Destinations, Middle East

Around Isreal

March 4, 2009 • By

Jill and I celebrated our version of the Sabbath by dining on hangover food at a Mexican restaurant. I know you are thinking I’ve now been in Israel two days and I’ve partied with an Irishman and now I’m eating Mexican but it had to be done. I like the Sabbath. It’s the only time it’s safe for me to go shopping. None of the stores are open. We walked some of the Tel Aviv neighborhoods and I found them to be just like any big city in the States with plenty of designer home and clothing stores and a cafe on every corner. After the Sabbath ended, we came alive again and headed to a fabulous yuppie restaurant on the Mediterranean named Montaray. Just as we arrived the hurricane wind and rain returned and we continued ordering course after course until it ended. Don’t worry should you think I was suffering the grouper and double fudge chocolate surprise with rum ice cream tasted amazing. Jill has visited Israel twice before so she mapped out an itinerary for the curious Christian. We rented a car and set off along the Mediterranean Coast to Haifa. The first stop proved to be an adventure as we ended up –on accident–in a kibbutz. A kibbutz is a community in Israel where everyone shares resources. It’s typically a private or gated community that produces some type of agricultural crop. It’s Israel’s answer to socialism. Once we followed a wayward bikers directions and found our way out of the kibbutz, we toured a sleepy yet romantic city called Caesarea located on the water. Today, ruins of its former occupants tell a story of greatness in the time of King Herrod to gloom and destruction during the crusades. Romans, Greeks, Christians, Jews and Arabs have all controlled Caesarea at some point in the city’s long history. Tourists flock to Caesarea to play golf and enjoy the beaches. It’s a beautiful break between Tel Aviv and Haifa. We stayed the evening in Haifa the third largest city in Israel. It most reminds me of San Francisco with Mount Carmel and the Mediterranean Sea being the vocal point of the city. Haifa is most known as a university town but it also maintains one of the country’s most vital ports. Made up of equal part Arabs and Jews, Haifa is recognized for its historic German Colony and the Bahá’ís World Center. The founder of the religion, Bahá’u’lláh, was imprisoned here by the Ottomans. The city is the perfect mix of history and culture with academia and religion. As an aside, we dined at a restaurant downtown in the German Colony called Fatousch. No one needs to eat 5 plates of food but was exceptional. I mean I totally understand the meaning behind the name. If you eat at Fatousch you will be its namesake….Fat! It was fabulous but again I must learn control and moderation.