Israel: Land of Diversity

Hedge arch in Akko Baha'i Gardens. Israel.

Take a seat and enjoy the view in the Baha’i Gardens in Akko, surrounding the Shrine of the Baha’ullah

I just finished guiding an American family for the past two weeks, and we traveled all over Israel. We left out the Negev (south) because it is too hot in the middle of August, but beyond that, we pretty much hit the rest of the country and got at least a taste of all of its diverse regions. I designed the itinerary, and when planning an itinerary of this nature, the main guiding principle is going to be geography, i.e. we visit things that are close together on a single day, and move from region to region in logical sequence. In this case, we basically made a circular route, heading from the airport to Tel Aviv, then up the coast, across the Galilee to the Golan Heights and Kineret region, down the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea, and then to Jerusalem and the Shefelah/Lowlands.

Of course, in designing such a tour, I also aim to present things that show various aspects of what this country has to offer. No one wants to spend two weeks seeing the same things over and over. But it wasn’t until I was on the tour with this family, a few days in, that it hit me just how diverse were the sites we were visiting. I know I’ve discussed Israel’s diversity before, but I was still impressed that we literally visited almost no sites that were redundant with each other.

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Israel Mystery Photo #5

Israel Mystery Photo

And now for something somewhat different...

Well, I suppose last week’s photo was more challenging. Only people from my class who were there with me recognized where the photo was taken. But that’s not all that surprising, considering that it is not a popular spot on the typical tourist trail.

As those who got it correct guessed, the photo was taken at the Mony Winery cellars, near Beit Shemesh. (There was one guess that said Mony Wineries, but gave the wrong location for it — half a point!) I’ll tell you a bit more about the winery and the cellars in a bit, but first I wanted to discuss this week’s photo. I decided to choose something from a place that my tour guide course did not visit, so that my classmates don’t have the edge in this one. That being said, however, it is a site that I really enjoy, and hope to take tourists to in the future.

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