Saturday, March 26, 2016

Day Trip To Lower Galilee

On Tuesday the 22 of March, I joined a one day guided tour to the Lower Galilee area, in the north of the country.  It included , among other things, visits to a winery, a boutique olive oil press, a panoramic lookout , a cemetery, a former german Templers' settlement, a river and an adjacent park.

Morad  Winery in Yokneam little town

In both places, at the winery (Morad Winery) and at the olive oil press (Galili Olive Oil) we came  across happy founders (husband and wife) who had turned their hobby into a profession and got very successful. 
The Visitors Center in those production facilities offered  tastings of wine and liquers, olives and olive oil.  It also gave visitors the chance to buy products and gift packages at discount prices.

wide selection of wines and liquers

wine gift packages

 olive oil in tins and bottles,jars with olives, olive soap

The main attraction of the Zaid hill lookout is the bronze statue of the famous watchman Alexander Zaid on his horseback, gazing out over the valley that he used to patrol in the days of the pre-jewish state. It was fascinating to learn from the guide's lecture about Zaid's fearless personality, and the history of the place. 

bronze statue of Alexander Zaid 

At the 'Nahalal' cemetery we focused on four modest gravestones of two famous fathers and their sons : 1.Moshe Dayan, army general who at some point served as Defense Minister,  and son Assaf, a very versatile person ( movie actor and director, writer of books, scripts, and newspaper columns); 2. Ilan Ramon, astronaut who died in the american Columbia space shuttle crash, and his son Assaf, fighter pilot whose jet crashed during an army exercise. There was great sadness in the air.

Ilan and Assaf Ramon graves

Bethlehem  Haglilit, not far from the city of Nazareth, is a picturesque village with stone houses dating to its time as a templers' colony (first part of the 20th century). The place attracts many visitors, so it offers tourist services : bed and breakfast, visits to olive oil presses, spice gardens, cheese farms etc... A visit here usually brings up the question of which Bethlehem is the true birthplace of Jesus -  Bethlehem of Galilee near Nazareth, or the accepted Betlehem , south of Jerusalem, in the West Bank.

the water and bell tower of Bethlehem of Galilee

 I didn't quite enjoy the last part of the tour - the visit to the Harod stream- as it got very windy in the area and I wished I was back on the bus. Anyway , the Harod river runs through fish ponds, water reservoirs, agricultural fields, and is the main drainage artery of the Harod Valley. There's an adjacent recreational park, Beit She'an National Park, with spots for picnics and restored ruins of the ancient city of Beit She'an.

Harod Stream

sign indicating the stream, the park the bridges trail

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Pedestrian Again.....Residents' Victory

Apropo round shape (my previous post 'Rotunda'), and women (the Woman's Day celebrated on the 8th of March last week) :

The round Dizengoff square in the heart of Tel-Aviv, originally named Zina square (Zina, the name of the mayor's wife) in honor and praise of all the women of the city - is currently in the news -  and that made me re-read my post "Fire and Water" from February 4, 2011 regarding the above square.

The big News is that the square (unveiled in 1938) is going to return to street level ( in 1978 it was elevated above street level, to allow flow of car traffic at the lower level;  this layout was very unpopular with the residents of the city who expressed their opinion on the topic,  in the 2011 survey initiated by the Municipality).  After the planned restoration, the place will belong only to pedestrians and their activities. 

Dizengoff is the name of the first mayor of Tel Aviv, the name of the most iconic street in this city , the name of the square  (the meeting point of this street with six  lateral streets), and the name of what is known as Dizengoff Center which includes a mall and an oudoor vintage market.

The square is round, and so is the main attraction in the middle of it - the fountain named by its famous designer Agam - 'fire and water'. The regular visitors  of  the square are: kids (playing and feeding the pigeons), bicycle riders, dog owners walking their dogs, seniors resting on benches, joggers, and many others.

she looks good and so does the dog

Dad is watching boy feeding the pigeons

having a chat while sitting on blue (ugly) benches