Shalom and Welcome to this week’s In Israel Blog
Over the last month or so we have enjoyed a real winter, with many consecutive days of rain, wind and cold. There has been some impressive snow on the Hermon, and after a false alarm there was even a very modest white dusting in Jerusalem for a few hours.
The rain has done the trick and the Kinneret has been rising steadily. Regular In Israel readers are familiar with the importance of the level of the Kinneret as a national pastime; just like checking the sports’ results. In some ways the level of the Kinneret acts as a sort of Israel mood barometer! In the last month the Kinneret has risen just over a meter and is now at its highest level in over 4 years; roughly back to where it was at the end of the summer of 2007. The winter is not yet over and there should be plenty of snow melt and full streams adding more water over the next few weeks. Another 3m are needed until the Kinneret is officially “full.” Last week I drove down to the Kinneret from the Galilee and the improvement is already clearly observable.
It is often said that the desert blooms and comes alive after the rain. Often this is reflected in some amazing plants that sprout amongst the rocks. This year, doubtless due to the rain there are some really impressive views especially along Route 90 south of Bet Shean. See the Desert Blooms album.
This coming Friday is the Jerusalem Marathon; and the outlook is for a cold and wet morning. Cooler weather, suits the runners, but don’t let the weather put you off if you are planning to come and support the runners – this is a tough course and we need all the help that we can get!
The route starts at the Knesset/Israel Museum and takes in the center of town (King George/Jaffa) and then goes through the Old City (Jaffa Gate – Zion Gate) and then the formidable climb out of Gai Ben Hinom (Gehenom or Hell!) The Jerusalem Marathon route continues through Talbiya towards the President’s Residence. 10K runners head towards the finish line in Gan Sacher whilst the half marathon runs along Emek Refaim, the new train path towards the Old Railway station and then the Jerusalem Tayelet. The full marathon is based on this route but includes Mt Scopus and a few extras. The slogan of the marathon is that it is breathtaking – the route includes almost all the main views of Jerusalem and is extremely hilly so breathtaking twice over! Good luck to all the runners! The Tel Aviv Marathon is coming up in a couple of weeks – see Israeli Marathon Time.
Elsewhere in Jerusalem the Jerusalem City of Ice has just opened at the renovated Old Train Station site. It follows on from last year’s successful temporary ice rink. It includes four themed zones of ice sculptures including one of Jerusalem, a refreshment area, an ice rink and an interactive exhibit. It runs until the end of April.
Purim was a long weekend, with unusually great weather ideal for parties, parades and some spring walking at the spring time beauty spots. Next up is Pesach (Passover), the shops are already stocking up on cleaning essentials ready for the big spring clean that comes before Pesach. Here at IsraelInsideOut.com we will be publishing our list of Pesach Events nearer the festival.
This week’s recommendations for getting out and about are for anywhere where you can enjoy the spring flowers! The streams of the Golan are full, the ski site on Hermon is popular with skiers and non active snow lovers alike. (See our Snow in the Galilee & Golan album courtesy of our friends at A Cottage by the Steam – Country Lodging in Kiryat Shemona – one of IsraelInsideOut’s voucher partners.)
Two of our favorites are Mt Gilboa and Mt Tavor which offer stunning views and an abundance of flowers and nature. If you can’t get there but happen to be in Jerusalem then make your way to Emek HaMatzleva (Anemones in Emek HaMatzleva (Valley of the Cross) – Spring 2012)
Le’Hitraot from Jerusalem