Israel (Golan Heights)October 22, 2017 in Israel ⋅ 🌙 13 °C
Today we had another beautiful day of sunshine & blue sky - the weather has been perfect thus far! We started out a little later today which was good, as we needed a moment to catch our breath.
We are still located at the Kibbutz on the edge of the Sea of Galilee & essentially travelled north east today to the border regions with Lebanon & Syria - we were exploring the Golan Heights!
Our first stop was Mount Bental, with a wonderful coffee shop (Coffee Anan) & lookout at the top. Mount Bental is a dormant volcano & is also a strategic UN outpost used to survey the happenings over the border in Syria. If you stopped & were quiet, you could hear the odd gunshot in the distance - we later found out that four missiles were intercepted mid flight the night before...
From here we headed down the mountain & closer to the Syrian border, where we stopped, overlooking Golan Volcanic Park, & listened to a talk given by a recently retired Brigadier General & Chief of Staff (Northern Region) from the Israeli Defence Force on the current military situation & it's recent past - it was so fascinating & informative. From here we could clealy view the border fence & crossing, the destoryed town of Quneitra on the Syrian side, & the UN Peacekeeping base on the Israeli side. The difference in the fruitful abundance of the Israeli side in comparison with the desolate wasteland on the Syrian side was immense & incredibly thought provoking...
We were back on the road again & heading north (only a few minutes up the road) to the Druze village of Mas'ade (Masada) - The Israeli Druze are a unique religious and ethnic minority among Arab citizens of Israel. Mas'ade is a small town of approximately 3,500 not too far from Mount Hermon - the highest point in Israel & home to Israel's only ski fields (there was no snow there at this time though). We had a wonderful falafel for lunch here before continuing up into the hills, passing Nimrod's Fortress along the way.
Our next stop was the ruins of the ancient (4500 BC) Israelite City of Dan (Tel Dan) & taking in the incredible history & beauty of this world renowned National Park. We saw where the spring that forms the Dan River is located & I even managed to dip my feet in a pool of cool waters. We saw a 700 year old flour mill & the oldest arch known in history - a Canaanite gate. After spending almost 2 hours exploring this ancient area we were back on the bus again & descending into the beautiful Hula Valley where we were just in time for a tour of the Hula Valley Bird Centre & a trip on one of their camouflaged tractor trailers to view the migrating birds come in to rest for the evening in the grassy marshlands. We saw flamingos, herons, cranes (they are so big & noisy), black ibis (a little more glamourous than the 'dump birds' we have at home), kingfishers, pelicans & ....a wild boar! It was incredible! The setting sun reflecting off the mountains boardering Lebanon created perfect picture opportunities & topped off the day.Read more