So here we are, the last full day of our trip, and we resumed our site seeing in the morning at the top of Mt. Carmel, where a monastery is built in the 19th century. The monastery has an almost 360 degree view of the surrounding landscape, and although it was a bit hazy yesterday, you could see for miles.
From there we drove through a mountain town filled mostly with the Druze, a people who I did not know about before my visit here. In addition to their secretive religion, the men of their faith traditionally wear a unique type of baggy pants, in apparent preparation of the coming of the Messiah. As strange as it sounds, after Misha described this to us, we drove through their town in search of a glimpse of these pants, and indeed, they look like parachute pants with a kangaroo pouch.
On our way down from Mount Carmel, we stopped at the Haifa University, located on the other side of the mountain. There, across a valley, were two steel rope bridges that we had been trying to visit for a few days. I don’t remember when the last time that I was on a rope bridge, but I likely had the same impulse to walk to the middle of it and try to get it to sway a bit to see how stable it was (the bridge was actually secured with additional steel cable to the ground, particularly to deal with people like me). I don’t think Dina appreciated my efforts, so I kept the swaying to a minimum.
Once in Haifa, we parked near the bottom of the Bahai Gardens (currently undergoing renovation), and had lunch at what was known to be the best Shwarma place in town. My goal was to compare it to the French shwarma that I had in the Jewish Quarter in Paris, and I have to admit that the Parisian shwarma was as good if not better. Two data points are clearly not enough to fully judge though.
We walked around Haifa a bit more after lunch, along the water of the Mediterranean Sea, and then headed to Zihron Yakkov. This was the same town where we had dinner with Polina and Ariel the night before, but this time we were with Misha who gave us a thorough tour and historical background. Misha is a wealth of information about history, politics, science, and everything in between, and having him as our makeshift tour guide has been a great experience.
We spent the night hanging out with the family, singing old songs and playing the guitar. I actually “played” a few songs, which to my surprise I had only partially forgotten the chords to after many months of not playing. Dalia and Nika both have great voices, and Nika even played the guitar for us (Avril Lavigne of all artists haha). As Nika listed through her guitar tab sheets, she even came upon Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours, to which Dina and I tried to recreate our wedding dance while Nika played the guitar and Dalia sang. It was entertaining and a very memorable night, as we all tried to recall songs from our childhood.
Today we fly back home to the states, but not before visiting Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and a few more friends and family on our way to the airport. See you on the plane!