The view of Har Hermon from our hotel first thing in the morning. Now, I love the views where we are and still often stop and just stare in awe at the view spread out before me, but nothing we have down here even begins to compare to the vistas in the North. It has the high stony pathways of northern Ontario, the Green rolling hills of the Catskills, and the peaks of the rockies all in one place.
Add to that the gorgeous blue of the Kinneret (Galilee Sea) and you have some of most incredible views I have ever seen.
After Jason finished his first game on Wednsday morning, he came back to the room, showered (there is no way I was getting into a car with him after hockey if he missed that step!) and got en route to the tour we booked at the Golal Heights winery. http://www.golanwines.co.il/default_eng.asp
We booked for a public tour in English. Not having the slightest clue how to get there (and having terrible Israeli style directions "go left at the third kikar and then you will see signs"... um, yeah, we finally saw a sign 45 minutes down the road!) we left really early and got there over an hour early. Turns out we were the only people registered for the tour, so we got the private version. It was just the 2 of us in a theatre meant for 40 people! We were wondering if we were obligated to start making out...
Whatever. The movie was terrible. some genie with a wierd little wipsy tail that looked sort of like an upside down NIKE swoosh in a tux.
The rest of the tour was great! We saw the bottling room
and the room where they age the wine in oak barrels. 1.something or other million littres at any given time.Then came the tasting. We had a nice reisling, a young red (which neither of us liked and we think was just given to show the difference between young and old wines as it was followed by) their syra which is what they consisder their best red, a moscato (which neither of us liked as much as some of the other moscatos we have tried) and then, the best in both our minds, their "Heights Wine" (an ice wine made in a country where frost does nto last long enough to make real ice wine but competes internationally as an ice wine). It was AWESOME!
We bought a couple of bottles of the reislinig, one of the ice wine, and one mascato to take home with us and asked for other suggestions on places to go. we were told about a kibbuts, not far away, with a gormet chocolate factory and tour. Hot damn we knew where we were going next!
After sobering up a little bit in the parking lot we were on our way.
We got there to find out that they did not have a tour that day, but we did manage to come away with soem awesome chocolate and a bottle of milk caramel liquor. http://www.lobi.co.il/card-info.asp?Id=225 Going to have to try to arrange that tour if we go to the tournament again next year.
From there we drove down to Teveria by way of the Kinneret and the Jordan Valley. It was beautiful!
We grabbed lunch at a street shwarma vendor. I think it was, hands down, the best shwarma EVER! Mehadrin so totally fair game, with a "toppings bar" of about 35 different types of salads. Well wrapped so that it never fell apart and you did not get that icky wad of bread at the bottom.
Two pictures of Teveria in the winter.
After lunch we wandered around for a while and then headed over to the Rambams grave site. I got a few pictures, but honestly not as many as I would have liked. For someone who was "the poster child for rational Judaism" his burial site has certainly taken a turn for the chareidi. The markings on the srcofacaus itself was sllit lengthwise by a mechitza so the entire yomb was split in half. Yes, that meant that women did not have acees to the other tombs, including the Rambam's father on the mens side.
I have no problem with wanted seperate areas to daven, but to cut me off from whole areas with PERMENANT dividers because I do not have a penis seems a little insane.
Anyhow, the grave itself it really cool looking. There is a giant metal sculpture designed to look like a flame, and leading up to it are stepps bordered by columns with the names of the sections of his famous work the Mishna Torah. Oh, of coruse there was the quintesential gift/hair covering shop at the entrance. I was wearing a baseball cap. I considered myself good to go.
there is also a small cemetery on the side with the graves of other tenaim including the Shelah Hakodesh and some other's whose names are excaping me at the moment. All in all not a terrible 20 minutes ide trip.
Leaving the tomb Jason gave some money to a Breslover Chassid (I like them, they make me smile) and got pulled into street dancing with him. I wish I had gotten it on video, but I was too busy enjoying it in real life ot remember ot pull out the camera.
We went driving down to the water front (although we could not find anywhere to stop to park so we did not do much walking this time) and en route came across a sign for "Kever Rachel". Now, I may stink at geography, but I was pretty darn sure Rachel was buried in Beit Lechem and that it was a little lower down in the country.
This was the grave of Rabbi Akiva's wife Rachel. Although it is likely that Rabbi Akiva was tortured and killed south west in Caesarea his wife is burried here in a small (but clearly well marked) tomb. we both thought that it was rather interesting that in a religion that does seem to cover up most of the women, this gave site was maintained through the years.
This was the view driving back towards Teveria from the Kever Rachel. IT is amazing ot see how it really does just sort of rise from the Kinneret.
Day 2's pictures were mostly posted under an earlier entry about the hotel and grounds at K'far Giladi. We were thinking about going in to Tzfat, but instead took the local tour (something not readily avaialble if we were to happen to be up north at any other time) and then went ot the Naot show factory (where I got a really adorable pair of naot Mary Janes for a great price.
After that grabbed lunch at Esh Besh, a Mehadrin place in Kiryat Shemona http://www.2eat.co.il/eshbesh/ that had some of the best meat we have ever had. For about $40 total we got the special which was 250g rotisery shish ka bob (he had beef, I had chicken), 6 various salads, home made bread and drinks. Toronto seriously needs some nicer kosher restraunts.
After that we went for a swim at the Canada Centre and Jason played the championship game (he won!) before attending the end of tournament banquet and heading home.
Oh, did I mention we managed to do all our day 2 touring and shopping in Hebrew? Including figuing out the menu and ordering?
We got home around 2am and crashed! We woke up with enough time to get Channah from school, pack, and head to friendsi n Maale Adumim for shabbat.
I am now thouroughly beat, but relaxed, happy and in a great mood. A good nights sleep or two should kill the post vacation exhaustion and I will be ready and raring to go!