Haifa, Israel

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up really early on October 20, 2011.

We had to show our passport and a landing card which was stamped by Israeli Immigration to get off the ship in Haifa, Israel.

There was a bus waiting for us outside the cruise ship for Guided Tours Israel.  Our group consisted of 8 people and 1 monkey.

Our guide was a Jewish woman named Michel who was nicknamed Mickey.  The bus left at 8:30 am.  Our tour was a Jewish tour in Haifa.  Since it was a Jewish holiday, a lot of Jewish sites were closed.  Mickey asked what was on our schedule for today.  You would figure the guide would know what was on the itinerary.

The driver was driving around Haifa.  We could see the view of the lovely Baha’i Gardens. 

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We drove up to see the gardens from above.  There was also a great view of Haifa.

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The group boarded the bus.  Mickey talked about the history of Israel.  She was very opinionated which could offend some people.  At one point, she said Arabs were stupid.  Mickey said that we’d be having fish for lunch.  A man said that he didn’t do fish.  Mickey was talking about falafel to the driver.  She said she didn’t want to go to a falafel place since they always have that for lunch.

We stopped at the Maritime Museum.  It was closed, but we stood outside to see submarines.

Mickey said that Ivan looked Jewish and she knew that I wasn’t.  Mickey said that I looked mad.  She said if I wanted to visit some Christian sites that would be fine and she said we could go there.  I wasn’t mad at all.  It seemed like she couldn’t understand why a non-Jewish person would want to visit Jewish sites.

We saw the Sea of Galilee and through the Jordan Valley.

The group stopped at the Jordan River.  We walked to the river. 

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Our tour guide Mickey didn’t explain anything about the people in white robes who were about to get baptized in the river.  She only liked to talk mainly about Judaism. 

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Ivan and I gathered from the sign that Jesus was baptized in this river. 

There was time to walk around the big souvenir shop.  Ivan got a cup and a small Jewish flag.

We waited outside for the other couples to finish their shopping.

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The group got back on the bus.  We drove trough a Jewish kubbutz. 

We drove through Tiberius.  Then, the driver took us to a service station with restaurants.  Mickey said we could get sandwiches.  The sandwiches didn’t look appetizing at all.  Ivan and I walked across the street to a falafel place.  We each got a falafel pita.  Lil Dave got a falafel and banana pita.  One of the other couples went to McDonald’s.  The woman said the meat was really bad.  I don’t know why we ended up here for lunch.  The restaurants weren’t the best.

Next, the driver took us to Akko.  We stopped near the sea.  Mickey told us to go ahead since we were young.  She didn’t say about how long we’d be at this stop.  Ivan and I took some pictures with the sea as the background.  There was a nice restaurant with a great view of the sea.  I bet that’s where we would have gone for a fish lunch. 

We started driving again.  There was a synagogue Mickey wanted to take us to.  Two kids were going inside.  She talked to them.  It was closed, but she said somebody was coming.  The kids came back.  I guess the man wasn’t coming to let us in. 

The driver drove us back to the port.  I wish there hadn’t be a holiday, maybe we would have actually gone to a couple Jewish sites.  Ivan and I both felt that we didn’t really go anywhere on the tour.   I think Mickey should have planned the tour more since many things were closed due to the Jewish holiday.

We got back on the boat.  Ivan and I chilled out in the jacuzzi.

Later that night, we headed to the Grand Pacific for dinner.  Lil Dave got a banana salad with a banana kebab.   Ivan and I enjoyed the tortilla soup and a crab cake.  For the main course, we both got the eggplant parmesan.  The soup and crab cake were great, but the parmesan was only okay. 

We decided to skip the show tonight which was just another boring singer.

Ivan and I watched an episode of Luther before getting some rest.

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