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Our Magnificent Journey
Chapter 10
Israel, Paris


Carol and David and the ancient wall surrounding Old Jerusalem  

Day 18

Tel Aviv

Today, sadly, is our last day in the Land of Milk and Honey.


Shlomo and Sara picked us up at 8am. We drove north along the coast to Caesarea, built by Herod the Great in honor of his benefactor Octavius Caesar. We sat under some shady trees along the blue-green Mediterranean Sea and enjoyed a delicious breakfast of borekas (pastries), hard-boiled eggs, tomato and cucumber salad, juice, yogurt and coffee, all lovingly prepared by Sara and Shlomo.

Shlomo and Sara prepare breakfast in Caesarea
Shlomo, Sara, Carol and David along the Mediterranean Sea at Caesarea

After the wonderful breakfast by the sea, we spent a couple of interesting hours touring the ruins of ancient Caesarea, enjoying the cool gentle breezes coming off the Mediterranean.

Shlomo and David goofing off at Caesarea
Carol, Shlomo and Sara at Caesarea
Carol and Shlomo at Caesarea
An ultralight plane flying over the ruins at Caesarea
David and Shlomo at the ruins of Caesarea

Back in the car we continued north, past several kibbutzim, vast fields of sunflowers, and many Arab villages and vineyards, until we spied the Carmel Mountains in the distance.


Shlomo pointed out a memorial at a place along the coast where the Jewish immigrants and survivors were deposited from large ships after WWII and were held by the British in displaced persons camps.


Continuing north we passed many high-tech office buildings – Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google to name a few - on the southern edge of the port city of Haifa.


Passed the Naval Museum and the Naval Base where Shlomo served. Took photos of the Baha’i Gardens, the view of Haifa from high up the Carmel hill and Stella Maris, a church at the top. From high above the Baha’i Gardens we had a spectacular view of Haifa and the port. To the north is Acco and the Lebanese border.

The Baha'i Temple and gardens at Haifa
David and Carol, Shlomo and Sara, high above Haifa at the Baha'i Gardens

We strolled through the Haifa Arab Market in Vadi Nisnas where we stopped at a small falafel shop. We enjoyed the best falafel sandwich I have ever eaten.

Christian, Muslim and Jewish women portrayed on a sign at a sandwich shop in Vadi Nisnas in Haifa
Great falafel in Vadi Nisnas in Haifa

Back in the car for the ride south back to Tel Aviv, Carol and I were exhausted from the past weeks of adventures.


Shlomo and Sara dropped us off back at Hotel Miguel. Carol once more worked her magic packing our tons of stuff into two small carry-on suitcases. I stayed out of her way and napped.


As always, we are sad to be winding down another trip, but this time is especially emotional because not only are we leaving this unique country, with so many different flavors, so much importance politically, religiously and culturally, but more to the point, we are going to have to say Shalom to four people who we have come to love very much. Meira, Carmi, Shlomo and Sara will always be very close to our hearts even though they may be several thousand miles away. We have never experienced such hospitality, generosity and selflessness. We have been told that “it is the way of the Israelis,” but we know that we were treated so very special by four very special, beautiful human beings.


Packed and rested, we walked across Hayarkon Street to the famous restaurant Raphael (chef Raphael Cohen) in the King David Tower for our “Last Supper.” Shlomo, his beautiful bride Sara, their handsome son Yossi, our dear friends Meira and Carmi, and Carol and I had a fun and delicious dinner reliving the events of the past two weeks – we all crammed in so many adventures that these two weeks seem more like two months. We can’t believe how much of Israel that we have experienced in such a short amount of time.

Shlomo, Yossi, Sara, Carmi, Meira, Carol and David at dinner on our last night in Israel
Yossi enjoys his spaghetti

All of our prior trips have been about places. This trip has been the same in that respect, but the focus of this trip was definitely people: Meira, Carmi, Shlomo, Sara and their families. These magic connections and the love and respect we have in our hearts for these incredible people are difficult to describe in mere words, and saying our goodbyes tonight was tearful to say the least. We know that Meira and Carmi are coming to Tucson for a visit in October, and Shlomo promised us that he and Sara and Yossi will come in the not-too-distant future. We joyfully anticipate seeing all of our dear friends again, and we can only hope that we can share our little corner of the world with them as generously and selflessly as they have shared theirs with us.

Incredible sunset on our last evening in Israel

At 11:45pm, we finished packing for tomorrow’s flight to Paris and fell into bed reflecting on this most incredible chapter of Our Magnificent Journey.


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