After over a week in Jerusalem, we decided it was time to take our adventures further afield. We packed the car, me, my partner, his mum and brother and headed north. We cruised along the highways which had a ludicrous lack of signposts for the speed limit. So, we used the cars around as our guide – not the safest method but effective none the less.
Our first destination was right at the top of Israel, on the border between Israel and Lebanon. A place called Rosh Hanikra. The border itself is strictly guarded and photography prohibited (well almost prohibited J)
The area is beautiful with amazing views along the coast line of the Mediterranean Sea. Rosh means ‘head’ and Hanikra means ‘the grotto’ – so as the name suggests, there are some impressive grottos to explore. We hitched a cable car down the cliff and meandered our way through the grottos and caves watching the water crash against the rocks. It was an impressive sight. After we had explored the caves, we hired electric cars and drove along the beach. It was the only time I’d be driving in Israel and I took the opportunity with gusto. Racing other cars and hooning around sharp corners, I felt so alive… that is until a jogger overtook me.
That afternoon we headed to Haifa – famed for its port. The city is built up into the hills and has some spectacular views. There we settled in our little ‘boutique’ hotel. It was called the ‘Art gallery hotel’ and had themed floors. We were on the bronze floor. Whilst it wasn’t the most salubrious area of Haifa, it was comfortable and the first night since we left on holidays that we didn’t have to partake in the nightly furniture Tetris challenge.
We caught up with a friend of my partner who lived in Haifa and received some interesting life advice from her family including whether to have kids, before or after marriage – and even being told to think twice about even having them… Strange how people impart their life advice on complete strangers but makes for some amusing encounters.
We found an Italian restaurant for dinner and then hit the local bar scene for a drink. We found a bar called Alterman which was lively. More the 18-20 year old scene, the music was up a little loud to have a polite conversation but I enjoyed the people watching. It was a Tuesday night and the place was packed! We even got snapped by the paparazzi.
The next day after breakfast, we wanted to head to the Baha’i gardens. Unfortunately, they were closed but we did get some beautiful shots from the gates.
We finished our northern exposure trip with a visit to Ceaserea. A city that had been built by Herod with an impressive harbour and port (which are no longer there). We explored the ruins of the palace, the hippodrome (race track), the fortresses and other parts of the city. It has had an interesting history thriving at different times throughout history and under different cultures. Ceaserea was completely razed by Mamluk – an Arab King who was fighting against the crusaders. The prosperous city was completely destroyed along with a lot of the history with it.
The temperatures were getting to extreme levels so we decided to head back to Jerusalem. As we were driving out of the narrow streets, a police car came behind us, sirens blaring. We pulled over to the side to let it pass and four other cars to the opportunity to snake in behind it – typical of the courteous patience most people have here.
We stopped in Abu Gosh for another big lunch before arriving back home to relax in air conditioned bliss.