|L to R: Sea of Gallilee, looking over Rosh Pina to the Hula Valley across to the Golan Heights (and Syria, beyond), some kind of flower|
We rented a car and headed daroma (northward) mid week, immediately admitting our list of things to do and see was totally, insanely, unrealistic. One of the best parts- hell, it was all the best part-- is seeing nature and terrain that is nothing like home. The trees and flowers that we can't identify, and palm trees everywhere, even in high up mountain villages .
We hadn't made reservations. A day ahead, when we figured out where we'd be, we looked at airbnb and booking.com--and were super lucky 3 out of 3 times. We knew we did OK in Rosh Pina as soon as we saw that gate at the address of our little cabin/guesthouse. Rosh Pina is a small village of artists, farmers and people who don't mind being out of the way, living on the top of a steep mountain side. That path on the right leads to the hot tub-which is literally on the side of the mountain, and completely open on its far side to enjoy the view. (We did!)
Israel is a country that likes to eat and snack. There is never a wrong time to stop at a cafe or restaurant, and you'll rarely be alone. Every place we stayed--and these were budget-friendly places- had coffee, tea, chocolates, halvah or cookies waiting for us. In this case-, a little bottle of a local wine with two glasses and a happy little porch.We walked all over, up and down the mountain top, wandering the oldest part of the village, now an artist colony in old stone buildings, hiked through a beautiful terraced formal european-style park built by Baron Rothschild in the 1800's, and ate at a Hummusia that has utterly ruined us for anything except fresh homemade, super creamy hummus served warm with toppings of your choice, dips and fresh baked pita.( Nothing like the supermarket kind. )
Next day, next mountain over- Safed, the ancient city of the mystics. It's attracted seekers for hundreds of years--there is something about the light and air there. We always had weird trippy experiences visiting, and we were curious if it still had the same vibe. It's much bigger now, more developed, and has a larger religious population-lots of hippy hasids, many from the US. It is still plenty trippy. It too has an artist colony developed for tourism, with galleries fancy and funky, on spiffy plazas and down older twisty alleys. Lots of good art, too. More stone steps, more blue windows. I couldn't get enough of them. I am drunk on blue.
We couldn't resist that door on the left. Inside we met Avraham, an artist who came for a visit to study kabbalah 20 years ago, and never left. His artwork is detailed and beautiful and all about the visual vibrations of higher levels of consciousness and sound-. It totally made sense when he explained it, anyway. This one, for example. (hello all you modern quilters). Or it could be knit, right?
|50 Gates of Bina, by Avraham Lowenthal, Tzfat|
By the end of the day, we were back at sea level, on the Mediterranean coast, driving from Acco to Haifa. More blues! I only want to look at these colors. Can you blame me?