Posted by: RaeAn | 9 October 2010

Sukkot Travel!

I’m finally taking the time to write about my Sukkot break, and hoo boy, is it a doozy — I did a lot!

For a little while, I just chilled out in Jerusalem. I ate dinner in the HUC sukkah for the first two nights with friends from school, got some R&R out of the way before I headed north for some traveling.

First, Chuck and I went on a day trip with Nefesh b’Nefesh, which is the organization which helped him (and all other Jewish immigrants) make Aliyah. We went to the Ramat Hanadiv Gardens near Zichron Ya’akov, which is a bit or a tribute to the Baron Rothschild, who helped fund many Israeli towns and institutions and prevented many, including Zichron Ya’akov, from completely floundering before they could develop the infrastructure to become more self-sufficient. It was a gorgeous garden.

(Full photo album: http://picasaweb.google.com/hippiegirl5352/TishbiWineryTrip#)

 

Water lily in the pond in the Herb Garden, which was built for blind visitors. All the herbs had specific scents and visitors are allowed to pick them and smell them.
View of the Mediterranean Sea from the gardens.
There was a guy in a unicorn costume wandering around the gardens. Yeah, it’s as weird as you think it is. But apparently there was some sort of Sukkot thing of “Can you find the unicorn?” promotional thing, so he wandered around and the kids had to try to find him. Yeah.
Me in the garden!

Then we got lunch in town at Zichron Ya’akov. We were rushed through that, so I didn’t get any pictures, but it’s a gorgeous little town.

Then we went to the Tishbi winery for a tour and some tastings:

 

 

These are the barrels where they age the wine. They age the good red wines somewhere between 6 months to 2 years in these barrels. Each barrel can be sued for up to 4 years, so they'll rotate the wines that each barrel contains at least once throughout its lifetime before it gets tossed/used as storage/something.

 

 

About to begin tasting the wines!

 

 

 

Chuck and I finally get our hands on some delicious red wine!

 

After that little day trip, we spent the night in back Tel Aviv. I met up with my cousin Tali the next day for coffee (she lives in Haifa, but was passing through Tel Aviv on her way to a trip to Kibbutz Ein Gedi in the south). Then Chuck and I boarded a train to spend some time in Haifa.

(Full Haifa photo album: http://picasaweb.google.com/hippiegirl5352/SukkotTravelHaifa#)

First thing we did was tour the Baha’i Gardens (after finally figuring out the directions there). For more information on the Baha’i Gardens… go here.

 

View of the Baha'i Gardens from the top.

 

 

They had water flowing down both sides of the stairs. These gardens took $250 million to establish and require $4 million a year just to maintain... and they don't accept money from anyone who's not Baha'i, so all that money comes from followers of the Baha'i faith. The city of Haifa offered to subsidize the gardens, but they refused the money.

 

 

Such gorgeous flowers there. I admire them so much. Every plant I try to keep dies. (Sigh.. Yes, including Charlie the chili plant, in case you were wondering. He's gone.)

 

 

Standing at the bottom of the Baha'i Gardens... such an incredible feat, building such a garden into the side of the mountain like that.

 

Then Chuck and I walked to the Statue Garden nearby.

 

 

First statue in the statue garden.

 

 

Me again.

 

 

This statue reminded me of Eve in the Garden of Eden.

 

 

Mother and child.

 

Then we walked around a little before finding our hotel.

 

Overlooking Haifa.

 

We relaxed in our hotel a little before going out to dinner.

View from our hotel room’s balcony. The diagonal line of lights in the middle are from the Baha’i Gardens. (The hotel was called Eden Hotel. I recommend it — nothing too fancy, but fairly cheap and provided everything we needed!)

Chuck and I then went to the German Colony for dinner and ate at an absolutely amazing Arab restaurant. Chuck got a Tabouleh salad, and I got a Haloumi salad; I’d never had one before, but it’s officially one of my favorite dishes now. (Balls of fried cheese on top of tone and tons of veggies.)

Then I looked toward the entrance… and happen to see some of my classmates from HUC! Apparently they went to dinner across the street but came to the restaurant we were in for drinks, so we all got a nargilah (aka hookah or water pipe) and some drinks and hung out for a good long time.

 

 

Daniel tells a story about a lion and Rayna illustrates.

 

We parted ways after a few hours,  them to return to their hostel and rest, us to change in the hotel and head out to a bar with a supposed student party. No one was there, though, so we didn’t stay long.

The next morning, Chuck and I went to the Arab market, where I bought some fruit (starfruit and passionfruit, yum!), some spices (a rice spice mix and some hibiscus), and some fresh honey. Then Idan, Chuck’s boy, drove up to meet us and the three of us hit the beach!

Beach near Hof HaKarmel.
Chuck and Idan frolicking in the waves.

After the beach, the three of us headed into town for lunch, and then we all had to return to Tel Aviv before the holiday (Simchat Torah started that evening).

Then, the next day, another day trip! This time, though, it was with Gal.

(Full album: http://picasaweb.google.com/hippiegirl5352/SukkotTravelNorthWithGal#)

First we went to a natural freshwater pool up north.

A little slice of paradise in the middle of Israel…

We swam around for a bit before we got cold and hopped back in the car to continue our way further north.

 

 

The landscape of the north as we continued driving... gorgeous.

 

 

Gal and I stopped along the coast of the Kineret to take some pictures and take in the scenery.

 

After a bit more driving, we finally arrived to a place called עין כמונים / Ayn K’monim.

 

The entrance to Ayn K'monim. Mark it. You want to go here sometime.

 

Ayn K’monim is a goat farm… with a restaurant… where you pay one price and get all-you-can-eat appetizers, coffee, wine, and goat cheese. And delicious goat cheese at that. Check out the spread (sorry the picture sucks, but you get the idea):

 

Salads, tea, bread.... and cheese. Lots of cheese. Delicious! They make all the cheeses on the farm, as well as the butter, yogurt, and olive oil.

 

It was a lovely evening, and a great day… and a perfect end to the traveling components of my Sukkot break. Thanks, Gal! 🙂

Gal and I also went to see a film at the Cinematheque in Tel Aviv called “An American Hippie in Israel.” It’s a film from the 70’s that was banned from theaters here, and there are apparently only 4 copies left in the world. It was interesting, to say the least… and I mean to say “interesting” with that tone of voice that indicates it’s not always in a good way. But I was still glad I went to see it. I agree with Gal, who said it would be great if it were cut down and made into a short film rather than an hour and a half.

Also, Gal found me a guitar! Updates on her in a bit. But I now have a guitar, and life is a little better. 😀

I’ve also had plenty of other things happen since the end of Sukkot break, but I think this is enough for one post, so I will bid you good day, a Shavua Tov (Shabbat is almost over here in Jerusalem), and I will write more later about this past week! (Things like field trips to historic sites in Tel Aviv and to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, for instance.)

שבוע טוב לכולם!

~ Rae

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