Monday, September 28, 2009

masada, the dead sea, jerusalem: israel - part 4

Sorry for the delay...things have been busy busy which is a good thing but also quite a tiring thing! Here is the last installment of my Israel photos.

Smack in the middle of the hot, dry desert was Masada - a huge fortress and ruins of ancient palaces built atop a plateaued rock. This was surreal! The desert landscape was gorgeous, but it was so absolutely broiling in the sun. How anyone built anything there 2000 years ago, let alone on the top of a 1km high rock, beats me! And how they maintained a water supply and food storage is even more incredible. The photos don't do it justice...the scope of this rock and the scenery was breathtaking!

Masada overlooks the Dead Sea, so we stopped to take a dip. This is the lowest point on the Earth's surface. It is also the saltiest sea! Does it look like we are sitting in shallow water? We weren't we were floating! You can't sink the in the Dead Sea, as the salt content boosts you right up to the top. It's considered extremely healthy {just don't stay in longer than 10 minutes or else you will get pickled}. The mud at the bottom of the sea has tons of minerals...made our skin look awesome!

Onto Jerusalem...another amazing place! I wished we had more time there as there was so much to see. We took a tour below the Old City, in an excavation site...there are more cities beneath the Old City that they are uncovering as we speak! The Wailing Wall was particularly emotional, and I thought of all of the wishes and prayers that must have been made on the wall.

This is a small, mystical town in the mountains called Safed. Comprised of many art galleries, it is a very spiritual place, and you can feel the peacefulness. Madonna visited Safed the same day we were there...unfortunately we missed her though!

We went to a food market in Tel Aviv and I just wanted to share this photo...I loved the colours of all the spices in their baskets!

Some views of Haifa, the city where we stayed. It's gorgeous, and built on top of a mountain. Here are some views of the Baha'i Gardens from the top of the mountain, and one from the bottom.

And of course I took a photo of an Israeli license plate for my collection.
Well there was our trip in a nutshell!

Monday, September 21, 2009

zichron and caeserea - israel: part 3

The day after the wedding, we started doing some sightseeing and went to a charming nearby little town atop a mountain, called Zichron. A lovely place with sho
ps and amazing food. Did I mention the food in Israel? I was expecting potato latkes and brisket {don't get me wrong, I love that food too} but it was anything but! There was actually a real Mediterranean feel to the food - fresh vegetables, salads, cheese, olives. Check out this antipasto dish...a work of art! And so tasty too. Every food experience I had in Israel was a good one!

After Zichron, we checked out nearby Caeserea
where 2000 year old ruins of an ancient city built by King Herod remain. Quite gorgeous!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

the wedding! israel: part two

Weddings in Israel are a lot different than weddings in North America! First of all they are huge - sometimes 500 people or more! And secondly - they are casual. People show up in jeans and cargo pants! And thirdly - it basically doesn't rain there in the summer so no tents required for outdoor weddings! It's pretty much guaranteed.

My sister Shayna's wedding was quite beautiful - on the beach at sunset. Here are some highlights of the day!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

shalom y'all! israel: part one

Shalom! And apologies for my non-blogging the past few weeks. My sister got married in Israel and so my hubby and entire family made the journey to the Middle East. And was it ever beautiful! Truly a profound experience, I enjoyed every minute - the weather {hot and sunny...every day}, the food, the people, the beach, the amazing sights and landscape. I gained a better understanding of history, religion. What an amazing experience!

I will feature a few photos from the trip in each blog post...there are over 1300 pictures to sort through so bear with me! I will start chronologically.

When P. and I arrived in Tel Aviv, it was nighttime and we were whisked off to a delicious pre-wedding bbq. But because it was late, we weren't able to see much of the landscape on our drive from Tel Aviv to Haifa, where we were staying.
In the morning though, we awoke to this spectacular view from our apartment...we were right on the beach of the Mediterranean Sea!

The water was...and I'm not exaggerating here...90 degrees. Still refreshing though, as outside it must have been 100 degrees or more. I soon realized that I could settle quite easily into the life of a beach bum.

This was the view from the front of our apartment building...

We then explored a market in an Arabic village, Daliat
El Carmel, with cute little trinkets, textiles, and knick knacks.

On the way back to our hotel, we stopped to take in this view of Haifa, and that is Lebanon in the distance! Kinda freaky...didn't know it was within seeing distance!

We stopped at a great little cafe on our way back to our apartment where I was introduced to a little piece of heaven...the limonana. P. and I are now a tad obsessed with what we are convinced is the best drink ever! It is a lemonade slush with ground fresh mint leaves. Heaven I tell you! I sampled one at every restaurant we went to. Delish.

Stay tuned...tomorrow I'll feature my sister's wedding!