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Friday, August 25, 2006

Photo Friday (vol. LXXV) [Refreshed Edition]

Before I dive back into treppenwitz, I want to take a moment to thank Weese, Doctor Bean, Elisson and Tanya for guest posting here while I was away.  Not only are they busy people with lives and commitments of their own... but most of them have their own blogs to keep up as well.  A huge thank you, guys!

So where were we this week?  We ended up going up to the northern border after all.

There are a couple of ways to reach the upper Galilee and Golan from where we live, but we opted to go through the Jordan Valley rather than fight the coastal traffic.  With the exception of a few extra security checkpoints it was pretty smooth.

However, driving time wasn't the real reason I opted to go through the Jordan Valley.  You see, a little known fact (although I'm sure others will argue) is that the best falafel in Israel can be found in a little place in Beit She'an right next to the small parking lot that serves as the town's central bus station.  Its name - Falafel Zehava - doesn't even begin to describe the culinary goodness that waits inside for those wise enough to stop in this furnace of a town.

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Falafel Zehava (which is run by two sisters, the younger of whom is named [surprise] Zehava) also has exquisite shwarma, world class shakshuka, and spiced meatballs in a tomato sauce that would make an Italian weep for joy.  But the highlight of a visit to this place is the incredibly fresh, perfectly  crisp/moist falafel.  All of these treats are served with a welcoming intimacy that makes one forget literally hundreds of travelers step in out of the 100+ degree (F) heat to enjoy their food every single day.  We also stopped there on the way back, and the sisters not only remembered us but asked after some of our friends who had stopped in to eat on our recommendation.

Our home base for the weeks was a place called Horeshat Tal, a pretty campground/national park just north of Kiryat Shemonah in the upper Galilee that has small tributaries of the Dan River meandering amongst the campsites.  We were there during a bit of a heatwave, so it was inevitable that we would occasionally wade into the streams and cool off.

I won't go into it here (because it will take me off onto a political rant) but wherever we went during the week we saw burnt fields/forests, damaged houses and other evidence of the punishment from a month of rockets.  But we also saw that life was returning to normal and most of the people who had left during the bombardment were back and picking up the pieces of their normal lives.

For most of the week, water became sort of a theme... and because of the heat, all our day trips involved hikes in or near water.

The first day we met up with some friends who were staying on the other side of the Golan for an easy trek through Nahal (stream) Magdresse (sp?) in the Golan Heights.  It was roasting hot out so we were glad the path was actually involved a walk in knee deep water under the cover of trees and bushes growing from the banks. 

Here Yonah bravely leads the way:

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Further up the water deepens a bit:

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The next day we stayed closer to our base and our friends from the previous day joined us for a hike down a section of Nahal Senir (which is either part of the Hatzbani or Dan river or some combination thereof since they cross near there).  Here are the kids early in the trek:

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At one point I found a spot in the rapids where I could wedge myself between some rocks and enjoyed a 15 - 20 minute nap while the cool water flowed around and over me.  Heaven:

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That evening after the kids were settled in at the campsite, Zahava and I snuck off to a little place called Dag Al HaDan, (literally “Fish on the Dan”). The Dan is the river which flows THROUGH the restaurant and the entrance alone is like something from a story book!

The long, heavily forested driveway has low-hung globe lantern-style lights which illuminate the path into the dense forest setting.   As you exit your car, you can hear the gurgling of several small streams, and the rustle of wings. There is a lovely path over a narrow stream densely populated with geese, swans, ducks, and fish of all sizes.

Once over the bridge, the maitre’d escorted us to a hewn table nestled under fig trees that were dotted with lit lanterns.   Waiting for us there by prior arrangement were our friends Imshin and Bish who were also vacationing with their kids on the northern border.  We spent a pleasant spell enjoying their company over delicious desserts and perfect coffee, and left feeling (as we always do when parting from these lovely people) that we really need to find the time to see them more often.

Our last day in the north was spent in Tiveriya (Tiberius) where we treated the kids to an afternoon at a water park/beach club right on the Kineret (Sea of Galilee).  The place has an incredible array of pools and water slides and also had a private sandy beach on the lake itself.

Yonah took advantage of the clear calm water and set about teaching himself to swim:

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There are a lot more pictures but I'll have to post them in their own photo album over there on the right sometime next week.

That's it for now.  It's great to be back... and now that I've (hopefully) regained my sanity I can't wait to write some semi-coherent posts.

Shabbat Shalom.

219_22_20

Posted by David Bogner on August 25, 2006 | Permalink

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What a great vacation, the water looks beautiful. I remember a place called Tsemach that I used to pass on my travels, I was wondering if it is still around. In those days (late '70's) there was one small shop that sold sodas and snacks. All of the busses going from Jerusalem to the north stopped there for a break.
Shabbat Shalom, p.s -welcome back, you were missed :o)

Posted by: ac | Aug 25, 2006 2:49:18 PM

niiice. looks like you guys had lots of fun. oy, i cant wait to come back to The Land of Ulitimate Goodness....

Posted by: Tonny | Aug 25, 2006 3:58:04 PM

Welcome back. We tried to keep the shop nice while you were gone, but it's not the same without you. Tanya is waving her gun at some of the commenters; Weese keeps talkin' dirty; and Elisson, well, he just won't stop posting.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Aug 25, 2006 4:35:20 PM

Welcome back indeed, David - those pictures are marvelous, and I'm glad you had a wonderful time up North. You can't feel awful...when you eat felafel!

Thank you for the honor and privilege of guest-posting. One day, perhaps I will ask you to return the favor (if you can stand it!)

Posted by: Elisson | Aug 25, 2006 5:07:17 PM

Not waving. Never waving. Hinting, maybe, that if they don't start commenting, well... But not waving.

Look how huge your kids are. How do they grow so fast?

Posted by: Tanya | Aug 25, 2006 5:14:04 PM

Oooh, that's one of my favorite hikes. Nice pics, welcome back.

Posted by: Ezzie | Aug 25, 2006 6:25:52 PM

great pics... but there's a WAY better pic over at Weese's today!!!! GO NOW: http://www.weese.blogspot.com/

Posted by: val | Aug 25, 2006 6:30:58 PM

i'm so glad that you guys were able to venture up north afterall! but, if you are going to continue to post about food and eateries, we're really going to have to work on that smell-a-vision. . . or perhaps the type of tv transfer achieved by willy wonka! or maybe we'll just have to come back!

Posted by: rachel | Aug 25, 2006 6:35:44 PM

Oh, that felt like taking a tour through my Birthright memories. Now I really *do* have to go back.

Thank you for that. :)

K.

Posted by: Kate | Aug 25, 2006 6:38:25 PM

Beautiful pics. Looks and sounds like you had a wonderful time. Shabbat Shalom!

Posted by: Essie | Aug 25, 2006 8:15:51 PM

Wow!
It's great y'all were able to take a trip up North after all.

Posted by: Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) | Aug 25, 2006 8:46:21 PM

Welcome back! That falafel sounds delicious, hot weather or not. You just can't beat a perfect falafel.

Posted by: Yaron | Aug 25, 2006 8:53:15 PM

It looks like you had a wonderful time. Glad I could help by blog-sitting while you were gone (and stirring things up a bit :)

Posted by: lisa | Aug 25, 2006 11:17:49 PM


Annan Asks France to Lead Lebanon Force


I am not thrilled to see this but what do you do...

Posted by: lemi | Aug 26, 2006 12:34:18 AM

Sounds like an incredible vacation! Great, now I have to add some more things to my ever-growing list of things I have to check out next time I'm in Israel! : )

Posted by: Irina | Aug 26, 2006 4:18:29 AM

oh and I SEE CROCS!

Posted by: Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) | Aug 27, 2006 6:17:38 AM

Seems like it was an incredible trip! Yonah looks absolutely adorable, by the way (a side effect of having nephews of my own, it seems). I can't wait to meet everyone :)

Posted by: tnspr569 | Aug 27, 2006 8:03:19 AM

Forgot two things.

First, welcome back, Mr. B! You were sorely missed!

Second, Steg- what's the big deal about the Crocs?

Posted by: tnspr569 | Aug 27, 2006 8:11:27 AM

Looks like a very relaxing trip, despite the heat. I hope you have marked the nap spot in the rapids - that is quite a find! Yonah is adorable. Looking forward to this week's posts...

Posted by: mcaryeh | Aug 27, 2006 8:16:52 AM

ac... Not sure, but I suspect that Zehava's is the new incarnation.

Tonny... That might be going a bit too far.

Doctor Bean... I appreciate you minding the practice while I was gone. Um, hey... where are all my triplicate prescription pads???

Elisson... Thanks again. I'd be happy to return the favor some time (especially seeing as there seems to be no prohibition against dusting off the occasional 'cuss' word). :-)

Tanya... Thanks for all the help. I know from experience that treppenwitz commenters are a fickle lot. Posts I assume will have scads of comments sit largely ignored while posts I dashed off with hardly a thought attract heated political and theological debate! Go figure.

Ezzie... Thanks. Yeah, it was fun.

Val... I didn't see your comment until Saturday night. Weese is so lucky I love her. :-)

Rachel... You and I both know the solution to this particular problem. :-)

Kate... So what's keeping you?

Essie... Yes, but the worst thing about fabulous vacations is how quickly they come to an end.

Steg... Zahava will tell you I was ready to go even without a cease fire. :-)

Yaron... Perfect in every way.

Weese... Thank you. I knew you'd do a great job. And yes, I assumed you'd stir things up a bit. :-)

Lemi... GAZE

Irina... The solution is simply to move here. Then you have every vacation open to do these tiyulim.

Steg... Yes, even Zahava was wearing a pair.

tnspr569... Looking forward to it.

mcaryeh... The photos Zahava took are a pretty good map to the spot. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Aug 27, 2006 2:38:08 PM

But were you wearing a pair as well?

Posted by: tnspr569 | Aug 27, 2006 10:21:18 PM

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