Monday, July 28, 2008

Saturday – The last day in Israel

Yesterday evening the others were wondering if they would go to the Dead Sea which we all have heard is worth to see. I announced that I would not join them. I have had to sit in cars lately in Finland too much and that trip would have taken at least 3 hours in one direction. Also I still had friends I had not been able to meet yet and I could have tried to contact them. Chie also did not want to go since she had some work to do with Dave and wanted to get on it while still in Israel.

Amo could have gone there with Hisa, but they decided not to go. The other options were Caesarea and Akko (Acre). The decision was Akko which suited me very well. I visited there last year, but it was a lovely place to see again. I had also contacted one of my friends from Conceptis forums, Zohar, with whom we had plans the previous week but missed the chance.

Akko is an amazing place. The English name is Acre, but I am not going to use it. It is situated on a low promontory at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay, and is has a heavy defence wall to the sea. Wikipedia has a very long and detailed article for those who are interested.

We took a taxi from Haifa and the taxi driver showed us the wall, and took us to the old city. After that he was left waiting for us until we had finished our walk in the city. First we went to eat and the restaurant was an Arab style restaurant and it was the same I had visited with Jukka and Anna last year. The food was good but this was the second time the coffee took me by surprise. I ordered black coffee, not espresso and it was delivered in a small cup resembling the ones we use for boiled eggs. It was not strong, not even very hot and a real coffee consumer like me drank it with two gulps. Chie and Amo were amazed but it was really like tasting coffee, not drinking it to me.

After lunch we went to see the market place which was very different from those we saw in Jerusalem. There were people selling fish, juice, meat, spices, vegetables and all kinds of food you can imagine in separate booths. There were also people selling clothes, shoes, jewels and souvenirs. I bought two candles; I am also a candle addict but nowadays buy only very original ones. Now I found one round candle having Jerusalem carved on the surface. The market place was very big and we walked a long way in the narrow alley and soon noticed that the time we had agreed with the taxi driver was up. We did not have time to visit Hamam al-Basha, the Turkish bath, but I saw it last year. They have an excellent tour around the building, following the story of a boy whose father was working in there in the old times.

My friend Zohar lives a little south from Tel Aviv, but his brother was visiting and the brother lives in Haifa. We had made plans that Zohar would give his brother a ride back to Haifa and meet me at the same journey. He said that he would be in Haifa at about 4 pm and I thought I had good time because it was only 3 when we left with the taxi from Akko. However the traffic had not been as hard as expected and Zohar got to Haifa half an hour before I did and had to wait.

When we got back I had enough time to visit my room and then Zohar and his brother arrived. He brought me beautiful and interesting wooden puzzles his friend is making. I introduced him to Chie, Amo and Hisa and we spent some time in the hotel garden talking about Conceptis and puzzles in general. After a while the others started to prepare themselves for a work-related meeting with Dave and Zohar and his brother took me by car to Haifa.

We went to the Stella Maris observation deck and even though I had had a great view over Haifa from the place near Bahá'í gardens, this was even higher and to the west and I had a magnificent view even the weather favouring me.

We went to the restaurant there and also a couple of the brother’s friends showed up. We had fun doing 3D puzzles. Zohar had 3 animals with him and they were built from 20 – 30 pieces and it was not very simple to get them back together. The others were eating sandwiches but I chose coffee and cake. Once again the cake was really big and with the cake I got ice cream, all in a big plate.

Unfortunately I don’t have the picture about me and Zohar, because it is still in Zohar’s camera and I will get it later. Zohar took me back to the hotel and after that left back home. I spent probably an hour finishing my packing leaving only the things I would still need unpacked.
Dave’s daughter Shira got me from the hotel and took me to the restaurant where the others and Dave with his wife already were. The restaurant was in the German Colony area which was established in Haifa in 1868 by the German Templers. This was a very expensive restaurant and the global law was proven to be true: the price of the food is inversely proportional to the amount of food you get.

The food was good, but at this point I had totally lost my appetite. I was sad for leaving and was already mentally preparing to the trip home. I was not worried about the flight or anything like that; I just knew that I had to adjust to the Finnish habit of not smiling, ignoring the people I randomly meet in the flight or shops and not expecting friendly treatment any more. The others probably were thinking why I was so quiet but I guess they thought I was tired or sad about the goodbyes.

After dinner we walked to the car and this time I saw the Bahá'í gardens from below and in the dark it was amazing. I did not take a picture, because my camera does not take good photos in the dark but here is a picture from

Dave game to the hotel to say the goodbyes. That was a sad but a nice moment. I thank all my friends in Israel and all the Conceptis people (including Chie, Hasi and Amo) for making my trip so memorable! I have nowadays more real friends in Israel than I have ever had in Finland. All the Israeli people I have met on my two journeys are so friendly. It is not just appearing to be friendly. I can see it in their eyes that they really mean what they say and that is something I have rarely seen anywhere. In Finland maybe, but here the problem is that we don’t so much speak to each other ;)
Zemanta Pixie

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