously I am always aware of it) that even in that, I am not exceptional, brings me new depression.  On the other hand, reading any book, especially one about the life of a writer, makes me feel that I ought to be making use of whatever ability I possess, writing poems or essays.  But the urge is rarely strong enough within me for me actually to take pen & paper & begin to write.  This diary, of course, is an exception – but I feel always, at least while writing it, that it has very little literary merit.  Sometimes, when reading it over, I come upon a phrase or passage which pleases me, but not very often.


Reading a good writer like V.B.also makes me realize how limited yet is my vocabulary.  Her book is interesting enough to make me want to finish it – but there is not enough of the War in the part I have so far read.  She left Oxford & became a nurse.  There are too many lengthy quotations from correspondence between her and her soldier fiancée, Roland, who was eventually killed.


This evening, to my happy surprise, we were informed that there would be a film in the dining room after supper, and it turned out to be a very enjoyable picture, an American thriller called “Dial 1119,” about a dangerous criminal lunatic who escapes & returns to his town to shoot the police psychiatrist who sent him to the asylum.  He keeps 5 people as hostages in a bar, & demands that the doctor be sent to him. It was a very exciting situation.  Each one of the five people tries their own method of pacifying the insane killer, but none are successful.  The doctor whom the killer seeks tries in vain to persuade the police chief to let him go to the bar & speak with the madman.  Eventually the doctor does go, and is shot.  The police rush the place, and the killer is killed, his last words  being “You had no right to shoot me!”  The film was good, not only for its exciting story, but for little added touches – e.g. the conflict between the psychiatrist, who looks upon the killer only as a sick man, with the police chief, who blames the doctor for having before saved the killer from execution, and thus caused the deaths of more innocent people;  and, after crowds have gathered around the besieged bar, a mobile television unit arrives, to bring an on-the-spot report – and also an ice-cream van begins business.  Yes, a very enjoyable picture.


Friday, September 25, 1953

Last night we put the clocks back by one hour.  To my shame, I can never work out immediately what this means in terms of time gained or lost – but sunset this evening occurred a few minutes later than yesterday – about 5:40.  But the infuriating women & children in the dormitory next to mine took no notice of the change of time, &woke us at 5 AM instead of the usual 6, though I was fortunately able to get back to sleep after this prolonged disturbance, & slept another 2 hours.


I am very much an introvert on this ship, & have spoken to hardly anyone all day.  Not only do I not try to approach people, but often I detest their very presence near me, especially people who make noise while I am reading.  I wish mightily that I could have the prow deck to myself, which is my favorite part of the ship,  because it provides the best view, although it is so cluttered up with machinery, pipes, cables & ropes etc. that one has to be very careful to avoid tripping, which I have done several times. It was on this deck that I spent most of my time today, in the sun, reading.  I am trying to brown my body all over.


The sea today was very calm all day.  We were passing between Greece & the foot of Italy, but I saw no land.  I have never before seen a sea so calm, but, though calm, it was not uniform. There were all kinds of ripple-patterns to be seen upon the water, and there was no glassy smoothness.  If one looked closely, one could often see little flying fishes skimming along the surface, for yards at a leap.


I am continually amazed at the abundance of meat on this ship.  We have had meat twice a day every day, including today, and I always have at least 2 helpings.  This evening I had 3 generous helpings of meat & potatoes.  I am impressed too by the fine quality of the food.  Each piece of meat looks as if it has been specially selected.  If we have apples for dessert, every apple is a beauty.  One does not have to ask specially for extra helpings – they are always brought round.  But unfortunately this applies only to the main courses at lunch & supper.  We are never offered more soup or dessert. 


Menus (in French) are supplied – but there is no choice.  After lunch & supper, there is a “demi-tasse” of coffee for those who want it, but no tea.  We have tea only at lunch & tea-time.  Into mine I always put much milk & sugar, luxuries I was denied in Israel.  I only regret that I cannot go on eating as well as this all the way home, but must be dumped in France, to make my own way home, on what will no doubt be a very poor diet.  But of course this food is luxurious even by home standards (though I lack my old standbys of peanut butter sandwiches and cocoa.)  I cannot remember exactly what we had on the ship coming over, but I find it hard to believe that I have ever eaten so much meat in my life, in so few days.


I spent almost all my free time today continuing to read Vera Brittain’s “Testament of Youth.”  There is much about it which I dislike, but I still find this account of personal experiences interesting.  Vera Brittain tells how in the first World War she lost first her sweetheart, then some best friends, and finally her only brother, while she served as an army nurse, first in England, then in Malta and France.  But it is related with much tedious sentiment, and I am surprised to find that, though the authoress is now a pacifist, her predominant attitude then seems to have been one of patriotism and hero-worship.  Despite all the horrors and suffering she witnessed, it was only her personal tragedy that broke her spirit.  She must now be just about the same age as my father, and it is an interesting coincidence that their initials are the same.  It impresses me also to realize that Daddy is thus one of the “Lost Generation,” for whom the authoress speaks, whose youth was shattered by the war.  But I wonder how much effect the war really had upon his character.  It was a consolation to me, after reading yesterday (q.v.) how she had gone to Oxford, to read today how Vera Brittain, when she returned to her college after the war, decided to study History (which is my college subject) instead of the English which she had done before, & which I might very well have done.  This book has also reminded me of an idea I have had vaguely in the past, to write my own autobiography.  But, whenever I consider this, many crushing thoughts come to mind.  Who would want to read the story of my life?  Is it worth recording?  And how on earth could I communicate to others so many of the thoughts and feelings which I try to hide even from myself?


Mr. Domb, the Cambridge mathematics lecturer, who sits at my table, is someone I “cannot get over.”  How can a man like he be so fastidiously orthodox that he insists on taking at least one course of his meals to eat up in the succah?  And he told me himself that his own observing of Succot is different from that of Israel Jews.  He explained that Jews outside Israel celebrate most festivals like Pesach or Succot for 2 days, while in Israel it is only for one – the reason being originally that in centuries past, when communications were slow, the dispersed Jews could not always be sure of the exact day when a festival should be celebrated, so, “to be on the safe side, they took to celebrating them for 2 days.  Mr. Domb says that nowadays a good reason for retaining the custom is that it emphasizes the difference between the Yishuv [Jews living in Israel] and the Galut [Diaspora], and thus gives an added psychological incentive for people to want to come and settle in Israel.  But it all seems great foolishness to me, & makes me realize more than ever how diversified are the Jewish religion and people.  Mr. Domb’s face and figure would be ideal for a caricature. His visage is very long, with large nose, large mouth, and large ears.  He habitually wears a beret on the back of his head.


Saturday, September 26, 1953

Shabbat today, and not such good food – cold meat & cold potatoes twice.  Moreover, I missed tea.


On the outward journey, the “Jerusalem stopped at Naples, but only for about 2 hours, & we were not allowed to get off.  But this morning I learned we would be allowed to visit Naples when we arrived there today, for a few hours.  Last night, before going to bed, I had stood on the deck for a while, just as we began to pass between Italy and Sicily, and saw the twinkling lights of some Italian town.


But I had no desire to leave the ship, and would have been content really if we stayed only a short  time at Naples.  I felt lazy, & there was nothing I felt I wanted to do in Naples.  Besides, I had been there last year, during my 3 weeks in Italy, and, though I had only passed through, I had unpleasant memories of the town.  (Continuing now on Sept. 27th) Also, by leaving the ship, I would miss my tea, a vexatious loss.  But of course I knew all the time that I would get off, for it would seem very foolish not to take advantage of so rare an opportunity.  I did not have any money to spend, but considered this fortunate rather than otherwise, for I would not then waste money. A visit of a party from the ship to Pompeii  was arranged, but I think this cost about 18 shillings, and anyway I had been there last year, & certainly would not want to go again with an organized group.  Colin Marshall, whose home is next door to mine [in Edgware] & who works as something like a bursar (?) on ships running between England & Australia, often calls in at Naples, & I think he himself organizes trips to Pompeii.


All morning we went north along the hazy Italian coast, and, about 12:30, passed between the island of Capri, which I had also visited last summer, and the mainland.  The Island, with its steep rock cliffs rising from the sea, looked most beautiful in the sunlight, like something out of a dream.  Then I had to go down to lunch – but was up again in good time to watch us approach Naples & enter the harbor.  For some reason, when the “Jerusalem” docked here, I had seen hardly anything of the Bay, & had not even seen Vesuvius, which I climbed from Pompeii (as Mr. Havatselett in Tel Aviv told me he had once done) last year.  But now the whole glorious panorama was visible, and I felt once again that the region of Naples Bay must be one of the most beautiful in the world.  We docked at the same spot, beside the new terminus, as the “Jerusalem” had done, at about 2:30 PM, but it was not until 3:15 that I was able to get off the ship, having had first to obtain a landing permit.  “Shore leave” lasted until 6 PM, and in my 2 ¾ hours, I walked & observed much.  On my previous visit, I had seen little of the town, & only I think the worst part.  Today I walked in districts not far from the harbor.  It was of course only my second visit to Italy, and, after 2 ½ months in Israel, I was often struck by the differences between this country and that.  As I expected, people leaving the port were soon accosted by numerous men selling fountain pens, watches, etc., but I just ignored them all. 


I went first to the imposing Castle, which stands at the water’s edge, and, though there was nothing to see inside, I was much impressed by the grandly ornate carved stone entrance-way, erected by one of the Neapolitan kings.  I walked aimlessly, as I had no knowledge of the city, but soon came across th 1602 Royal Palace, adorned outside by white statues of men famous in the history of the town, about which I wished I knew more. It was strange, after the austerity of Israel, to see, in architecture, so much decoration and ornament, and, in the shops and streets, such an abundance of food.  I think I have never seen so many fruit-stalls, and they added great color to the sunlit streets and piazzas.  On my visit, I took with me the Italian phrase-book which I had used last year – but did not need it, as I didn’t speak to anybody.  I walked along many long straight steep narrow streets, with tall tenements on either side, & much washing hanging across, & saw many small workshops, women at sewing machines, large beds in front rooms, dirty children, election posters (Communist, Monarchist etc.) street shrines, & green plants on little balconies;


There were the usual dirt & foody smells, the usual radios playing loudly of a man singing.  But amid all this, I felt no excitement & little interest. I saw an elaborate funeral procession about to begin, with large colorful banners, fine plumed horses pulling a black & silver hearse, & noticed that all the ordinary tradesmen’s horses carried a jingling silver “hump” on their harnesses.  At sunset, I sat at a point near the Castle where there was a good view out over the harbor & Bay & of Vesuvius, a wonderful sight.  Then I returned to the ship where, having missed 4 PM tea, I still had a hungry 1 ¾ hours to wait before a not-too-good supper.


Many people terminated their voyage at Naples, and so the seating arrangements for supper were different tonight.  This morning we were again woken by the baby next door.  He or she has an incredibly loud crying voice, or perhaps it just seems like that so early in the morning.  There is nothing to be done about it, except hope that it will eventually stop, & I will be able to go back to sleep, which happened this morning.


Although in many ways the “Artza” compares unfavorably with the “Jerusalem,” its 3rd class (& dormitory) washrooms, lavatories, & showers are in fact somewhat better.  But, for my own pride & pleasure, I always use the First Class lavatories.


All my socks are by now quite dirty, & I have to get used to having always a slimy feeling on the soles of my feet.


Today I all but finished reading the book I borrowed from the ship’s small library, “Testament of Youth,” by Vera Brittain, and read how, after leaving Oxford, she became a lecturer for the League of Nations Union, and also a successful novelist & journalist.  At last, 10 years after her sweetheart was killed in the war, she married another man.  Hers is the story of the resurrection of the spirit after great tragedy, yet she emphasizes that, though she began a new life, she could never forget the old one.  Her husband, however, seems to have been remarkably understanding in the matter.  I am always suspicious of autobiographies which relate everything “remembered” in apparently impossible detail.  How could V.B. recall so often the color of the sky and flowers on long-past occasions?  Still, hers is a readable book, and, although it now all seems very “out of date,” & she has little gift for depicting character, although she dwells long upon having various illnesses and discomforts, I was interested in this autobiography of a writer, student, & eventual pacifist, and admired her obviously high intellect.  The correspondence between herself and her friends reads like no letters I have ever written or received.  But then it is usually concerned with high themes.  V.B. was also much concerned with feminism and socialism.


This book has also prompted me to think about a subject which does not often cross my mind – that of marriage.  At present I just cannot imagine myself ever getting married.  I feel I would be an impossible person to live with.  Moreover, I tend to dislike children – especially squalling babies!  But then I realize that this subject is one on which my mind is most likely to change in the years to come.


Sunday, September 27, 1953

(4:35 PM) This is my last day at sea.  Tomorrow morning about 7 AM we are supposed to reach Marseilles.  The weather is not so good today as it has been, the sky more cloudy, the sea darker & rougher.  We have been passing between Corsica & Sardinia, & the mountainous coast of Corsica is still in view.  Again I have seen much that I did not see on the outward passage.  I think I missed so much then because we were always having lectures or meetings or Hebrew lessons.  Now I am completely free, but do not rejoice in my freedom, simply taking it for granted.  Today’s strangest sight was that of a school of porpoises, apparently racing the ship.  I stood at the prow, and watched them swimming at great speed for several minutes right beneath me.  They were very big, the largest live fish I have ever seen outside an aquarium, and seemed to have no fear of the ship, for they kept very close to it.  For several minutes I watched them diving in & out of the water, the round holes on their backs clearly visible – then, at length, they disappeared.  I have heard that the porpoise, like the albatross, is supposed to be the sailor’s friend, and brings bad luck to those who harm him (the porpoise.)


I have not got to know many people on this ship, but there are too many of the kind who have dirty children, who hang out their washing on the deck, who sit on a floor as easily as on a chair, as I saw one old woman sitting on the floor outside the dining-room, waiting for the doors to be opened.


There is going to be another film tonight, and if it is as good as the last one, on Sept. 24th, I will be very pleased


Today I took out my map of France, & made a rough plan of my hitch-hiking journey.  I decided that I will make for Boulogne, & will thus have 2 main roads to take – the Route National I to Paris, and the Route National VII to Boulogne.  I cannot avoid Paris, but taking the Metro (if possible, as Mr. Domb says it is) to St. Denis, I should not have much difficulty in getting through it.  My object is to accomplish the journey as quickly & cheaply as possible.  I regret that most of my travelling in France, even on my first journey there with Phillip Thomson in 1950, has been practically continuous, with little opportunity to stop & visit interesting places or get to know any region.  But my holiday is really over now, and though of course I will welcome fresh adventure on the homeward road, I would be content, having reached Marseilles, to be transported instantaneously home.  The most optimistic estimate I can make of the time it will take me from Marseilles to Boulogne is 3 days.  This is how long it took me last year from Boulogne to Cannes (plus a day spent in Paris) – but then I was extraordinarily lucky, covering half or more of the distance in one long ride.  I think more likely it will take me 4 or 5 days.  – Come to think of it, I am wrong:  last year’s journey, which included my well-remembered encounter with Bram de Haan, took at least 4 days.


Of course, my biggest trouble in France will be, as always, eating and sleeping.  Perhaps I will be lucky, and manage to stay in Youth Hostels.  Much depends, I feel, on a good start tomorrow.  I am very glad that we are arriving so early, and hope that tomorrow night will find me at least as far as Lyon. There will be no fine sunset tonight, for the western sky is completely overcast.


At lunch today I talked with Mr. Domb and a man at our table who is going to Manchester University to study industrial biochemistry, about religion and superstition.  I asked Mr. Domb how he could reconcile his Orthodox upbringing with his scientific training, & he replied, as one would expect, that he saw no contradiction.  Science set out only to discover natural laws, not to determine the reasons behind them.  This, of course, I knew, but it did not really answer my question, which implied, how can a man who by nature of his profession must be able to think logically and reasonably, be content to forbid himself to leave the ship (as he did yesterday) because it was Shabbat, or to attend a film (as he did on Sept. 24) because it was Succoth?  But obviously he can – and the fact that there are such men is a very salutary lesson.


This afternoon I stood on the deck with Mr. Domb & some other men who were comparing various exasperating experiences they had had at the hands of Israeli officialdom, especially in connection with leaving the country.


Again the howling baby this morning, better – or worse – than an alarm clock.


(8:10 PM)  About 2 hours ago, the ship began to roll & heave considerably, although the sea is by no means rough.  This was the first really uncomfortable part of our voyage, & I have already seen several people sick.  But I myself remain in good health & spirits, & have just eaten a hearty dinner, though I too could succumb.


I spoke with some French boys in my dormitory about my journey through France, & they advised me to take not Route National I, the “Route Blue,” to Paris, but another north-easterly route.


Monday, September 28, 1953

(6:40 AM)  Our voyage, which began so pleasantly, is finishing in very grim weather.  A cold rain is pouring fiercely, the sky is overcast, and the sea looks very angry, though the ship is not rocking as much as yesterday. Nevertheless, dawn breaking through the clouds, and the rocky coast of France, were great sights to see.  Now, as it becomes lighter, & we move towards Marseilles, the rain seems to have died down a little, and the sea became less rough.  I had much fear that I would be sick last night, but, though I had a rather heavy feeling in my stomach when I went to bed at 10:45, I did not require the little carton which I hooked onto my bed.  I was up at 5:25 this morning.


The pilot’s boat has just come alongside.  The film last night was called “Any Number Can Play,” an American picture with several stars, including Clark Gable & Alexis Smith, about a man who runs a gambling casino, & his troubles with his family.  I did not enjoy it a great deal, the main reason being that I could not hear it very well.  Now that we are near land, flies are beginning to torment my legs.


(10:15 PM)  Once again I have been hitch-hiking in France, but today has not met my hopes, & I have got only about 2/3 of the way from Marseilles to Lyon, which I wanted to reach tonight.  The day has contained little pleasantness, and the most depressing factor has been the weather.  It seems that every time I arrive in France, it is raining.  It was raining very hard when we reached Marseilles, &, though eventually it stopped, the sky has been full of cloud all day, so that, for the first time in 3 months, I have gone through a day without sunshine.  And, on top of the rain & gloom, I have found it very cold here in the South of France, especially this evening.  I wore the same clothes I have been wearing in Israel & on the trip, except that I had on my corduroy jacket, and this evening I also wore my scarf.


Yes, it has not been a very happy day, but there have been some redeeming features.  For one thing, I have had to spend hardly any money so far.  We had breakfast as the ship entered Marseilles harbor, & after breakfast, I asked some of the stewards, as I had planned long before, if I might have some food to take with me for my trans-France journey, as I did not have much money.  To my surprised delight, they were very helpful, especially their chief, and I was able to make as many sandwiches as I wanted.  Making very liberal use of the margarine, I made about a dozen sandwiches, some of sardines, & some of jam.  Also, there were many hard-boiled eggs remaining, & I was allowed to take a good number of these, I think 10 in all.  This added luggage necessitated considerable re-packing, but it brought me great satisfaction, for I now knew that, for at least 1 or 2 days, I would not have to buy any food in France.


Passports were stamped surprising quickly, and soon I had left the “Artza,” and had the usual chalk-mark made by the customs man on my rucksack. So I was back in France, and no longer among Jews.  I wanted now to get out of Marseilles as quickly as possible, and begin hitch-hiking on the road to Lyon.  But when I found that Shoham (the shipping company) ran a free bus service to the railway station, I decided to take advantage of this, which would at least bring me out of the dock area.  The driver of the bus, also had to load all the luggage into the back, & I had some good laughs at how furious he grew with some people before we shoved off.  After reaching the railway station, I was indeed at last on my own.  There followed the old familiar process of asking directions of many people, but I was lucky, & managed to get out of Marseilles quite easily.  Someone advised me to take a trolley-bus to St. Antoine, and this I managed to do.  All my old memories of France began to come back to me – the sights and sounds and smells, which were mostly unpleasant.  I have always disliked French towns.  I hate all the signs and advertising everywhere.


St. Antoine is apparently one of many old green hilly suburbs of Marseilles.  There I fortunately did not have to wait long before getting my first lift, on which I met a Belgian soldier, who was also travelling north, and in a hurry.  We were taken a few miles, then separated, & soon my “GB” card stood me in good stead, for a car with the sign ‘GBM” on it stopped for me.  I learned that this stood for the Isle of Man.  My hosts were a middle-aged English couple on a touring holiday, who own a hotel now in Douglas, Isle of Man.  They received me quite kindly, & drove me a good distance, to the town of Orange, during much of which I read a recent copy of the English “Daily Mail,” which they had, & which seemed to contain surprisingly little of importance.  I think it was because they wanted to go & have lunch that they put me down in the rain at Orange, though they did not mention this.  The man said that if they saw me again on the road they would pick me up.  As it happened, they did see me twice more on the road today in different places, but, although I know they saw me, on each occasion they drove right on.


At Orange, I ate one of my sandwiches & an egg, sitting beneath the old Roman triumphal arch there. Then I continued, & after considerable miserable waiting & walking, got a good fast lift to Valence.  Far worse than actually carrying my heavy rucksack on my back is the strenuous process of putting it on & taking it off.


It was about 4 PM when I walked out of Valence, but I waited for hours in vain outside the town for another lift.  And meanwhile, as I grew colder & colder, I became more & more miserable.  But just when darkness was approaching, & when I had almost given up hope, I did get another lift, though a short one, to the town of Tain l’Hermitage.  Here I was not sure what to do, but my driver, who spoke English, made up my mind for me. I had explained to him my poor position, & told him I had come from Israel, & when we now entered this town, he told me that there was a Jewish family there named Bernheim, & advised me to go to them for help. He put me down just outside their clothing shop.  Had he not suggested it, I would never have done such a thing myself, but I now went up to the white—haired woman in this shop, told her I was a Jew & came now from Israel, & asked where I could cheaply spend the night.  She suggested several hotels, all of which I tried, but either they were full or the price was too high – 400 Francs (8 shillings) being the cheapest I found. 


Mrs. Bernheim had invited me to come back to have supper with them, but, when I failed at the 3rd hotel, I decided to have a last try at getting a lift.  This I did, but felt cold & very unhappy all the time.  Then I tried several other hotels, & was just about to make my way to the police station when I came upon a group of boys about 17 or 18, in the main street.  One spoke some English, & I presented my problem to them.  They conferred amongst themselves, & eventually hit on the idea of taking me to some priest.  This 3 of them did, & the priest gave me at the door some bread, cheese & chocolate. Then the 3 boys took me to a nearby large room which evidently belongs to the church & is used for meetings..  But, for my bed, only wooden forms were available.  Still, it was free, & I decided to make the best of it.  One of the boys brought me a large blanket, & I was also very kindly brought more food – apples, cheese, bread, chocolate, & sugar.  I thanked these boys very much, & talked with them for a while, exchanged addresses with them, & said I would write.  I gave them one of the Hebrew pocket-diaries I had obtained free in Israel.


I have made my bed on these benches, & put down all my sheets for a mattress.  I will wear many clothes to keep warm.  Is it possible that I could get to Paris tomorrow?  Yes, but most unlikely.


Tuesday, September 29, 1953

This has been a day of ups and downs. In its most important element, the distance I have covered towards my homeward goal, my record must again be one of failure.  In fact, I have come even less far than yesterday, and am still less than half-way from Marseilles to Paris.  I have travelled today only from Tain l’Hermitage to the town of Roanne, between Lyon & Moulins.  I will now consider it well done if I reach Paris tomorrow. Thank goodness I do not have to worry about time.  I am quite confident that I will get home before October 5th, when my college term begins.


But in another respect, this has been a most satisfactory day.  For, not only have I spent no money at all, but I am considerably the richer than I was yesterday.


I am sorry that I could not write at greater detail in yesterday’s entry.  There was much of interest, especially at the end of the day, of which I could give only a scanty account.  I should have mentioned that, after leaving the “Artza,” I cashed one of my 2 remaining £5 traveller’s checks, at the rate of 950 francs to the pound.  The boil on my left cheek, which I mentioned on board the ship, actually “got better,” and gradually the pain, which was never very great, departed from it.  But now I seem to have one coming up on my right shoulder.  Several times yesterday & today I have felt a slight dizziness, as if I were back on the rolling ship again.  I remember feeling this way after the outward voyage.


I gave a poor account of last night’s search for lodgings.  As it went on, I felt more & more cold & miserable.  The cheapest price I found for a hotel bed, 400 francs (8 shillings) seemed much too much for me, although if necessary I could have afforded it.  I was fortunate eventually to get a free sleeping-place, although it was anything but luxurious.  The 3 boys who helped me were very kind, running about to get me food & blankets.  First the curé gave me some cheese, bread, & chocolate, then one of the boys brought some more cheese, some apples & sugar (in lumps).  Then later the same or another boy returned with more food – bread, sugar, & chocolate – and he offered me a 100-franc note (2 shillings).  Normally I never accept money like this, but since I lost so much through having my English & American money stolen, I now have less compunction about doing so – so I took it, and the food, with protestations of gratitude.  This boy, who told me he will shortly be going to live for 3 years with his family on an island near Madagascar, because his father is with the police, also wanted to give me a little key-chain that he wore with an emblem of St. Christopher on it – but this I definitely refused.


My greatest fear when I went to bed last night was that I might catch cold.  Beneath me, I had many sheets laid over 3 benches.  But over me I had only 2 thicknesses of blanket.  So, besides my pajamas,  I wore many other clothes, including a pair of khaki trousers & my socks.  I woke up many times during the night, but, although I felt rather shivery, I think I woke more through the discomfort of my bed than through the cold, and I soon went back to sleep again every time.  In fact, when I awoke at 8:30, I was satisfied that I had had a good night’s sleep, and was very glad to find that I felt quite well, & did not seem to have caught cold.  I did not intend to return to the Bernheim establishment, but I passed it when walking out of town, & just looked in to say hello.   Mr. Mrs. B. were there, & they called me in.  Unfortunately they do not speak English – but they now told me, to my surprise, that they had been much concerned when I did not return to them last night.  I had not thought that they seemed very interested in me, although they had invited me to come to supper – and I thought, when I did not return, they would think I had got a lift or found a hotel room.  But it seems that when I didn’t come, Mr. B went out looking for me, & called at the last hotel where they had sent me, where he was told I had left, saying it was too expensive.


It was very cold this morning, I wore 2 shirts, 2 sweaters, my vest [undershirt] & jacket, & also of course long trousers, plus a tie & scarf, & 2 pairs of socks.  Unfortunately I had no gloves!!

Mr. & Mrs. B now invited me in to breakfast.  They took me upstairs into a room which reminded me of Grandma’s place in Bournemouth, and I was given a breakfast of 2 fried eggs, bread & butter & cheese & coffee.  Meanwhile I talked with Mr. & Mrs. B, learned that they are the only Jewish family in the town, that they came originally from Belfort in 1940, that Mr. B was for some years a prisoner in Germany.  They have a married son, who also works in the shop.  The nearest synagogue is in Lyons, where Mr. B sometimes goes for the High Holidays.  While I was eating, Mr. B offered me a 500 franc note, saying it was for my next meal.  This, worth 10 shillings, was a handsome present, and gratefully I accepted it, although of course I did not intend to spend it all on one meal (as it is very easy to do in France.)  In fact, I spent no money at all today, & had plenty of food with me to eat.  I was able to use the Bs’ very clean lavatory, & then departed with my thanks & the usual promise to write.


I felt quite happy after so good a start to my day, & walked singing out of the town – but I had long to wait for my first lift.  All the time I am on this main road, I hope, of course, for some “through” lift all the way to Paris – but, although there is a great deal of traffic, it is very hard to get lifts.  So far, I have not had a single lorry lift.  Everything goes as fast as it can.


When I did at last get a lift, it took me only a short way, to St. Vallier, a town through which I had to walk to the top of a hill, where nearby, I found a vineyard & took some grapes, which were very small & full of pips, but deliciously sweet.


Then a lone woman picked me up in a fast Citroen.  I thought at first that she was going only to Valence, but then she said she could put me on a road which would enable me to bypass Lyon, and get me onto the Paris road.  So at Valence, we crossed the Rhone and went north along another road, until, just past a place called Sept Chemis, we came to a turning, along which a sign pointed to Paris.  This was the road by-passing Lyon.  It was not a major road, & I was rather dubious about taking it – but there was nothing I could do now.  The woman had I think gone out of her way to bring me there.


Then, to my utter amazement, just as I was saying goodbye to her, she reached for her purse, took out a 1000 franc note, & gave it to me, saying it was “for your travelling.”  Accepting this gift, I could hardly believe this excess of fortune.  In less than 24 hours, I had been presented by 3 different people with unsolicited gifts, amounting to 1700 francs (32 shillings), which should be enough to pay for my Channel fare.  And since in France I have so far spent only 50 francs, on my bus fare out of Marseilles, I am 31 shillings richer than when I arrived yesterday.  But this woman’s gift of the large sum of over £1 was really flabbergasting, especially since I had spoken little with her, & had not, I think, been particularly pleasant.  Nor, I think, had I in any way mentioned anything about being short of money, although I often do.


This piece of good fortune was followed by another, for almost at once I got another lift, with a soldier, who brought me along the by-pass up to the main Paris road, a place called Tassin la Demi-lune.  So I had very easily avoided Lyon.  But now I had some more waiting, before getting a lift with the manager of a silk-mill, who spoke English, as far as Tarare.  This was the town where in 1950 on our way south Philip Thomson & I spent a very uncomfortable night in the unoccupied stadium – and now it looked as if I might be stuck here again.  For I waited a long miserable time.  The sky was grey all day, & I took little interest in the country I passed through.  But finally I did get a lift, with a family of 3, as far as Roanne.  There, after a long tiring walk through the town, I waited just at its limit for a lift until about 7:30 PM.  It had got dark at 7.  I look upon hitch-hiking in the present circumstances simply as a job, which I do very conscientiously, and I do not like to give up for the day before I have tried my utmost.  But at 7:30 I did “pack up,” & began walking back into the town.  My last lift had told me they thought there was a Youth Hostel in Roanne.  I now asked at a service station about it, & a young man led me to a place on the main road that he thought might be it – but which turned out to be a municipal doss-house, which was however quite satisfactory for me.  It is the first such place I have slept in since, with Brian, I stayed in one last year in Clermont-Ferrand.  I have a bed & blankets, & am using my sheet-sleeping bag.  It is free, & I hope to sleep well.  My company is of course not of the finest type, but they are friendly enough, and the man in charge has received me quite well.


Wednesday, September 30 th, 1953.

This has been a remarkable day. To my joyful astonishment, I have covered a great distance, and am at Montreuil, only 37 kms from my goal of Boulogne.  Thus, despite all appearances to the contrary, I have all but achieved my ideal of a 3-day journey from Marseilles to Boulogne, and can hope to be home by tomorrow night.  I have been so lucky that I can still hardly believe my good fortune.  Everything seems to have gone just right.


I slept well in my doss-house bed last night in the Roanne “Foyer d’Acceuil,” but had a very bad dream, from which I awoke with great relief.  It was all about shooting, & it seemed that I had shot some people, & felt so remorseful that I wanted to shoot myself. 


It was early when I got up – about 6:30, & a cold misty morning.  Soon I had set off to begin my day’s travelling.  But I had to wait a long time outside the town for my first lift, while the mist gradually lifted.  I ate the last of the sandwiches which I had brought from the ship, but still had plenty of bread & eggs.  At last I did get a lift, and it proved to be a continuation of yesterday’s last ride, with the same people.  They too had spent the night in Roanne.  They were a man, woman, & boy about 18.  It seems they often give lifts, for they told me yesterday that I was the 8th Englishman they had picked up in the last few days.  But they did not seem interested in me, & said very little to me, although they now gave me a long ride. They were heading for Orleans, & were now able to take me all the way from Roanne to Briare, about 150 kms south of Paris, where they left me at 11:45.  This was a pleasant ride, for the sun shone all the time in a blue sky, & the trees were changing to autumn colors, & we went at a good speed.  I was now quite confident that I would get at least as far as Paris today.


At Briare, I sat on a bench to eat my lunch – hard-boiled eggs, bread, & sugar.  Then came a short lift on the back of a small truck, for about 12 km.  Then, after some wait, I got a lift with a man who, to my delight, said he was going to Paris.  Today, and on the previous 2 days, there have been times during my rides in cars when I felt extremely sleepy, & literally could not keep my eyes open.  It is an unpleasant drugged feeling, whose cause I do not know, but I have experienced it on previous trips. After a while, the feeling passes.


One good thing about my rides today was that they were all very fast.  It was about 4 PM when I reached Paris with this man, who drove me into the heart of the city, through a Hell of traffic.  Since I had yet some hours of daylight, I was determined to continue.  But getting out of Paris was what I had long been dreading as an ordeal.  I managed it, however, with almost miraculous smoothness.  I had told my driver that I wanted to go to Boulogne, & he told me which way to go on the Metro.  But he thought I wanted the place called Boulogne near Paris.  Fortunately however  the mistake was discovered in time.  He put me down near the railway station of St. Lazare, & told me to take the Metro in the direction of Pleyel.  This I did, but with much misgivings, for I did not even know where Pleyel was.  All I knew was that I wanted to get onto the Route National I, which I thought ran through St. Denis.  But my driver had directed me very well, for, when I got out at Pleyel, which was the end of the line, I found myself right beside a bus-stop, & boarded a bus which I was told would take me onto my road.  But it seemed too good to be true that things would go so smoothly, & I was very worried that the bus conductor might have misunderstood me, or something else might go wrong.  But everything went perfectly.  At the end of the bus-line, I alighted at a good hitch-hiking spot – and within a few minutes I had got another lift in a van, to Beaumont. So, without a hitch, I had come quickly through Paris, and felt exalted by my success.


I could now stay at Beaumont for the night, but, as some daylight yet remained, I walked out of the town, and decided to try my luck.  What happened now is a lesson of the value of perseverance.  Most people would probably have given up long before I thought of doing so.  But I tried and tried every vehicle, though, with the light, my hopes faded away.  But then came the miracle.  Just when I was getting really fed up & wondering how I should go about seeking lodgings, I received a wonderful lift.  It was in a very small fast 2-seater car with a young man with whom I spoke sometimes in my bad French, & sometimes in his bad English, who told me he was 25 years old, a reporter (at present for a weekly called “Ici Paris”).  At first he said he was going to Beauvais, which in itself was very pleasing for me – but when we reached there, he said he could take me on to Montreuil.  I was elated, & enjoyed the ride very much indeed.  We went at very great speed through the night. 


My driver had been in Israel himself, as a reporter, for 2 months, 2 years ago, so we had much to talk about.  He told me also about his other journalistic travels, particularly a 2 ½ month road journey across the continent of Africa to Capetown.  At Beauvais he took me into a café, and treated me to 2 coca-colas  & a delicious large ham sandwich.  We went so fast that it was only 10 PM when we reached Montreuil.  Here again he treated me to a Coca-cola (since I refused wine) and inquired for me about cheap accommodation.  I did not think that there would be a Youth Hostel in Montreuil, but he found that there was one, which again pleased me very much. So he left me, & I made for the hostel, though I doubt if I would have found it, had not an old woman very kindly led me down a dark lane.  So my day ended perfectly, & I am in a Youth Hostel for the first time since last April.  There are about 6 other boys here, all English, & I am feeling very content.  My next entry will, I hope, be written at home.


Thursday, October  1, 1953

(9:35 AM)  I am not yet at home, but am already on the ship, and, having time on my hands, may as well keep the diary up-to-date.  Things have continued to go almost incredibly well.  Every one of the worry-obstacles which my mind interposed between me and the ship has been shattered. I worried that I might not wake up early enough, that it might prove difficult to get a lift to Boulogne, that I might have a long walk to the docks, that I might arrive too late, or several hours too early (for I did not know the sailing times) – but everything has come out just right.  We should reach Folkestone at 11:30, & so for once I should arrive home at a reasonable hour, instead of, as is usually the case, late at night.


I slept well at the Montreuil Youth Hostel, which was part of some strange walled collection of old buildings, a clean & comfortable hostel where, among these happy joking English boys, I felt all the time very content.  This morning, I was up at about 6:30.  I wanted to get to Boulogne as soon as possible, as I did not know how early a ship might be leaving.  So, after a wash, & the quick consumption of a hard-boiled egg, I set out into the grey morning.  And I had not yet even walked out of the town before my last lift in France arrived.  I was picked up by a van, & taken at good speed across the rolling farmlands – not only to Boulogne town, but right to the harbor.  Walking to the terminus, I was very pleased to find that there was a ship leaving as early as 9:45.  So, in a few minutes I was on board the “Maid of Orleans,” a British Railways steamer. 


The fare was 1860 francs, rather more than I expected.  Sitting downstairs at a table, I have eaten a breakfast of my own bread & chocolate – and a cup of tea, which was the first food I had bought since leaving Israel.  I have just been most happily surprised aboard the ship to meet a young man whom I met on the ‘Artza.”  He is an Israeli, & is going to England to study at the London School of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene.  His name is Amon Gunders, and he was very impressed that I had hitch-hiked here in 3 days. He is 26, & I have invited him to visit us.  It certainly is a remarkable coincidence to meet him again here.  He did not of course come straight from Marseilles to Boulogne, but went to visit a friend in Switzerland.


Looking back now upon my 3-day journey, I can be very satisfied with what I have achieved.  It is interesting how my accommodations improved on each successive night – first on hard benches, then in a doss-house, & finally in a Youth Hostel (which cost only 75 francs, 1/6.)  The only money I spent in France was on transport, a bus out of Marseilles, & Metro & bus out of Paris, amounting in all to about 150 frs.  This, added to my boat fare & cup of tea, comes to 2030 francs.  But since my 3 unsolicited gifts (see Sept. 29) totaled 1700 francs, my own net expense was thus only 330 francs – less than 7 shillings.  Since the fare alone from Marseilles to London would have cost me several pounds, the main object of my hitch-hiking – to save money – has been well and truly achieved.  In all, I rode in 15 vehicles.  The most wonderful thing about my journey was that, although during the first 2 days, I fell well behind my ideal schedule, I managed on the 3rd day to make it all up.  Somehow I regard as my greatest single achievement my getting out of Paris yesterday so quickly, although this, like practically else on this journey, was purely good fortune.


(11:15 PM)  I am home again, after an absence of 3 months – and already it is hard to believe that I really have been away so far and so long.


The “Maid of Orleans” reached Folkestone at 11:30 AM.  In the customs inspection, I was, for the first time ever, asked to open my rucksack – not the main part, but just a side-pocket, by a very hard-looking official.  He examined my empty food-box & the metal box in which I carry my exposed film.  Of course he found no fault, but I was most annoyed with him, because he had spoiled my long record of untroubled customs-passings.


Soon I had taken a bus out of Folkestone, & while I waited for a lift,2 middle-aged men walking  their dog came up & started chatting with me.  Their simple talk about the weather & the government etc. made me feel that I really was back in England.  Fortunately the weather was very fine, a beautiful autumn day, although the Channel crossing had been very windy.  At length I got a lift in a lorry-cab to Maidstone, out of which I took another bus, then sat on the green verge of the roadway to eat a humble lunch of my last “Artza” hard-boiled egg, bread & chocolate.  Then, after a van-ride of a few miles, I got a good lift the rest of the way to London, with a boy just my age, driving his father’s fine Wolsey car.  We chatted pleasantly, & I learned that he was a law student, articled to his brother, who is a solicitor in Maidstone.  He took me right into London, & I got off near Charing Cross Station.  I phoned home, just to let Mummy know I was coming. As always, she was so glad to hear me, & said she was only sorry we were not having a meat dinner tonight.


So I took the familiar tube-ride to Edgware, & 113 bus to Highview Avenue.  I noticed few changes in Edgware, except a little building going on here & there.  Soon I was back at number 67 & greeted by Mummy & Happy [my dog] neither of whom seemed at all changed.  Daddy did not come in until about 6, & Myrna late this evening.


As always, it felt pleasant to be home, to see my beloved Happy again, to read over all the letters I sent home (I sent 8 aerograms, 4 postcards, 1 New Year’s card, & one telegram), to see what mail I had received – nothing important – to observe changes in the house – a new scales, a new address-pad – to eat the food which Mummy so lovingly set before me – cold milk,  a banana, chocolate biscuits, peanut butter & jam sandwiches, to talk about my experiences & hear Mummy’s news about her trip with Daddy & Myrna to Switzerland (where they did not meet one Swiss person, & were very dissatisfied with their  food).  The most surprising thing Mummy told me was that Alec Posner, the Edgware boy whom at the request of his mother I had gone to see at Kibbutz Tel Yitzchak in July & later met again at the Jerusalem students’ rally on August 17, was now at home again.  His father died suddenly, & he had returned & has already taken over his business.


I had of course much to tell Mummy & Daddy, but was, as of old, much annoyed by their frequent interruptions of my narrative.  I presented my 2 gifts – the colored tile for Mummy & Daddy, & the brooch for Myrna (see Sept. 20 & 21) which I think were appreciated.  Myrna certainly did seem pleased with the brooch.


This evening I went round with Mummy & Happy to the home of her friends the Brenners, where she wanted to show them some silver tea-sets that she was trying to sell.  I had not seen these people for a very long time.  Mr. B, through some disease, has had to have one leg amputated, but he is still a remarkably cheerful man.


Mummy says she thinks I look well, but thinner.  I am not sure exactly what impression my moustache made on her & Daddy, for in my letters I had indicated that I did not want remarks made about it.


So, my long holiday is over, & in a few days, on October 5, will begin my new University term, which I approach with misgivings no less than I approached my first term, a year ago.  What permanent effect have the past 3 months had upon my mind & character?  That is not for me to say, at least not so soon.  But I cannot help agreeing with William Hazlitt that, as he points out in his fine essay “On Going a Journey,” a trip abroad is always something quite detached from one’s normal life.  This, at least, has always been my experience, and again I wonder whether, for all my travelling, I am any the better or wiser person.





Ashleigh Brilliant – typing completed January 5, 2018.