Thursday, February 18, 2016

Israel Day 7: Tiberias and Tzefat

A much needed late(ish) wake-up started this morning. That was followed by the best chocolate croissants yet!  Once we loaded up and hit the road at 9:00, we headed to Tzfat to visit the artist galleries. We took the senic route and along the way gathered more glimpses into the historical beauty that is Israel. We even made a brief stop in the city of Amuka which is the site of Rabbi Jonathan Ben Uziel is buried. Suposedly, his grave is the place you're supposed to go to when you want to find the one you will marry.  Women speak a prayer as they circle the sacred dome seven times, and legend has it, they will meet the one shortly after their visit.

Tzfat itself is surprisingly small.  There was a small courtyard mall along the street that had a few art galleries. What was unique about this court- Fig tree court - is that the court was a shambles until an American Jew bought that part of the street.  As he began renovating, a tangled, twisted fig tree was unearthed.  Amazingly, after light and air began reaching the old tree, life was breathed into the branches and new growth revived its leaves. 

We toured the galleries, which were filled with a variety of styles and mediums of pieces. We also visited two synagogues. One of them, called Abuhav, was actually closed to the public because of a Bar Mitzvah, we were able to visit thanks to our amazing guide.  We were directed immediately to the women's section, which gave us not only a beautiful view of the synagogue itself, but we also experienced a Sephardic Bar Mitzvah service!

From there, we headed to Pe'ing for our Druze hospitality lunch. While plans did not exactly work the way we anticipated, our tour guide saved the event! We didn't get a full Druze hospitality lunch in a Druze cave, but we did have a nice lunch and the restaurant owner was able to share the history of the Druze people as he is one. 

After that, I was excited as we headed to my sister's house. I've never seen any of the places she lived in Israel, and she's liked this house best, so I was excited to see her home. It,was way bigger than I thought, and decorated just the way my sister likes it. The gardens are beautiful, the neighborhood is quaint and I loved seeing my sister in her element. One of her Israeli grandparents brought over some delicious cheese cake bites his wife made for us, along with some fresh dates right from his tree. We sat and chatted and laughed and snacked on palmello and beets and enjoyed the time with my sister. 

(Picture coming soon!)

It was refreshing reaching the hotel tonight knowing that we wouldn't have to pack in the morning!  We ate a light dinner at a beach restaurant (and when I say beach, I mean right on the sand,) and walked back across the street (literally, right across the street!) to our adorable hotel. The hotel, called the Sea King, is a green hotel with some neat energy saving features such as lights that don't activate until you put your key in the key slot. We were all upgraded to suites, and the room is awesome!  Perfect place to wrap up our visit. 

Tomorrow brings out first day in Tel Avov, and the agenda calls for several different markets in the area. I'll keep you posted!

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