Israel Trek: Golan Heights, Day 3

If you've just joined the Israel Trek series, we started our trip in the North, touring parts of the Golan Heights and Galilee. For all posts from our trip, check out a sampling of the photos and stories here!

We started off our third day of touring northern Israel by sampling the hotel's breakfast display. Although nothing was going to hold a candle to what we experienced at Kibbutz Snir, the Nof Tavor hotel had a more than adequate selection of fruits, vegetables, granola, olives, fish, and freshly baked breads. Once again, I had more than one plate to fuel my day of touring ahead.

Both photos taken with the iPod Touch 5

A bus picked us up at our hotel and drove us, along with other Bein Harim tour groups, to Caesarea, the ancient city built by Herod the Great.

Like our previous tour in Bet She'an, the city still had recognizable wide Roman roads...

...intimidating stone walls...

...and the requisite entertainment venue for any 1st century city: An amphitheater.

I have to admit: I'm a bit of a dunce when it comes to architecture, and I know my appreciation of it is inadequate. So it naturally follows that my favorite part of the Caesarea experience were the sea views.

Our touring itinerary continued along the Mediterranean Sea, as our bus next took us farther north to just below the Lebanon border. 

As we ascended in a cable car to approach old tunnels running between Israel and Lebanon, the rugged coastline flaunted its deep, rich colors and unpredictable jagged edges.

The cable car took us to the entrance of the Rosh HaNikra grottos - natural caves that have been hollowed out from the continual sea water surging against the rocks over time. The caves are near former railway tunnels between Israel and Lebanon, although the entrance to Lebanon has since been sealed off.

The contrast of the bright, reflective water and the dark, wet rock made photo captures challenging, but that didn't stop N from giving it a try on the iPod.

The sparkling blue water reminded me of of the famous caves in Capri, Italy.

Except I've never been to Capri. So it just made me want to visit.

Next we headed south, stopping in the town of Akko (aka Acre), just north of Haifa. Akko is quite an old city, boasting historical references to populations residing in the area 5,000 years ago. (For a Biblical reference to the city, check out Judges 1:31).

One noteworthy stop we made in Akko was David Miro's copper shop.

We were in the midst of browsing around the various displays full of tempting shiny goods, when David started to work at his bench by the window.

While a small crowd of customers formed, I took a front-and-center approach, trying to capture the artist in action with a few photos.  I nearly missed the moment when he offered me the copper bracelet he had just decorated, hammered, and shaped for my wrist.

For those that know me well: This got a dolphin squeal.

Akko wasn't going to top that experience, although we did go on to tour the Crusader Fortress, a well-preserved fortress that was used by the Crusaders and the Ottomans. 

Moving along, our final stop in the northern part of the country was a brief visit to Haifa to snap some photos of the Bahá'í Gardens.

The nineteen terraces guide the eye up the slope of Mt. Carmel.

From the top of the gardens, the views of Haifa and the Mediterranean were even more stunning.

Sadly, our visit to Haifa was exceptionally brief. 

But what we saw of this seaside city caused me to log a note in our travel journal that I definitely wanted to return.

Can you stand these beautiful flowers?!
They actually remind me of something that grows in Cayman - Bougainvillea, I believe.

And that concluded our tour of northern Israel. 

The highlight?  Kibbutz Snir

The lowlight?  Too many brief stops. I was ready to just stay several days in one spot and soak it all in. 

Fortunately, our plan was to do just that in Jerusalem, which is where our bus tour dropped us off later that evening. That will be the subject of my next Israel Trek post.

Both photos taken on the iPod.

Warning: I have a mountain of Jerusalem photos, all of which feel immensely significant to me. In other words, I haven't been all that successful at culling this next group of photos. You may be in for a jpeg overload.

But it's Jerusalem, after all! No apologies required! 

More favorite places and memories to come.


  1. Me too, re: the bougainvillea!


  2. Oh wow! Not only is your photography breathtaking but now I really want to go to Israel. It's going on my must see list!