A Travellerspoint blog

Israel

Arbel Hike and History

Arbel, Israel

Today's hike was at Arbel national park.
It has a beautiful view of the Kinneret, although this time of year it's the least green that it's going to be ever.
The path isn't particularly long- my Strava says we only walked 2.9 miles- but it is literally a climb in some places. We took a trail that required using hands and the hand holds that were drilled into the stones, as it was very steep. But, it took us to some historic caves where the various rebel groups throughout history hid.
At one of the sections, a park ranger sat on a mat to tell us the story of the Roman-era rebels who defended their land from these caves. Similar to over in Yodefat (see post from earlier this year), Josephus Flavius wrote about these battles, so we do have some written account of them.
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Posted by spsadventures 11:08 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Achzivland

Achzivland

Technically, Achzivland is its own country. According to the guy who lives there. I heard about this "micro country" via a BBC article a while ago. I hadn't been there, so we went on a little day trip.

Nearby, there's a national park, Achziv Forest (and beach), so it's relatively easy to find the parking lot. Then, there's just a sign with a guy's name on it telling you how to get to the "country" proper. It's a few shekels to get in, but once you're in, you have access to all of the fun.
Welcome to Achzivland

Welcome to Achzivland


Achzivland

Achzivland


First, we were shown to the museum. There is a short video that explains some of the history of the "country." Basically, some guy decided he wanted to set up his own country there, so he did. There were some legal battles, but not really violence. Israel just sort of tolerates him at this point. Achzivland Museum

Achzivland Museum


The museum is filled with artifacts that he has found over the years both at sea, and on land. Some are "modern" from Ottoman times, but others are pretty ancient Roman artifacts. His collection is probably worth a fortune, and it's all in a pretty accessible museum. It's just kind of sitting around, with a few pieces behind glass. The whole thing is in an old building with amazing tile work. It's a bit eclectic, but also fairly impressive.
Inside Museum

Inside Museum


Next, we were told that we are entitled to use the beach. We weren't really in the mood for beach, but we did take a brief walk out to see it. We could see that the nearby national park beach was jam-packed, but the Achzivland beach was pretty empty. If we wanted to sunbathe, this would have been a better choice.
Nearby Beach

Nearby Beach


From there, we ended up heading toward Ein Kamonim. Ein Kamonim is known for their goats and goat cheese. It's not cheap, but they have an all-you-can-eat cheese lunch that is delicious! It comes with a large variety of locally-made cheeses and a bunch of salads. The cheeses are bland enough that most people would like most of them, but not so bland that those of us who like exciting cheese are bored. (There's no stinky-feet cheeses though, you have to go to Barkanit by Afula for that.)
Cheesey Lunch

Cheesey Lunch


Lastly, we attempted to find a "Statue of Liberty" we had heard about in Araba. We were unsuccessful, but we did get quite the tour of the town. Maybe another time I'll actually make it.

Posted by spsadventures 11:14 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Tel Aviv Food Touring

Tel Aviv, Israel

This morning, we took a food-oriented tour of Tel Aviv. It started out with a it of a history lesson. We learned all about the founding of the city and about several of the major immigrant waves. We walked where orchards used to be and saw some historic buildings. Then, we got to try all sorts of different foods.
Everything platter

Everything platter


We visited a shop with a guy who has been hand-making marzipan for decades. We stopped by a local CSA. We tasted cheese-stuffed hibiscus flowers. We sampled traditional Yemeni food. Their bread is actually quite similar to Ethiopian injera, so I got some to take home.

We stopped at a spice shop, a shop that makes beautiful drinks with fresh flowers it them, and a local brewery. Dessert was real American cakes and cookies that actually tasted right, not like usual Israeli cake where I always think they forgot to add the sugar. At each stop, we learned a bit about the food and story behind the food or location.
Crazy plant drink

Crazy plant drink


By the time the tour ended, we were stuffed.

That may have helped us stay in control as we did a bit of our own food touristry.

We stopped at the Indian and Ethiopian grocery stores right next to the central bus station. At the Indian store, they were just packaging up fresh curry leaves, still attached to the branches. And then we did a bit of food shopping inside the station. The Asian grocery store there had jackfruit, soursop, banana flower, rice-filled steamed banana leaves, durian rice, and all sorts of other delicacies that are almost impossible to find anywhere else in Israel.

We also grabbed some Ethiopian take-out for dinner from a nearby mall that was having a Friday food fest.

We are going to eat well for a while!

Posted by spsadventures 06:27 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Stalactite Caves

Beit Shemesh

Today's adventure is a UNESCO world heritage site. These stalactite caves are situated on a hill side with a great view of the surrounding area. When the weather is decent (cooler) this would be a nice place for a walk.
Stalactite Cave

Stalactite Cave


The caves are accessible by tour group only. You listen to a short video explaining how they accidentally found the cave during a quarrying operation. Then, they take you inside for a look. The caves are not that huge, but they're bigger than some more expensive caves I've been to. They are pretty impressive if you haven't been to other major caves. One thing about these caves that is a bit different is that they light them up with beautiful colors. It gives them a different ambiance than Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, for example.

Posted by spsadventures 06:20 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Taste of the Valley

This week was "Taste of the Valley," an annual event in the Yizrael Valley. There were a ton of events. Today, we went to the event in Zarzir. We arrived at a time when the streets were being blocked off by the police. We parked one village down and walked to Zarzir. When we arrived, we just caught the beginning of a small parade. Three different groups of kids were in the parade. The first group was a school marching band. They only had percussion, no other instruments, but they were actually pretty good. They were waving the Israeli flag, the Vatican flag, and a local flag, so I'm guessing that they are a Catholic school group. In the second group, the girls were wearing head covers, so they could have been a Muslim school group, I'm not entirely sure. The last group of kids was carrying the Israeli flag and a local flag (in Hebrew and Arabic), and seemed to be wearing scout uniforms. They were also a drum band. For those not acquainted with the intricacies of Israeli groups, these paraders were what many people would call "Arabs." They are Israeli citizens who are not Jewish, and very likely speak Arabic at home (perhaps in addition to other languages or not). These people were voluntarily waving the Israeli flag, not the Palestinian flag. These are people who are living in peace with their neighbors. Perhaps they are even happy to be living in a democracy that allows them to practice their faith, unlike so many other countries in this neck of the woods. This is what the average Israeli (regardless of religion) supports. Given the worldwide climate these days, I was uplifted by seeing reasonable people behave reasonably.

The people at the festival were also a mix of Israelis. I heard plenty of Hebrew and Arabic spoken. The food part of the festival was somewhat limited. There was a small area where about a half-dozen vendors had set up stands. One sold popcorn. Another sold cookies. One was selling toys, which didn't seem right for a food festival. One of the stands was freshly-squeezing orange juice. I don't know where she got her oranges from, but it was the sourest orange juice I've ever had. It was almost more like lime juice. It was delicious! Another few stands had typical Israeli food. We had some amazing stuffed grape leaves there, and there were plenty of other lunch-type foods to try.

By the time we were done watching the parade, wandering the main street in Zarzir, and tasting the food, the police had opened up the street again. Because of the festival though, the traffic wasn't moving faster than we could walk, so it turned out ok that we had parked one town down.

Catholic Band

Catholic Band


Scouts Band

Scouts Band


Food stand

Food stand

Posted by spsadventures 16:00 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

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