Our experiences there couldn‘t have been more different during this trip and thinking back that’s why we love this country even more.
We also added Caesarea to this post, because we didn’t know where else to put it. It was our last station on the trip and doesn’t really belong to Israel’s north. JFYI!
Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa
We didn’t stay long in Haifa. We actually just came to see the beautiful Bahá’í Gardens. It wasn’t easy to find a parking spot, as there were many busses with even more people blocking the way. Nevertheless, the view was worth the search. There’s no entrance fee for seeing it from above. If you want to walk through the gardens, you have to register in advance to see it on a guided tour. We were happy with the view from above.
North of Haifa is Acre, which is said to be the most ‚Arabic‘ city in Israel. It’s one of the oldest towns in the world and was always of geostrategic interest. Therefore the city is surrounded by an old wall.
Next, to the Old Town, there’s the new part of the city. The newer part is mainly inhabited by Jews, while it’s almost only Arabs living in the Old Town.
Unfortunately, they fulfill every cliché that’s on this planet. As beautiful as the Old Town was, locals weren’t really pleasant folks, to say it mildly. Women were giving me extreme evil looks, men and teenager boys were staring in an unpleasant way. It was so bad it led to a confrontation with a young guy as it seems to be okay to behave like this to women who are not veiled. We left Acre really quickly after this incident and continued our drive angry and in bad mood.
Would we recommend visiting Acre? You better decide for yourselves. We didn’t feel really welcome and don’t want to repeat this experience. If we were really not welcome, this would be the best way to show it. It’s a pity for the actually beautiful Acre Old Town.
On our way from Acre to Lake Tiberias, we drove along a much greener scenery and I slowly calmed down. When we arrived, we checked in our accommodation and went straight to the maybe most peaceful place on earth. (So peaceful, we didn’t notice about any bombings in the Golan Heights that took place these days.)
It’s funny because I thought I would like Acre much more (after all I read about it) and Lake Tiberias would probably be boring as hell. Turned out quite the opposite. People here were soooo nice, it was so calm and the food was delicious. Of course, both of us ordered some form of the St.Peter’s Fish. This is the fish Jesus gave to 5000 people during what’s called feeding the multitude. Yeah, right. It’s a must when you’re here and just staying for one night. There are more than enough restaurants on the lake shore and they all offer more or less the same.
Lake Tiberias and its surroundings play a major role in the New Testament. Therefore the amount of Christian visitors is extremely hight. Religious Americans, in particular, seemed like they didn’t believe where they were in that moment. (Yes, we observe people.) Unfortunately, none of us managed to walk over the water like Jesus. He was baptized in Lake Tiberias. Moreover, on the north shore, you can find the mountain known for the Sermon on the Mount.
The sunrise over Lake Tiberias was definitely one of the best things we’ve ever seen. We actually still can’t believe how amazing it was. Together with a handful of other people, we were the only ones hating themselves enough to get up early to watch a sunrise at 6 a.m. This view though makes you awake quite quickly, though.
What’s also important to know: Lake Tiberias is Israel’s largest freshwater reservoir. From here they actually provide the whole country. Meanwhile, the water level shrinks dramatically, which is why they’re already searching for alternatives.
If you want to make some relaxing vacations at Lake Tiberias, it’s perfect. But even if you’re just here for just one night, enjoy the food and the sunrise!
And another biblical place. According to the Holy Book Maria and Joseph lived here. Archangel Gabriel told Maria that she’d be giving birth to Jesus before they moved to Bethlehem afterwards. Jesus was born there but he’s supposed to have grown up in Nazareth.
The Church of the Annunciation which is standing here today (the name already says it) was built for this reason. It’s supposed to stand on the place where the Annunciation happened and it’s one of the prettiest churches we’ve seen so far. It’s modern and decorated with art gifts from all over the world. The motives show Maria and Jesus and the Annunciation itself.
Believe the story or not, but the church is worth seeing. Some people looked really touched. The power of religion surprises me again and again.
Note: If you’re hungry, don’t eat at the restaurants surrounding the Church. They’re just there to rip you off. Prices are skyrocket for the standard food. Walk a little bit outside the centre.
The city center of Nazareth is chaotic and the traffic a nightmare. If you want to flee this for at least a short time: Next to Mary’s Well are two pretty cafés, where it suddenly becomes much calmer. Highly recommend them!
Caesarea is an idyllic place between Haifa and Tel Aviv and known for its Roman Theater (which we couldn’t see thanks to traffic in Nazareth and the early closing on Fridays). Not far from there is a little town called Keisarija, a very wealthy Jewish holiday town with a shop that’s even opened later on a Friday evening. FYI.
As our flight departed late at night, we still had a lot of time left so we decided to see our last sunset in Israel. We picked the beach at the aqueduct. All those archaeological places are some of the most important in the country. However, no one cares. People love to sunbath and chill here.
We decided to join the locals and really liked this place. Unfortunately, there was so much trash lying everywhere despite the many trash cans (every 10m). People just don’t give two f… and you can watch mankind live to destroy themselves. Aliens are probably just laughing at us right now.
What a pity. It was a nice place and a perfect ending to our trip!