Basically beautiful

'There are two Kinnerets," my three-year-old daughter proudly told her father when we visited Ein Gev's Holiday Resort. "Yam Kinneret [the Sea of Galilee] and Kinneret the girl - that's me!" Immensely proud of her name, she was literally jumping with excitement at the thought of a stay by "her" sea, which, she likes to point out (as if it reflects her personality), is the only one that has "sweet" freshwater in Israel. After spending time at Kibbutz Ein Gev down the road one Friday afternoon, we arrived at the resort just before sunset and were pleasantly surprised at the painless and efficient welcome at the reception area. We were quickly given the key to our holiday apartment, told where to park, and in short minutes the kids were letting off steam on the handily close playground with my husband while I checked out the place. In a quick tour I saw we'd have no problem sleeping our family of five comfortably. The apartment had two rooms, a main bedroom and living room/ kitchen/dining room with three day beds. Best yet were the amazing views from the bedroom and the deck and grassy lawn just off the main room where the kids could play. A warm, basic paradise, really. But "basic" is the word. This is no luxury pad: The bathroom had only a small shower and no bath. The kitchen didn't have even the most rudimentary dishes or cutlery and the furniture was not terribly new. However, everything was clean, sufficient and well maintained. We didn't lack for soft towels or clean sheets and saw no creepy crawlies coming out of the woodwork. And did I mention? We had an amazing view of the sea! Gan Eden. We partook of a kosher buffet meat dinner at the cafeteria where the kids had all the fish fingers they could eat, and my husband and I sampled the delicious roast beef. Besides that and the tasty Friday night chicken noodle soup, my family was pleased to make pigs of itself with the myriad of parve cream cakes. The next day's breakfast was a little disappointing, and the word "basic" came back to haunt. It was Shabbat and the other guests, all Christian pilgrims, were asking each other where the eggs were, where the food was. For our family the fare was more than adequate. There were plenty of fresh rolls and little containers of butter and jam that the kids so loved to hoard. The highlight of our stay was, of course, our visit to the "other" Kinneret. On that sunny November morning, we were the sole visitors on the resort's private beach. Granted only our three children would be crazy enough to enter the cool water (and we the only parents foolish enough to let them), but merely sitting on one of the many comfortable chairs and enjoying the sound of surf and relative silence was the rarest of pleasures in this crowded country. As Kinneret the girl said after dipping her head in the water, "See Ima, it is sweet." For information: e-mail or call (04) 665-9800. The writer was a guest of Ein Gev's Holiday Resort.