Heading to the Lower and Upper Galilee areas of Israel we stopped at Sfad also known as Safed and Zefat. It is considered one of Israel’s four holy cities – the others being Jerusalem, Hebron, and Tiberias. In spite of the literature saying that Safad is charming and atmospheric, I found it anything but that.
We walked up what felt like hundred of steps to Citadel Park. What we found was a disgusting, dirty area where we didn’t even want to sit on the bench! If you go to Sfad, bring change because the bathrooms are 1 shekel. After walking down the hundreds of steps we found ourselves on a strip of jewelry stores and art galleries. There was a small visitor center with an interesting video which talked about excavation. Excavated tunnels were downstairs, which we went to for $4.00. I can’t say this town is a must see and I wouldn’t go back.
We stayed at the Frenkel’s Bed and Breakfast, which we found in Fodor’s. We think that this was the nicest place we stayed at during our seven stops in Israel. We were welcomed into the home of Etha and Irwin Frenkel who moved to Kfar Korazim www.thefrenkels.com a dozen years ago and renovated this house to accommodate three guest rooms. The gardens were gorgeous and among them were 80 olive trees from which comes the olive oil you may be eating. You can see the Sea of Galilee as long as the day is clear.
We were shown to our lovely suite after chatting and found a large bedroom, a table for computers, a closet, chair, end tables, colorful curtains and paintings. The living room had a couch and chair, television, and mini-refrigerator. The bathroom was clean – in fact everything was spotless. We had a heated bath rack in the bathroom! We even found tea, coffee, a teapot for hot water and a bowl of fruit and cookies left for us.
Our first dinner was at an upscale area in Rosh Pina and ate at Rene on Main Street. This is a hopping bar after 11:00 when smoking is allowed. The restaurant was very modern and pretty. My health food salad had about six tiny sunflower seeds but it was a large salad and came with delicious bread, olives and oddly enough pretzels. My husband had the ravioli in pesto sauce, which was quite good. The cost was 137 NIS with beer, bottled water and a tip. It was good and the server was very nice but I wouldn’t run back.
The two breakfasts we had at the Frankel’s were lovely. Mr. Frankel makes his own bread and in fact most of the food was home-made. We had, along with several kinds of breads, avocado, melon, eggs, and cheeses. Another morning we had homemade waffles along with an assortment of salads, yogurt, fruit, and cheeses. Along with the lovely accomodations and great food comes a wealth of knowledge from the Frankels, which they will be happy to share with you.
The Naot (footwear) factory is located at Naot Mordechai which was worth the drive. You’ll find shoes and sandals for at least $20.00 to $30.00 less than retail. You’ll want to drive to Metula were you can see Lebanon, the Hula Valley, and Golan Heights. There is plenty to do such as Banias, Nimrod’s Castle, and Mount Hermon.
Give yourself a day to head to Tiberius. If you plan your timing right you can get a free tour. You definitely want to go to Beit She’an National Park. We saw many ruins during our three weeks in Israel but Beit Shea’n topped them all. You will be doing a lot of walking and can even hike to the top of what is called a tel or hill. Plan on spending several hours here.
We went to Nazareth. Get baklava while you are here at Moussa, which Fodor’s recommends.Plan on getting there early when the Church of the Assumption will be opened. This is where Mary was told she was having Jesus.
Not far from the Frenkel’s was a restaurant they suggested. The name is Abu Salah and it was excellent. It is at the Amiad junction. We had lots of the salads for which Israel is known and their special hummus topped with chickpeas, an onion ring and a tomato. This seemed like it was enough for two people but we also got a giant red pepper stuffed with rice. The cost was 120 NIS with a piece of complementary baklava for each of us.