Friday, January 1, 2010

12/31/2009: New Year's Eve in Haifa

Today we decided to get an official tour guide, van, and driver so we could properly see the Northern countryside. After a guided walk around the ancient city of Akko, we proceeded to the Lebanon border town Rosh HaNikra. Passed so many farms growing bananas and even caviar -- this is such a fertile land -- and a very magical place where you can see several things:

You can get 100 meters from the Lebanon border, protected by the Israeli army. There are signs saying it is "forbiden" to take photos. Of course this made us want to immediately start taking pictures. No worries, we'll send them to Biden.

Rode the cable car to the bottom of the mountain. It's neat as you start the trip on the top of the mountain and funicular your way down towards the Mediterranean Sea (note: I was not nearly as scared as I look in the photo). When you land, there is a 13-minute-long film that explains the history of the Mediterranean sea-carved caves and also bombing of the train bridge by 1946 Zionist insurgents.

The movie itself was shown in a "theatre" that is a train tunnel connected to the bridge that was blown 63 years ago. Though very low tech, the movie had some neat features such as fans blowing, lights flashing, and water dropping on the audience at appropriate moments. Knee grabbing and neck blowing and hair pulling was supplied by the members of the audience. very cute.

    The Rosh HaNikra caves themselves are breathtakingly beautiful, with fresh blue sea water continuously crashing in. It's not a typical spelunking tour. The caves were carved out by the tireless waves of the Mediterranean, but to access them, a tourist bureau carved out a walking path between the grottos.

    Mike and I stopped by a schnitzel (fried chicken patty sandwich) shop across from the hotel. We quickly became best friends with the sandwich engineer and his magical sauces. Though we had set aside 1/3 of the sandwiches to bring back to our parents, somehow they never made it out of the shop intact :)

    We ended the night at Nemo's seafood restaurant in what seemed to be the only part of Haifa that was celebrating the secular new year. After a meal that couldn't be beat, fireworks set off by pedestrians (my dad said he felt the debris of one fall on his head!), the sight of a flying flaming kite, and drunk locals starting fights, we decided to walk back to the hotel in a consecration of two thousand nine - twenty ten.

    Please see Olga's thoughts on New Years Eve in Haifa:

    1 comment:

    Patti said...

    Dave..what a trip...I'm thoroughly enjoying reading all your's so awesome...enjoy Patti