Haifa and Northern Israel - Jill's Perspective
Haifa and the North were like a breath of fresh air for me coming off of Jerusalem and the heat of the Negev Desert. The north is hilly and lush, many trees and flowers, and hills. So many hills! The landscape changed so quickly that I was somewhat taken aback. Parts of Northern Israel started to remind me of some areas in Oregon or even Scotland and it felt really nice to see the shade of trees. I liked the colors of the desert and the various shapes of the rocks, but I think my heart belongs to the lush greens of trees and forested hills.
I really liked Haifa and loved that we used it as a base to navigate around Northern Israel. There's not really a ton to do in Haifa itself, but that's why you travel to the surrounding areas. The vibe in Haifa is a bit more of a laid back Tel Aviv and the people were super friendly. Driving was not nearly as frenetic as Jerusalem and without fail the drivers stopped for pedestrians in the cross walk! The service in the restaurants and at National Parks we went to was generally really good. I don't think we were told 'no' once!
There were several things I really loved about Northern Israel:
1. The Mediterranean Sea is right there and you pretty much can't escape it (not that you should ever want to) when you are in Haifa or Caesarea.
2. The hills. The hills made for some good cardio work and I think I was cursing their existence a few times as I huffed my way to one spot or another, but this made Haifa a beautiful city. Driving out in the hills is also really incredible and the approach to the Sea of Galilee was lovely.
3. The Ba'hai Gardens in Haifa. Much has been said about these beautiful gardens and how they are the focal point of Haifa. They are that indeed. They make the best use of the height of the hills as you stand and marvel at the 18 terraces and surrounding symmetrical greenery. It exudes tranquility, peace and beauty all times of the day. I loved that we walked by here multiple times a day to get back to our residence.
All in all, Haifa and the North were a great way for me to close out our trip to Israel. After not feeling very good about Jerusalem, I needed to have this kind of experience to cleanse my palate.
Haifa and Northern Israel - Zac's Perspective
For once in my life I have nothing to add. Jill said it all!