Sunday, January 3, 2010

01/03/2010: Time to leave Haifa already

We split up for our final morning in Haifa. Konstantin and Phil visited the Ba'Hai gardens, Mike went haggling in the market, others slept in or blogged. No regrets! We converged back on our rooms, packed up, and slowly made our way to the cars.

Our first port of call was the Carmel Winery in Binyamina. Here we toured the 120-year-old winery and had one of the most fun and interesting wine tours. Learning about the intracies of making Kosher wine in Israel was expecially fascinating. The tasting was great too - we'll be returning to the states with a couple of bottles in tow.

Somehow Karen, Phil, Leonid, Maria, Olga and I got separated from the rest of the group. We couldn't seem to figure out how to leave the winery to go across the street to the wine shop. Some of us took turns going to the bathroom, exploring the machinery rooms, and pounding on the gate. Eventually Leonid hacked the security system and the gate started opening automatically. It was like the parting of the Red Sea, we took off in a flash!

Apparently the wealthy Rothschild family had given money to several families to start wineries/vineyards in the late 1800, and Carmel is one of them. The town of Binyamina is named after Benjamin Rothschild.

Our next stop was another area that benefitted from the Rothschilds - a return to Caesaria to test the acoustics of the amphiteathre. After the 3 Tenors reunion concert, we spent some time on the beach exploring the ruins (the old Roman aquaduct was especially fun to play on) and watching the birds.

Upon noticing birds flying South in a V formation:

Me: It's already the middle of the winter
Konstantin: it's already the middle of the south

In Rothschilds' Caesaria, we had an excellent sushi dinner - probably the first outside the US for Olga and me - and watched Olga's parents' eyelids get very very heavy. Leonid took a nap in one of the booths while we enjoyed creme brulees and chocolate soufflees and then was reenergined to drive again.

We continued the tour by stopping by Shefayim to watch my cousin Ryan's team destroy Haifa in a basketball game. It seemed a little unfair :)

Check out Olga's account of our road trip:

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