Sunday, October 2, 2011

Northern Israel

We've made it up north a few times in the past year.  It's only 1-2 hours driving, but there's a mental divide.  It has usually required visitors from abroad to make the trek. 

We had just such an excuse in early September.  We drove north and saw the Roman aqueduct ruins by Casarea, had a snack at a favorite winery visitor's center, and spent the night in Nahariya, the northern most city in Israel.  We enjoyed a delicious seafood tasting menu dinner at the port of Akko, an arabic town inside a 2500 year old fortified port.  The top right photo is of the port as we walked around before dinner.  The middle photo is a mosque inside the fortress walls.

The next morning we visited Rosh HaNikra, caves in the cliffs at the border of Israel and Lebanon.  I was here with Dan in 2006, but we didn't do the cable car and cave tour then.  In the afternoon we drove inland and took our friends ATV'ing in the Golan mountains.  Then we drove home to refresh, before dinner and our friends' flight back to Detroit.  It was a whirlwind 5 day visit!

Although the climate is obviously quite different, and I am not sure I could ever love living in a semi-arid climate the way I love the temperate rainforest at home in the Pacific Northwest, it is a wonderful place to visit and see.  We have only made it out camping once so far.

It was back in June.  We joined local friends at the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) for our first overnight camping experience in Israel.  The lake is the lowest fresh water lake in the world, and that means the air temperature is HOT!  It was almost unbearable, even in the shade.  We slept outdoors under a canopy which turned out to be better than those with tents because the slight breeze kept it comfortable for the night.  Unfortunately the campground was packed with families, in close proximity, so it felt more like an outside city park sleepover than camping.  But we had a great time and felt a bit more like locals ourselves. 

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