Friday, October 23, 2015

Kayaking at Rosh Hanira - fun, history and sports all in one!

The father and son team that runs this operation provides a great experience all around.  Most importantly, safety is paramount. Everyone wears life jackets and receives a short instruction lesson, and, the guides kayak alongside the group. It is a little rough until you get out to sea, but then it is smooth sailing as you kayak along the beautiful beach, and through the Rosh Hanikra grottos from a totally different perspective than walking through them.  The guides provide short explanations regarding the geography and history of the location which makes this not only a fun and active experience, but a meaningful one as well.

Kayaking at Rosh Hanikra - - Reservations a must - the sail may be cancelled if the sea is too rough

Jerusalem midnight bike ride - a totally different way to see Jerusalem

This approximately three hour bike ride starts several hours earlier than midnight and requires stamina and strength for the many hills of Jerusalem, but it is a unique way to experience Jerusalem.  Yuval, our English speaking guide took us through various points of interests such as the Promenade in Armon Hanatziv, the First Station in Baka, and the Christian, Muslim and Jewish quarters of the Old City of Jerusalem.  We took a few breaks so that Yuval could provide some history, but for the most part, he wisely let this beautiful city speak for itself. As the night moved forward and the alleys started to quiet, the magic of this sacred city was overwhelming.  This is a great way for first time visitors to see some key points of interest which they can return to in daylight hours.

Jerusalem Midnight Bike Ride -  - RESERVATIONS A MUST!  Dress in warm layers that can be removed as Jerusalem nights can be chilly and bring a water bottle.

Lumina - Israel food establishments continue to put themselves on the culinary map!

We have been to Lumina - the upscale meat restaurant at the Carlton hotel - twice now, and both times the food blew us away.  Chef Meir Adoni combines interesting tastes in every dish (like shawarma with a Mexican twist) that challenge your palate, but somehow work to be delicious. This is not for those seeking basic meat and potatoes and it is not an inexpensive meal, but anyone with a sense of adventure who wants to enjoy food on a completely different level should run here!  The restaurant ambiance is casual elegance.

Lumina - Carlton Hotel, Tel Aviv - 03-520-1818 - RESERVATIONS A MUST!

Omanya leather center - enjoyable crafts activity

We were looking for a fun but short activity with our 12 year old on a cold and rainy winter.  Omanya leather center is located near Haifa.  You choose a leather piece that you prepare from sanding to painting under the dedicated supervision of the staff.  The choices range from small key chains to large pocketbooks (in various price ranges).  Make sure to take a look at all the beautiful leather goods prepared by the artists of this family-owned business (all for sale).  Plan on spending about one to two hours at the Omanya leather center.  A great family activity that is appropriate for all ages!

Omanya Leather Center - Kibbutz Ofek - 04-878-4330 or 052-839-1797 - reservations a must!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Derech Hagefen - no ordinary kind of cafe

Derech Hagefen located in Moshav Beit Zayit on the outskirts of Jerusalem is a pretty restaurant located in a pastoral setting with pretty indoor/outdoor seating.  The food is a variation of the usual cafĂ© fare, with interesting twists on pasta, pizzas and fish.  Derech Hagefen has a sister restaurant located in a greenhouse/nursery in Jerusalem but I found Derech Hagefen's setting and food much more interesting.   A special place that is definitely worth a visit.

Derech Hagefen - 1 Derech Hagefen, Moshav Beit Zayit - 02-650-2044 - Call before visiting as the restaurant is often crowded

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Saidels Bakery Workshop - a hidden treasure

We recently participated in the Maestro of Milano baking workshop in the family-run Saidels bakery located in Karnei Shomron.  There are a variety of workshops offered; this one is recommended for parties with children.  Les Saidel ran the four hour workshop which included preparing breads and pasta, as well as an informative tour of the small but extremely professional facilities.  While not an inexpensive activity, Les' lovely manner combined with a truly fun and elaborate activity made this a very memorable and special activity that pleased both adults and children. 

Saidels Bakery -

Mavoch Bemek - amazing, no but fun, yes!

Mavoch Bemek located in the Emek Valley is a nice activity on the way up North or a great way to spend a low-key afternoon. While the maze does not rival the more sophisticated and complex ones located in the United States, it did take about an hour to complete, and, surprisingly, everyone in our party, including teenagers, participated.  And unlike more elaborate corn field mazes, one can see above the vegetation so there is no way to really get lost. There is also a nice area to picnic where all sorts of board games are set up. 

Mavoch Bemek - 04-983-0255 or 050-540-4473