Sunday, August 14, 2011

Road Trip

Last week, we took a road trip up north to go kayaking in the Jordan River, and along the way, there was so much to see. I found myself wanting to stop every ten minutes or so to catch a picture of the changing scenery. If you happened to have read my most recent blog post from yesterday, you will see for yourself what variety one might view on a driving trip through Israel. I wanted to share with you just a few images from along the way. Like I mentioned yesterday, the journey to get somewhere is literally half the fun.

From Jerusalem to Kfar Blum and back
Stop One: After exiting Jerusalem, you are thrown into desert terrain, which serves as a reminder of what Jerusalem used to look like just 60 or so years ago. It was literally rugged desert terrain with no buildings, no greenery and no inhabitants. It's hard to believe they've built a booming city where there used to be nothing. Think of Las Vegas, you know there is hours of driving through the desert on all sides, but once in Vegas you're in a big city. That's how Jerusalem is, too. Here we are at one of many camel photo-ops just miles outside of Jerusalem's borders:
 
Camel stop outside of Jerusalem

    

Stop Two: After the camel stop above, you pass through about an hour's worth of empty, yet beautiful desert terrain. I should've stopped for a picture, but I didn't (blame my husband, he was the driver). Once you finally get through the desert, you are welcomed into a lush, green landscape. You can literally turn around and see the tan colored desert cliffs behind you and a green oasis before you. The new greenery is due to the Kinneret, the Sea of Galilee from the north. We decided to stop to stretch our legs and have a bathroom break here at Kibbutz Ein Gav:

Kibbutz Ein Gav on the Kinneret
     

Stop Three: Just a little bit further up, we had really arrived in the heart of the Kinneret. Every side of the Kinneret will have different types of views and environs, and here we are on its eastern side, closer to the border with Jordan. These photos were taken on the Kinneret's eastern side looking straight across to the mountains on the western side:

The Kinneret's eastern coast
    

Stop Four: It had been about two hours of driving since we left Jerusalem and thus we found ourselves in the heart of the Galilee on the eastern side of the Kinneret, getting closer to its northern coast. It was time to stop for lunch and we had seen nothing for quite some time. All of a sudden, there were many options available as we got closer to Capernaum on the northern coast. Capernaum refers to the place where Jesus allegedly walked on water. We had a surprisingly delicious lunch up north which was worth the trip alone and also found some locals enjoying the warm weather and temperate waters:

Swimmers in the eastern Kinneret

    

     

Stop Five: After our kayaking trip, which took three hours in total to drive to, we decided to explore the area near Rosh Pina and Zefat, which are neighboring cities looking out over the Hula Valley to the left and the Galilee and the northern tip of the Kinneret to the right. The drive from the kayaks to this area was just about 20 minutes. Here we are above the town of Rosh Pina (which itself is said to be a hidden gem in Israel) where we found lovely, beautiful homes and even more amazing zimmers. I think I'd like to book a stay at the zimmer below:

Beautiful zimmer in Rosh Pina looking out over the Galilee
    

   

Here's a closer look at the Galilee plains below and the Kinneret to the right of it, the most beautiful body of water in Israel. A very romantic location:

View of Kinneret from Rosh Pina
   

Stop Six: This was a stop at a gas station inbetween the hills of Rosh Pina and Zefat. Amazing! While my husband filled up the car, I went to go take in the views. Out of nowhere, a cute little dog befriended me and prolonged our short gas fill-up to a half hour stay. We nearly took the puppy after he jumped into our car, but because he had a collar and looked to have recently been neutered, we knew that his home was somewhere nearby. Hope that little guy is okay!

View of Kinneret and Galilee from atop Rosh Pina near Zefat

    

Stop Seven: Rather than drive back down through Rosh Pina, we traversed through the neighboring town of Zefat, which is known for being home to Kabbalah and the center of Jewish mysticism. Zefat is not really "happening" on Saturdays because of Shabbat, so I'd recommend passing through there a different day of the week. Nonetheless, it's never a waste of time to make your way through this charming city in Israel: 

      

    

Looking out from Zefat to the Kinneret
View from Zefat
Stop Eight:  Now about an hour's drive into our way back, we found ourselves creeping up onto the city of Tiberias. This city is pretty much the last big city on the western side of the Kinneret, so we knew this would be one of the last little bits of greenery and water that we would get before venturing back into the desert from which we came on our way in. Additionally, we had seen an open Aroma Cafe on the way in and we knew we would be stopping here on our way back for a necessary Iced Aroma to get us through the heat and through our drive. It was a nice way to end a long day:

Driving into Tiberias
Another beautiful view of Tiberias from the mountains
Getting a little closer to the water and the Kinneret coast in Tiberias
Taking in the sunset on the Kinneret in Tiberias
As you can see, the scenery really is half the appeal of a trip anywhere in Israel. I hope you enjoyed seeing some of our stops along the way to the kayaks. My favorite stop was above Rosh Pina and I'm now eager to return soon for an entire weekend getaway. There's just too much to do and see in one little day. This area of Israel makes you feel so far removed from anywhere else and is definitely the relaxing destination of choice for many locals.

2 comments:

  1. Even though we've visited Israel 4 times, we would need another 40 to see even half of what we've missed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Incredible, I love Israel. just returned from Israel recently myself

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.