Sunday, December 30, 2007

Galil again

The bright, dry winter weather we've been having seemed perfect for another trip to the Galil. On the way to our destination (thanks M&J !) we stopped off at Megiddo, known to our Christian Evangelist friends as Armageddon , site of the prophesied big battle between the forces of Good and Evil that is supposed to finish us off for good and lead to the End of Days. A sense of antiquity permeates the site, not surprising in view of its 5,000 year history. We were the only non-tourists there. The prices in the cafeteria were listed in dollars!

Climbing down the impressive shaft that King Ahab (or maybe Solomon but who's quibbling?) dug to allow water from an outside spring to be collected inside the city during a siege.

In nearby Park Ramat Menashe someone had thoughtfully left some public conveniences on display.

Next we stopped off at two villages settled by the German Templer Christian sect in the 19th century - Alonei Abba (Waldheim) and Bethlehem Ha-Glilit. Both still boast some fine remains of Templer architecture.

On Shabbat we decided to pay a nostalgic visit to Safed or (Tsfat or Tzfat etc) where we lived throughout the eighties. Hard to believe now that this was once our home. The photos below don't show the refuse that now litters the Jewish Quarter and (what used to be) the Artists Quarter. Tsfat is now firmly occupied by various stripes of religious people ranging from ultra-orthodox haredim, through New Age- type chozrim ba-tshuva (penitents). At least this beautiful door I always admired is still intact.

The alleyways look romantic from certain angles but many of the old buildings are filled with junk and neglect is evident everywhere. Tsfat, seems to be regressing.

This was once our house! Our kids spent their early years here at a time when not everyone was religious. Now another type of kid is growing up under the vine we trailed up to the roof.

Since the municipality doesn't show much interest in recycling an enterprising local has set up his own recycling station. When we were in our thirties we were very regular visitors to this house. Like many of the old houses here there is an internal courtyard behind this door.

After a somewhat depressing visit to the town where we spent ten years of our lives we needed a positive experience and stopped off for a meal at the Vered HaGalil horse ranch on the road down to Sea of Galilee.

And, eventually, back to the Big Orange. Here are the Azrielli Towers caught through the windscreen.

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