Day 23: Exploring NW Israel; Acre, Nahariya, & the Grottoes at the Lebanon Border!

Day 23: Exploring NW Israel; Acre, Nahariya, and the Rosh Hanikra Grottoes at the Lebanon Border!

Move—Out Day; Moving—On Day after two nights in the luxurious ‘Penthouse on top of a Palace’ in Cana! First though I have to pay my parking ticket! So off I go to find the DMV! LOL, no DMV in Israel! Sort of a Ground Hog Movie sort of day but this time I pass by Mash’had on my way up the hill out of Cana to the South.

Today I see a sign that I did not see yesterday—Nazareth Illit—New Nazareth which is evidently a planned Israeli community on top of the hill overlooking Cana. I find the City Hall. A nice guy I met in the parking lot walks me. I don’t really understand what he is saying but show him my parking ticket with the address of City Hall on it. The people in City Hall explain to me that folks in Israel do not pay their parking tickets at City Hall, they pay them at the Post Office!

So the adventure continues. People are out walking, I am taking my pictures, minding my own business, driving along a nice parkway and trying to find the Post Office of New Nazareth to pay my parking ticket! Then I get pulled over by Israeli Police. I play tourist surprised that one cannot be taking pictures while driving along. I plead my ignorance, they let me go and give me better directions to the elusive Nazareth Post Office. Imagine that almost got another ticket while trying to pay the first ticket. At least I know better now that parking at the McDonald’s in New Nazareth is not free! Things have changed since the days of Jesus! I probably would have been stoned by now and I do not mean happily being on morphine when I check out of this world!

I recognize the neighborhood where I am and see the dome of the Church of the Annunciation where Mary learned that she was to me the Mother of Jesus. I go around the traffic circle with the fountain in it a couple of times for good luck and to get me headed back in the right direction! I park and pay and go into the Post Office. All business, no opportunity to plead my case that parking directly outside a McDonald’s anywhere in the world should be free! I pay the fine and can no longer recall the amount though it was substantial for a parking ticket.

Now I am heading out of Nazareth serious about the day’s mission of exploration—visit the Baháʼí World Centre, the home office of the Faith (versus earlier visiting the Baháʼí Garden in Haifa) and venture all the way North to the Israel border with Lebanon to see what I could see! The Seeker went around the next corner to see what he could see!

On the way to Acre I saw an exit sign for Kefar Masaryk. Masaryk is a name familiar to me from my Czechoslovakian heritage. Sure enough the founders were Jewish immigrants from Czechoslovakia and Lithuania, who settled in Israel in 1932. In 1940 the kibbutz moved to its present site and was renamed Kefar Masaryk after Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, the first President of Czechoslovakia! Definitely a stop on my next visit to Israel with the home of finding some tasty kolachi!

I exited Highway 22 at the Akko East exit which is Hebrew for Acre. Winding through nice neighborhoods I arrived at the Shrine and Mansion of Baháʼu’lláhm the final resting place of the Founder of the Baháʼí Faith. This is the most holy spot for Baháʼís in the entire world! Only about 20 miles from the beautiful Baháʼí Gardens in Haifa, these grounds are as incredibly manicured as well.

After I paid my respects to Baháʼu’lláhm inside his shrine and toured the lovely gardens I headed west to Mediterranean Sea and then North to the Lebanon border. The drive north was only about 15 miles. Everything is close by in the Middle East, at least in the western portion of the Middle East!

I found myself passing through Nahariya, the northernmost coastal city in Israel. This is a resort town with the slogan “The Resort for Fun Lovers!” Isn’t that the opposite of an oxymoron? Nice downtown area with people eating outside. I see my favorite restaurant—Aroma’s Cafe—the Hebrew version so I stop for a latte and lunch and to enjoy the ambiance!

Keeping the sea on my left I head North to meet Lebanon. Some countries are divided by rivers, Israel and Lebanon by a mountain ridge with communication towers on top. Like Syria there really is no border here with Lebanon. There is no border crossing only a road I dared not to venture up with a sign saying “Border Ahead, No Entrance.” Not very welcoming but at least no lethal hazard statement.

Interesting enough up ahead in the other direction, towards the sea, it appears t be some sort of scenic lookout so this is the direction I decide to continue on a bit. Signs of welcoming lead me to the Rosh Hanikra Grottoes, a tourist destination! I pay the entrance fee, take a very short gondola-like ride down to sea level and go inside the Big Grotto.

The posted Biblical Warning sign, the first I have seen in life, reads:

Above the voices of many waters, the mighty breakers of the sea, The LORD on high is mighty.”—Psalm 93:4

Fortunately part of the Big Grotto was closed or my curiosity may have gotten me swept out to sea!

CLICK HERE for VIDEO of the Gondola Ride Down to the Rosh Hanikra Grottoes!

CLICK HERE for VIDEO of The Biblical Surge INSIDE the Rosh Hanikra Grottoes!

CLICK HERE for VIDEO of the Inside the Hole at the Rosh Hanikra Grottoes!

CLICK HERE for VIDEO of The Biblical Surge OUTSIDE the Rosh Hanikra Grottoes!

What a beautiful find right there at the Israel Border with Lebanon—the Rosh Hanikra Grottoes.

I decided to take a ride east, as North as possible, through the mountains back to Safed. When I was there two days ago I did not have a copy of my books for Rabbi Leiter who runs the Ascent School. Only 30 or so miles but because of the terrain it would take an hour or so. Once there I dropped off the inscribed books and took the main road 85 back west to the Mediterranean Coast.

As it turns out my timing was perfect to have a latte and catch the sunset at the beach in Acre. A spectacular sunset I may add and sort of a celebratory one too! I would be leaving in less than a week and spending three nights in the Old City of Jerusalem. For the most part, I knew the cross-country trip to Safed would be my last open exploration in Israel. I had covered most of the country and gone to some distant parts such as the Golan Heights and Negev Desert. But I also knew my inner exploration was not over by a long shot as I would be living in the Old City with 20,000 other Christians, Jews, and Muslims for three nights!

On the beach in Acre I could see over to the North the ancient and biblical city of Old Acre. Sure to be fascinating, I added it to the list of things to see and experience for my next Spiritual Journey to Israel and Palestine!

After finding my bed in Haifa, I celebrated with one of my favorite dinners—Parma Eggplant Lasagna—at the Santa Maria Cafe near the Stella Maris Cathedral!

What a day and it all started with me paying my parking ticket at the Post Office in Nazareth! TROML Baby (an Exclamation of Joy & Gratitude)!!!

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