On Tuesday the 22 of March, I joined a one day guided tour to the Lower Galilee area, in the north of the country. It included , among other things, visits to a winery, a boutique olive oil press, a panoramic lookout , a cemetery, a former german Templers' settlement, a river and an adjacent park.
Morad Winery in Yokneam little town
In both places, at the winery (Morad Winery) and at the olive oil press (Galili Olive Oil) we came across happy founders (husband and wife) who had turned their hobby into a profession and got very successful.
The Visitors Center in those production facilities offered tastings of wine and liquers, olives and olive oil. It also gave visitors the chance to buy products and gift packages at discount prices.
wide selection of wines and liquers
wine gift packages
olive oil in tins and bottles,jars with olives, olive soapThe main attraction of the Zaid hill lookout is the bronze statue of the famous watchman Alexander Zaid on his horseback, gazing out over the valley that he used to patrol in the days of the pre-jewish state. It was fascinating to learn from the guide's lecture about Zaid's fearless personality, and the history of the place.
bronze statue of Alexander Zaid
At the 'Nahalal' cemetery we focused on four modest gravestones of two famous fathers and their sons : 1.Moshe Dayan, army general who at some point served as Defense Minister, and son Assaf, a very versatile person ( movie actor and director, writer of books, scripts, and newspaper columns); 2. Ilan Ramon, astronaut who died in the american Columbia space shuttle crash, and his son Assaf, fighter pilot whose jet crashed during an army exercise. There was great sadness in the air.
Bethlehem Haglilit, not far from the city of Nazareth, is a picturesque village with stone houses dating to its time as a templers' colony (first part of the 20th century). The place attracts many visitors, so it offers tourist services : bed and breakfast, visits to olive oil presses, spice gardens, cheese farms etc... A visit here usually brings up the question of which Bethlehem is the true birthplace of Jesus - Bethlehem of Galilee near Nazareth, or the accepted Betlehem , south of Jerusalem, in the West Bank.
the water and bell tower of Bethlehem of GalileeI didn't quite enjoy the last part of the tour - the visit to the Harod stream- as it got very windy in the area and I wished I was back on the bus. Anyway , the Harod river runs through fish ponds, water reservoirs, agricultural fields, and is the main drainage artery of the Harod Valley. There's an adjacent recreational park, Beit She'an National Park, with spots for picnics and restored ruins of the ancient city of Beit She'an.
sign indicating the stream, the park the bridges trail