Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Last night in Israel...

I have arrived back in Tel Aviv and given that there isn't much going on here I've had a good evening of introspection and acquainting myself with my new roommates at the Old Jaffa Hostel, all of whom are going home soon and feeling a wee bit sad about it.

Our last day in Northern Israel was especially neat for me. Given that my Israeli passport stamp bars me from entering Syria (the new, happening spot on the backpacker circuit), I decided to go for the next best thing: formerly Syrian, but now Israeli-occupied Golan Heights (you may remember a skirmish happening over this region not long ago).

Mike, Bram and I piled into the car and drove 2 hours further North to Upper Galilee: to Kiryat Shmona, stopping to look around a Kibbutz (Kibbutz Dan... tempting for me to stay in Israel and try to get into the Kibbutzim, given how beautiful this area is), and heading East into the Golan.

We spent the day hiking Banias National Park from the springs to the waterfall. It was an easy, leisurely hike. We stopped frequently to admire the sweeping views, to eat wild grapes and blackberries along the trail, to explore the old flour mill and spy on a Druze who was making bread in a stone cabin, and to nudge an adorable turtle in the direction of the water (he kept getting stuck and confused!). The trail ended up at some old Roman ruins built by King Herod's son as well as some old structures built by the crusaders. It's no mystery to us why Israel won't give up the land. It's gorgeous!

Before heading back to Haifa, we got hungry and hoped to find some food in a Druze village. After winding along the mountain for some time we turned back since there seemed to be no restaurant in sight and the sun was starting to set. Bram has keen eye and he found some apple trees and wild cucumbers growing beside the road so we ate them until we found the best shwarma place ever in Kiryat Shmona!!! It was SO cheap and delicious, hidden away behind the main road. I believe it was called Zion Shwarma but sadly I have no pictures.

We spent the rest of our evening with our roommates at the Port Inn Guest House - Elisheva, an American woman living in Israel and her adorable, energetic son David.

Leaving this morning was especially tough, especially since David had gotten to be so attached to us. We exchanged emails and invitations to come visit us in our respective countries. David promised to come visit us when he's famous, predicting he'd land his private plane in style on Elgin Street while wearing a James Bond suit. He kept us quite entertained during our stay.

On the way back to Tel Aviv, we stopped in the beautiful coastal town of Caesarea, built during the Roman rule by King Herod in honour of his patron Augustus Caesar. Much of the old city is submerged in the Med after invasions by the Crusaders and Arabs but the old Hippodrome and Amphitheatre were still there. The ruins were fascinating to see!

Now back in Tel Aviv, we sat on the beach until sunset then came back to the Old Jaffa Hostel. Tomorrow we leave early in the morning for Istanbul so I am hoping for a decent night's sleep. I hope to post some more pictures when I land :)

1 comment:

  1. I felt the same way in Israel. Safe and enjoying the beauty. Back in '88.
    John Morgan,Germany (see Dan)