THREE DAYS down and the Old City may still elude me, but boy am I notching up my Jerusalem playgrounds. Happily for all three of us there are two beauties each within about seven minutes from our flat. Not that Raf's quite up to clambering up a rope ladder, but given the speed he backward crawls along the leather sofa I wouldn't bet against that happening before our stint here is up. He's happy enough sling snoozing while Louis scampers around though.
As guide books seem to have a thing against taking small people on holiday (see bwb posts passim), we're on our own when it comes to scouting them out. Some, like the multi-slide affair in HaPa'amon (or Liberty Bell Park, so named for its replica of Philadelphia's Liberty Bell), are obvious. Others, like the smaller one in Solovkov Park (pictured), less so. And others still, like one I stumbled across a block or so off the main drag in the German Colony while Louis grabbed a surprise late afternoon buggy nap on our first day, require a poke around the back streets. They're the ones I like best: where families spill out of their homes at the end of the day to congregate for a mass gossip while their kids run off yet more of their steam after a day at the 'gan' (daycare).
So far, we've mainly hit the playgrounds in the early afternoon, when they're all but deserted. The most Israeli new mums can take off is six months, of which only three are paid (by the government rather than their employer) so 'gan' places are in high demand, and there's a distinct absence of any little people around until their mothers have finished work for the day. Which will make it much harder to find Louis any little playmates. The poor child was so desperate for someone other than me to talk to today that he monopolised a brief Skype chat I had with a friend. Goodness knows how he'll cope when it really is just me and them 24/7. I'll find out soon enough though as DJ's first trip looms large next week. Perhaps if we can hit the after 'gan' crowd, and I can find out the Hebrew for 'slide', and 'my turn', Louis will manage to strike up a conversation or two on the climbing frame. Now where's that Hebrew-for-kids app?