Shalom and Welcome to this week’s In Israel Blog
Pesach (Passover) is over all good things come to an end. As expected there were tourists and locals everywhere, the restaurants were busy and there were the expected traffic jams. The national parks and nature reserves also reported impressive visitor numbers, amongst the popular ones were Masada & Caesarea. Judging by the number of people in Jerusalem’s Emek Refaim last night everybody had been starving – which of course defies the crowds in restaurants, shops and picnic spots over the previous week. Surprisingly, the weather was for the most part excellent for touring although it was probably too chilly (and also on Friday too wet) for some serious sun worship.
Mostly, the impression was of lots and lots of people having a good time seeing different places in Israel.
The Israel Inside Out team did our fair share of touring including Nahal Basor in the South and Ein Hemed near Jerusalem. Facebook users also have the opportunity to take part in our poll as to where you visited over the holiday – Facebook Poll. My personal discovery was the new Jerusalem Park located in the valley between Motza & Jerusalem adjacent to and under the main Jerusalem Tel Aviv highway. Time and weather constraints meant that I need to go back and do some more exploring is required, and a full report will appear on the site very soon.
We took part in a family orienteering (navigation) experience and there was an impressive demo and explanation of bird ringing by the Jerusalem Bird Observatory, together with a children’s theatre and arts and craft project. This type of thing is very typical for a “happening” in one of the national parks and is a frequent feature over peak seasons.
As Pesach fades into memory – we are starting to gear up for the next 2 weeks – Holocaust Memorial Day (Monday 2nd May) and then Yom HaZikaron & Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Fallen Soldiers and Israel Independence Day) the following Monday & Tuesday (9th & 10th May.) As soon as Passover was over the car flag sellers staked their claim to every junction and traffic light, larger flags adorn public buildings and highway bridges and the signs have started to appear with information about local community events to mark these occasions.
On to other news – in the end the scheduled first passenger journeys on the Jerusalem Light Railway were delayed probably to sometime next month. The Bahai Temple in Haifa has just completed the two and a half year renovation of its golden dome and the covers were removed at first light a couple of weeks ago. The Golan Winery won the Grand Gold Medal at the recent Vinitaly 2011 competition. It was reported that in Kiryat Shemona the Ein Zahav stream will flow again all year round, due to environmental pressure to prevent the water diversion methods of the last few summers. (See Kiryat Shemona article)
For a while now we have all known that Tel Aviv is about to join the cities in the world with around 150 rental bike stations dotted all around the city. We have not seen an exact date but understand that the scheme will launch in the next few weeks. Tel Aviv is a perfect city for cycling – not just because it is flat, but, because it has developed paths for cyclists. Start planning your first trip at Cycling in Tel Aviv.
As mentioned we have seen some late rain over the last week – although we are now in the midst of a shaarav (very hot spell – often with oppressive muggy & smoggy conditions) although this is not the worst that we can expect during spring. There will be a few more periods of hot days followed by relative cool and the odd shower until the weather stabilizes into its summer routine.
Le’Hitraot from Jerusalem