On Tuesday we left for Haifa at the bright hour of 6 am. After about 3 hours of taxis, sheruts (large taxis) and buses, we finally arrived inside the city limits and immediately ventured off to the Baha’ai Gardens. They are a breathtaking sight to behold, with perfectly trimmed symmetry, and level upon level of balconies descending down to the golden Shrine of the Bab. Members of the Baha’i faith have to make at least one journey to this holy site in Haifa during their lives.
During the evening we had the pleasure of listening to live country music covers out in the street near the Inn we were staying at. Definitely not the genre we expected, but it was great fun nonetheless! The next morning we were off to Akko (also known as Acre) , a wonderful old city on the coast that is reputed to have some of the best hummus (pronounced CHoomoos with the back of the throat; I quickly learned that “Hummus” does not exist here, upon attempting to request it several times. “Ahhh, you mean CHHOOOMOOOS” they said).
I opted out of doing the tourist circuit in Akko which the rest of the group did. Instead I just wandered around the winding streets, peeking down alleys and into doorways, and occasionally consulting my guidebook in dark corners where no one would see me (not that I couldn’t be immediately pegged as a tourist with my backpack and camera, but I tried to maintain some dignity). I walked through the souk (market) there, and was greeted by the sight and smell of many flopping fish. Further on as I reached the marina, I also saw all the nets and fishing boats that had brought those fish; it’s nice that sometimes food here doesn’t come from two continents away. I had some delicious turkish coffee (that may or may not have been from Turkey) at a little shop decorated with sequined cushions, before reconvening with my friends for what would be THE MOST DELICIOUS HALF HOUR in Israel thus far. It was the hummus/houmus/hommos, details of pronunciation were transcended by the smoothness and amazingness of this miraculous stuff. It was like little heavenly clouds of tastiness on my pita.
And then we were headed back to Jerusalem, sherut-bus-taxi-campus, taxi-synagogue-taxi-dinner, and finally bed, after a very long day. Shana Tova!