Who wouldn’t want to travel with Ulfat Haider and climb snowy mountains in the heat of the summer? But we’re staying put, and despite the new isolation instructions it’s still quite possible to travel and go on interesting tours. I collected a few ideas for meaningful trips that are connected to our ideology of a shared life.
For example, you can travel to Jerusalem (which is oftentimes a little cooler in the summer) for a journey between worlds: coexistence and hospitality in the Muslim Quarter. The trip is guided by David Bar, a licensed tour guide, who promises to lead to the unknown places, a unique inside look at coexistence amongst conflicting narratives in the Muslim Quarter and a close look at the Muslim quarter’s unique sites. The trip includes visiting both a Muslim and a Jewish family who live in the quarter.
Hadas offers a different urban tour, one of multicultural Jaffa. The tour exposes you to diverse and fascinating cultures, and you also meet local intellectuals, for example a Sufi Sheikh, a Jewish priest, and learn about Scientology, its principles, beliefs, way of life, all of which may give you a new perspective on Jaffa. This would be appropriate for people who are open to listening, and who alongside history, spirit, culture and local cuisine also like a good wander.
But maybe you’d rather have a completely autonomous trip set at your own pace, utilizing an app on your phone without a physical guide. If so, there’s a tour of Jaffa done through characters. Appropriate for 3-4 participants who can download the tour to their phones.
Maybe you’d rather visit Druze villages in the North, in which case you could join tour guide Halabi, Ibtisam, a licensed tour guide from Daliyat al-Karmel who’ll take you on authentic, interesting tours of Druze villages, different from anything you’ve ever experienced. Ibtisam promises to let you into the homes and yards of local inhabitants. A tour which includes many tastings. Or maybe you’d prefer to join Ibtisam on a visit to Isfiya, to hear stories about Isfiya’s past and the connection between Druze village Isfiya and a synagogue and the treasure of the temple. You’ll hear all about the mixed village including Druze, Christians, Muslims and Jews all living in peaceful harmony.
Alon Maklada, a Druze from Daliyat al-Karmel village, is a licensed and experienced tour guide specializing in community, nature and Druze village tours in the Galilee and Carmel regions, invites you to tour beautiful, hidden places that you’ve never heard of. Alon promises his hikers will be welcomed into peoples’ yards and a taste of a traditional, celebratory dessert.
Speaking of food, if you prefer a tastings’ tour (even though I have a history with The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel…I too sometimes feel like going on a food tour), so I found Lin Levy, a food journalist who likes to try dishes from different cultures. Join her for a food tour of the Druze villages Jat and Yanuh. Jat and Yanuh are neighboring Druze villages who share the same local council. They are located at a high elevation and the view from anywhere in the villages is breathtaking. The villages host many great cooks, lovely Druze women who are Lin’s friends and welcome you into their homes or home-restaurants. Between bites, they’ll tell fascinating stories about themselves, about empowerment and about woman power.
Another option is a food tour of Julis and Yarka, both stunning Druze villages. In Julis you’ll visit a magical culinary gem run by a lady who broke all the stereotypes and lives a daily life of female empowerment. In Yarka you’ll also visit a special place that offers Kanafeh and Baklava that isn’t offered anywhere else in Israel, also, of course, run be a woman.
Evening and night tours are also very convenient for the hot summer, so here are a few options that may suit. My family and I joined a tour run by ‘Shared Paths’ association and had a wonderful time. They offer a few evening tours, for example, a moonlight stroll through Shefaram. Following a summertime dinner and a lecture on the Hijri-Muslim calendar and its connection with the phases of the moon, an enriching discussion with family members (at Setti House) who introduce you to Shfaram. Or you could take a moonlit tour of Jaljulia which will also include a light meal at the home of Manel and Raaid who will also share their recipes. Yet another option is a sunset tour of the lovely seaside fishing village at Jisr az-Zarqa in which you climb the hill overlooking the region. If you’re still looking for a food tour, but in the evening, you can join Ram, who besides being a licensed tour guide is also a PhD candidate at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Brain and Learning Disabilities Research at Haifa University. This is a special sunset tour involving culture, history and food at one of the most beautiful villages in the Galilee, Mi’ilya village. The tour will demonstrate a successful integration of the old and the new, how beautiful Roman, Crusader and Ottoman ruins are incorporated into modern design and architecture. You will also learn about the village’s ancient agricultural traditions and how they’ve taken interesting and surprising turns. You will also be sampling the village’s unique products, excellent boutique wine alongside local cheeses, a local Arak distillery will provide a taste that will warm up your throat, and finally some tastings from a chef’s restaurant that will make you feel like you’re abroad.
So, all that’s left is to ask you to share with me which tour you choose and how it goes through the comments below or by email/phone. Waiting to hear from you. And for convenience’s sake, here’s an organized list of the options I’ve written about*–
- Jerusalem, a journey between worlds. Coexistence and hospitality in the Muslim Quarter.
- Tour and meet spiritual people in ancient, culturally diverse Jaffa
- Tour Jaffa autonomously with an application
Druze village tours:
- Tour Daliyat al-Karmel with Halabi Ibtisam
- Tour Daliyat al-Karmel with Alon Makada, a native of the village
- Guided tour of Isfiya
Combined evening and food tour:
*Be sure to check in advance whether the tours are also available in English