Posts Tagged With: vacation

Lazy Post – Turks and Caicos in Pictures

Bugaloos Garam IMG_7364 IMG_7370 IMG_7388 IMG_7393 IMG_7395 IMG_7525 IMG_7535 IMG_7537 IMG_7542 IMG_7557 IMG_7559 IMG_7562 IMG_7564 IMG_7588 IMG_7605 Sailing Sailing2 Sailing3 SS pool SS pool (2)

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Israel in Pictures – Jerusalem

Day 6 (continues) – Arrival

To the tunes of “Yerushalaim Shel Zahav” and Matisyahu, we entered beautiful Jerusalem.  We settled in at the Dan Panorama and moved on to the Kotel, for the tunnel tour at 20:00.  In order to understand the importance of the western wall, the Kotel tunnel tour is an absolute must.

JerusalemThe KotelThe Kotel tunnel

Day 7 – Ir David and old city

The city of David is where it all started.  As you walk around the remains of ancient Jerusalem even a month after this post chances are you will see new excavated discoveries.   The main attraction here is walking through Hezekiah’s water tunnel, ancient’s Jerusalem’s main water supply.  This is a nice challenge for the claustrophobic as it gets narrow and low in places.  You will need flashlights (which you can purchase in the gift shop) in this 40 minute walk.

We also saw Robinson’s Arch, Davidson Center (all near Ir David) and finally got some quality time at the Kotel before seeing the rest of the jewish quarter and the colorful shuk.

View from City of David  Hezekiah’s TunnelRobinson's ArchKotelShuk

Day 8 – Masada and the Dead Sea

If there’s one place in Israel that is a must, Masada may be the one.  Not only you have the spectacular remains and the views but you also see the great story of the revolt unfold.

Cant the say the same about the Dead Sea.  I couldnt wait to get out of there to be honest.  Best part of the visit was lunch in Crown Plaza.MasadaMasadaDead Sea  The light show at the tower of David museum capped another fantastic day

Day 9 – Yad Vashem, Mahane Yehuda, Eretz Bereishit

Yad Vashem was moving to say the least.  I cant quite put the experience into words and I will not.

After a short stroll in the nearby Ein Keren neighborhood we visited Mahane Yehuda food market.  The most famous food market in Israel.   You need to come hungry to this.  We spent the evening in Eretz Bereishit (Genesis land) where we had the total biblical experience.  Well, almost.  I dont believe Ambulances were invented yet.

Yad VashemMahane YehudaEretz BereishitEretz BereishitDay 10 – Israel museum, Dig for a day

Israel’s top museum was one of the most unique museums I’ve ever seen.  The shrine of the book and its dead sea scrolls and the model of second temple ancient Jerusalem worth the price of admission alone.

After a short visit to the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) we said goodbye to Jerusalem and headed to Bein Guvrin Israel Museum

Israel MuseumIsrael MuseumShrine of the bookKneset MenorahDig for a day in Beit Guvrin


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Israel in Pictures – Galilee and Golan

Day 4 – Rosh Hanikra, Upper Galilee

We are leaving Haifa and are on our way to spending 2 nights in Kibbutz Nof Ginosar on the sea of Galilee.

The spectacular Rosh Hanikra right on the Lebanese border is a geological formation of caves (grottoes) that took thousands of years to form.  A short cable car ride takes you down to the cave area where you are face to face with fierce sea.

After the caves we moved on east to Bat Yaar, a dude ranch.  But we didn’t come for the dudes nor the ranch.  We took a jeep tour.  We drove through the Biriya forest, stopped at famous grave sites, collected (or stole, still not sure) lychee and enjoyed nice views of the Galilee.
Rosh Hanikra
Rosh Hanikra
Rosh HanikraJeeping Biriya forest
After a nice lunch at Al Basha near Rosh Pina we moved on to Manara Cliffs for their cable cars and zip lining.  We had to wake up the zip lining attendant as we were the first ones to do it THAT WEEK.  luckily he remembered what to do.   From the top cliff you have magnificent views of the Hula valley.   Finished the day in style with a great dinner at Roberg’s.
Manara CliffsManara CliffsManara Cliffs
Day 5 – The Golan Heights 
This was a jam-packed day.  Spent most of the morning in Katzrin where we visited a reconstructed Talmudic village and the remains of its ancient synagogue (below).  You got a fairly good sense of how life was like 2000 years ago.  Also visited the nearby Golan Olive Oil factory where we got an interesting tour.
We then climbed Mt Bental for more sweeping views of the Golan and Syria, and crawled through former Syrian bunkers (well we walked actually –  trying to sound dramatic).  Lunch was right there at Coffee Anan, a pun on the former UN leader (Anan means cloud).
Katzrin synagogueGolan Olive PressView from Mt Bental
After lunch we went to De Karina chocolate factory where you get to participate in a chocolate workshop among other things.  A bit more Disneyland than I expected.  We then cooled off while water rafting at Kfar Bloom before a nice dinner at Dag al Hadan, a restaurant with its own trout farm situated on the Dan river.
De karinaDag al HadanDag al Hadan
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Israel in Pictures – Haifa and North Coast

Day 1

Our amazing Israel adventure started at the Dan Panorama in Haifa.   Arriving on Saturdays means good luck getting your room on time.  Brunch at Habank right next to the hotel and off to see the Haifa sites…

The first major site was this thing called Shoko, chocolate milk in a bag.  Shoko quickly became our favorite travel companion for the next 14 days.

Dan Panorama is conveniently located near the ‘Tayelet’, a promenade leading to magnificent views of the Haifa Bay and the Bahai Gardens.   You can also nice views of the gardens from the bottom, the German colony area.

Bahai gardenHaifa Bay

Went for a walk at the arab neighborhood of Wadi Nisnas which included a great falafel from Hazkenim and then off to the beach promenade.

Day 2 – Akko

After experiencing our first tastes of the famous Israeli breakfast, we headed to Acco.  First stop, Lohamei Hagetaot (The Ghetto fighters house) originally founded by Holocaust survivors in which among them were members of the ghetto underground.  The main museum is the world’s first Holocaust Museum built in 1949.  We were here to see Yad Layeled, a memorial commemorating the 1.5 million children perished during the Holocaust.  The picture below came from a room filled with stained glass works which are based on children’s drawings during the Holocaust

Yad LayeledYad Layeled I should also add is suitable for the entire family including younger kids, unlike Yad Vashem which does not permit kids under 10.

We spent the rest of the day in Akko which is not short of historic sites…

Turkish Baths

Akko has it all.  The spectacular Knights Halls, a vibrant Shuk, a colorful port, and some of the best Hummus Israel has to offer.  Not to mention one of Israel’s most renowned seafood eateries Uri Buri.  A full day is required here.

Day 3 – Carmel area and Caesaria

Started day 3 in Beit Shearim, an archeological site of ancient tombs (catacombs) dating back to the 2nd century.  It is believed that the main author of the Mishnah and a key leader during the Roman occupation, Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi was once burried here.

After Beit Shearim we climbed back the carmel mountains to visit Beit Oren for some off road ATV-ing.   Needless to say I was a very dirty boy.

Lunch was in the Druze village of Usafia courtesy of Usafia Hospitality where we learned about the Druze way of life.

Beit ShearimBeit ShearimBeit Oren

2000 year old great roman city of Caesaria was more enjoyable than I imagined.  King Herod went to great extent to impress master Caesar (hence the name Caesaria).  The park really did a great job bringing the city back to life.


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Top 15 things we ate in Israel

       In the land of Milk and Hummus, incredible flavors were running wild.  2 weeks of touring and eating some of the best Israel has to offer in the North, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, produced some heavenly results.  Here are the best things we ate in no particular order

1.  Hummus from Suhila/Abu Suhil in Akko

A silky smooth, creamy, ’no frills’, amazingly fresh Hummus, served warm with boiled chickpeas.  Simply amazing 

2.  Sashimi salmon with wasabi sorbet from Uri Buri in Akko

Best Sashimi Salmon with Wasabi Sorbet I ever had 😉   Yes, ordered it because I was curious (not a big fan of salmon) and glad I did.  An original and yummy creation of contrasting flavors.  Photo courtesy of Mark H. Anbinder

Sashimi Salmon

3.  Hazkenim Falafel in Haifa

Some of the best Falafel we ever had in a narrow little alley in the Wadi Nisna.  ‘Old People Falafe’ made me feel young again.  That and the procedure I recently had.

4.  Baked trout from Dag Al Hadan in the upper Galilee. 

Baked with Pesto and other spices, delicious fish in an incredible setting 

5.  Lachuch from the Lachuch guy in Tsfat

Whether you want it like a pizza or a wrap, master Ronen will dish out a wonderful snack of Yemenite spongy flat bread with tomatoes, zaatar, onions and fresh cheese.  Add a spoonful of the spicy Z’hug and you got yourself a meal.

6.  The plate from the Ussafia hospitality lunch.

Fresh pita with zaatar, hummus, kabobs, fresh salads and more.  I’ll let the picture do the drooling…  

7.  Hummus with meat from the Lebanese Restaurant in Abu ghosh

Rich, wonderful hummus with nicely seasoned meat with pine nuts.  The rest of the salads were not too shabby as well in this village just outside of Jerusalem

8.  Kibbeh from Rachmo in Jerusalem

If this cafeteria style establishment makes it that day, get it as a meat dumpling in tomato soup or fried like a fried meat patty (I prefered the soup).  I could have easily mentioned their amazing Hummus instead here.  A must while visiting Mahane Yehuda 

9.  Coffee bean Halva from the King of Halva in Mahane Yehuda in the Jerusalem

Halva is something I eat a lot (I had some this morning – Feh!).  This is fresh, melt in your mouth, savory nutty Halva.  Absolutely delicious.  Now I’m drooling.  Cant get that in NY

10.  Shawarma from Turk Lahmacun in Tel Aviv

Veal, lamb, turkey Shawarma, or go Meshugenah and have all 3 inside a Lahmajun, flat bread topped with meat and spices baked in their taboon oven.  Add some Amba (mango condiment) close your eyes and enjoy the show.  p.s open your eyes occasionally to see if you need more Amba or if your finger is bleeding

11.   Pargit from Dr. Shakshuka in Jaffa/Tel aviv

The Shakshuka may be the famous dish here but we found their tender and juicy Pargit (boneless chicken thighs) irresistible

12.  Spicy Halabi Kabob from Haj Kahil in Jaffa/Tel Aviv

A piece of art.  Wonderful meat stuffed with herbs and nuts served with roasted tomatoes in a soup like tomato broth covered with pastry dough with zaatar.  Simply delicious!

13.  Malabi from Haj Kahil in Jaffa/Tel Aviv 

The Knaffe may be the popular dessert here but this milk pudding with pistachios stole the show. Couldnt get enough of this Panna Cotta like deliciousness

14.  Sabich from Sabich Frishman in Tel Aviv

A glorious and flavorful sandwich of Eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, tahini and spices in pita.  Very tasty

15.  Brioche French toast with jam from Benedict in Tel Aviv

C’est Magnifique!!

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