We were staying in Haifa tonight with a good friend of Shoshi's, and they seemed to be looking forward to meeting me as I know Shoshi had had several calls asking if I had arrived safely, and just as we reached Haifa, a call came through asking where we were.
We were staying with Yaffa and Ischai. We arrived at their home without incident and spent a wonderful evening chatting and laughing until the tears ran down our faces. They are a lovely couple, Yaffa quilts beautifully and was in the process of finishing a Chupah for her sons wedding at the beginning of December, he and his bride were coming from Chicago. Yaffa had cooked a wonderful meal which I did not do justice too as I was still full from lunch, and I felt quite guilty as I really wanted to enjoy it. I do hope she didn't feel offended. I felt very honoured to have been taken into their home and they were so generous.
I had seen this view the night before, but this was the following morning and the view from our room, it was fabulous as we were quite high and the sky really was this blue and I could see the sea in the distance. We had breakfast, and Ischai made my turkish coffee flavoured with cardamom which is different and I really enjoyed it.
My coffee in a fincan which is what it would be made in. I nearly bought one, but I had to think how I was going to get things home. It is different when you travel alone as you are more aware of what you can and can't carry. Shoshi and I have hit on the brilliant idea that next time I go, it will be with an empty case, and I will then buy clothes to wear while I am there, then I will leave them behind so that I can fill my case with other things.... the trouble I had getting the few pieces I did have home was an experience in itself............
Anyway, I had more time to study the art in their home the following morning and it was lovely, their son is a very talented artist, but then so is Ischai, he made these glass panels which were stunning. The one with the flowers represented his daughters names and were just lovely
The cabinet I believe he had found on the side of the road, and had brought it home and carved the elephant.....
So having had a good look at this wonderful art, it was time to go out on our tour of Haifa. I really liked Haifa, it was a totally different city to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, it is a city where Jews, Christians and Arabs live in complete harmony, has a lovely University and is an interesting city just for the number of churches it has in every religion, some I had never heard of. We piled into the car, and took off for our first stop. It was an extremely windy day but it was clear and sunny.
This is the garden of the B'hai shrine, an absolutely beautiful spot and you can see how high we are here, the gardens are beautiful and very well kept, we could go down to the gate in the foreground, but no further, so we stood on the level above and just admired it all.
We then drove onto Stella Maris, (Star of the Sea), which is a beautiful church.
It was very busy with different tour groups, so we looked quickly and then moved on.
We crossed the road to look out across the port of Haifa, if the barbed wire disturbs you, its there to stop people jumping off the top, it really is very high, There is a funicular which runs from the bottom up to here, but it was too windy so wasn't working. The point of land in the distance is Lebanon. The boats in the sea were waiting to dock and offload, but it is the Sabbath, so nothing was happening.
We then drove down to the bottom, and looked at the B'hai shrine from this point, it is very beautiful and I think you can see how high we are, bearing in mind that the shrine is about halfway down.
We were at this point standing at the base in the German Colony. The buildings have been restored and it is a lovely spot. Do bear in mind that this is the Sabbath, so there wasn't much going on. We then got back into the car and headed for the Wadi Nisnas which is the market area in Haifa, an area of narrow streets and traffic.
We stopped in at this bakery...........
There was a major traffic jam here, we had walked through these cars which were turning, the noise from the horns was quite something. I think there was a car trying to get out against the flow of traffic...
There were some interesting pieces of art lining the walls of the market
This is Mangold, similar to Spinach, but you have to know what you are picking apparently.
More art in Haifa
We had a wonderful time, we visited a Greek Orthodox church in which all the glass was painted
We then visited a flea market which was great fun and I found a really nice table cloth, small but highly decorated, and Yaffa beat him down on my behalf, and I came home proudly with my prize.
We then left here and went up to the Druze village of Usifiya for lunch, I have posted the photos that and the bakery. The owner knows Yaffa and Ischai well, and he came and sat and chatted with us. The restaurant was busy and very popular. The food was great and all to soon, it was time to be moving on.
I'm not sure I have told you where I am going, but well, I'm sure I will let you know. Shoshi and I collected our luggage and then it was time to leave and go on up to Akko, (Acre), as I was now going to be handed over and travelling for a little during the coming week, so off we went. When we were standing at the top of Stella Maris and looking out across the port, we could see Akko, it's only about half an hour from Haifa.
It was a quick journey and I was going to be handed over to Bella Kaplan for the next few days. Bella lives on a kibbutz close to the border of Lebanon, so this was going to be an interesting experience, and I was looking forward to seeing her again. We arrived in Akko and had a little time to wander the walls of the old city.
It is a lovely city and one that begs further exploration which I hope will be the case next time I go, we didn't have a lot of time.
It wasn't long before we had a phone call from Bella saying that they, she and her husband Yatzke, were close to Akko and would meet us at the railway station, so Shoshi and I got back in the car and found our way to the station.......... and didn't find them. We sat for a little, and then we rang Bella and found that there was another car park, and they were waiting there, so we were in the wrong one!
It was lovely to see her again and I was really looking forward to spending time with her. I hold Bella in high esteem as a quilter. Until I actually met her at the festival, I had only seen her work in magazines and have to say I am quite awestruck, so when she agreed to come and teach here, I did several little happy dances, and tried hard to put across to quilters at the trunk shows we did, how lucky they would be to take a class with a teacher of this calibre. This by no means denigrates any of the other quilters or teachers, we had. They are all incredible teachers and I loved them and their work.
We bade Shoshi farewell as she was going back to Bat Yam, and I was now continuing my journey around Israel and was heading for Kibbutz Kfar Gil'adi which is where Bella has lived for almost 40 years. We took the road through the Carmel Mountains that was going to take us north, and the sun was beginning to go down. We drove past many Arab villages at this point, it is noticeable that the houses are different, and there is always a minaret or two.
Suddenly, we crested a hill and there was a break in the mountains, and it was here that I had my first glimpse of the Kinneret, or Sea of Galilee. Wow, what a view and how amazing was this? My mouth just dropped open.
By the time we got to Bella's, it was getting dark, and we found her son and daughter in law with their children waiting for them. We had a lovely chat and I played with Maia, Bella's granddaughter, had a quick meal and then it was time for them to head back to Tel Aviv.
Bella took me for a short walk around the kibbutz, and I will tell all about it over the next couple of posts, when she said she wanted me to meet my guide for the next couple of days who happened to live right next door. So, we got back and went to the house next door, and walked in.
And that's when I met Uri..................