Day 5: Golan Heights, Sea of Galilee and Tiberias

Thankfully we didn't have to get up too early this day.  Breakfast was served in the hotel dining room as a self service buffet.  One of the highlights of the meal wasn't food, but instead was a beverage.  Grapefruit is one of my favorite fruits (probably a close second after kiwi), so I was overly excited to see they offered fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.  Even cooler was that you got to squeeze it yourself.  Yum!
They also offered a variety of foods.  For eggs, they served both scrambled and shakshouka.  If you didn't see my previous post about shakshouka, it is a traditional dish where the eggs are served fried in a spicy tomato sauce.  It is so good, so I love that the hotels have been offering this for breakfast each day.
Another highlight of breakfast in Israel is the abundance of vegetables.  It is a great way to start of the day without feeling so weighed down with greasy foods.  It is much lighter, and I am happy to get so many yummy veggies.
Another staple in Israel is olives.  They also served pickles.
Cream of wheat was another good option, and my sister made hers with cinnamon and raisins.
I had plenty to eat too, but if I wasn't full, yogurts and puddings were available.
They also had a nice selection of breads.
Here is my plate, with eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, cheese and a roll.

Then we were off, heading towards the Golan Heights, which overlook Syria and Israel, and has been important in the history here as a strategic location when it comes to military operations.  Before reaching the location where we would listen to Effie Eitam (General and Commander during the war in 1967) speak about the battle that unfolded there, which he was a part of, we first visited a welcome center.  Here we were given a multimedia showing of the battle and how Israel prevailed over Syria, beating all the odds.

I have no idea why, but I know these are tanks, but they looked like popsicles and really made me hungry.  Overall, this was a great presentation that gave a lot of the background of what took place here and the historical importance of the battles and their role in Israel as it is today.
Here are some pictures I took from the bus as we were driving from the visitors center to the Golan Heights.  

They still have active mines here, so you really need to be careful where you are headed.  Staying on the main path is the wisest idea.
Once we arrived way up high, we listened to a presentation by Effie Eitam (I normally don't do this because wikipedia is not generally the most credible of sources, but click here to read more about him), who was the commander at the bunker where we were.  He was awarded with the highest medal for his service in this battle, and is known as a hero in Israel.  He provided us with an account of the events and the importance of what took place here during the battles against the Syrian army in 1967.

Here is a remaning tank from the battle.
Here I am looking out onto the Israeli side.

Here is the trenches and bunkers from the battle.
This is Syria down below.  I believe the speaker said this area is military patrolled and the UN checks it every few weeks to make sure everyone is behaving themselves.  This has been a relatively quiet border now for years.
This is Effie Eitam speaking to our group.
Here I am with my sister, and Syria is in the background.

Check it I am with a humvee behind and some IDF soldiers hanging out in the background.
Lunch was at a kibbutz, and was served after we watched a video about the "Valley of Tears", which was one of the major battles of the Yom Kippur War, where 76 soldiers were killed.  Since this was on a kibbutz, the meal was kosher, and more specifically it was a meat meal.  Other than the meat, you can see they offered many vegetable options.

This was my plate, filled with veggies.
Here is my sisters plate.  She found some different things than I found, including the fish.
For dessert there was some cake...
...but I had something different in mind.  Yum!
After lunch we all boarded the bus and headed to Tiberius.  Along the way we passed the Sea of Galilee, which is the dark blue you can see just outside the window.  They had a lot of precipitation this past winter, so the water level was higher than normal.  In fact the highest mountain here was still covered in snow.  I would show a picture, but the foggy haze made it to difficult to see in my pictures.

Here is a really good picture of the Sea of Galilee.  It wasn't the easiest to take the pictures through the window.

Here we are at the Tiberius fire station.  One of the reasons we stopped here was to see a demonstration of their equipment.  I am on a JNF tour, and JNF (Jewish National Fund) raises money to help support various things in Israel, mostly tree planting, water related projects and developing the Negev, but many other activities/projects as well.  One of the things they donate money to is the fire department here to help them meet their needs.  Theycan't save the lives of others without the equipment either, and they can't protect the land either.

Here they showed us how they can get an injured person off a building.

Next up they demonstrated how to use the jaws of life to remove the top of a car.
If you look closely there is not a roof on this anymore.
Curious what they did next?
Oh yes, they set this baby on fire!  Too bad it was a really windy day and the smoke went everywhere.

The good news is that they did a great job demonstrating how they put out fires.  Thanks for the great demo!

I took one last shot of the Sea of Galilee before we headed off back to Kibbutz Lavi.
After an exhausting day we were treated to a lovely dinner at the hotel.  Yes, I know I took pictures of dessert first.  This helped me decide what I wanted to save room for!

Although all the desserts looked yummy, I decided I better eat some actual food for dinner first.  Again, this is a kosher facility, and this was a meat meal, so I enjoyed the many salads and vegetable dishes they provided.

I wound up grabbing a little bit of everything, and as usual took way more than I could eat, especially because I wanted to try other things too.
Then it was off to bed because we had to get up really, really early the next day.

For more on JNF and my families involvement with this organization, read about my day with JNF last May.  CLICK HERE!

Thank you all for joining me so far on my travels.  Next up is Jerusalem!

QUESTIONS:  Have you ever heard of JNF?  Is there an organization or cause that you support?  Are you familiar at all with the history of Israel?

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