Hey ya’ll! It is Sunday night, and instead of doing work I’m watching 30 rock on Netflix. Oh watch instantly, you are the downfall of all my schoolwork. Back to my favorite subject. ISRAEL. Ya’ll are probably sick about me talking about my trip, but I don’t care because it was the best trip EVER. Now it is time when the trip started to really pick up and we were doing amazing activity after amazing activity. It was like the crammed all the great stuff in the middle of the trip and put the just good stuff on the ends.
The fourth day we went on another hike. They sure do love hikes on birthright. This time it was more of a hike rather than just a walk up a big hill like at the Golan Heights. I didn’t bring my camera with me, so I have no photos of my own, but I just stalked one from facebook. It has a pretty epic photobomb in it too from a soldier.
Also before we went on the hike that morning our Israeli soldiers came to the hotel! We got 4 guys and 4 girls. Seriously some of the coolest people I have ever met. The reason birthright trips do this is because it allows us to understand that people our age in Israel have sort of a different life. Instead of going to college after high school, they go to the army and then college after if they want. Everyone is proud to serve in the Israeli honor because defending our Jewish state is a mitzvah.
Enough with that. Our next activity was going to a winery. Uh oh. College kids and alcohol. Probably not a good idea, but I think everyone handled themselves pretty well. First we got a brief history the Dalton winery and then we had a quick tour of the entire factory. Give me the booze please. I have a deep love for wine, so let me tell you this was one of the highlights of the trip. The chaperones warned us to not get out of control. We went into this smaller room with about 6 tables. My friends and I circled around one with one of the male Israeli soldiers and sat down for an epic wine tasting.
First we sampled a bottle white wine. It was delicious. I seriously should have bought about ten bottles to bring back. Although knowing me, I would have drank all of them before I left Israel. I like my booze. Next we got to sample a red wine. Most people poured their left over wine in the buckets on the table like you were supposed to, but my friends and I chugged each glass down like the classy people we are. Finally, the last wine was a light zinfandel. Delicious. It had a sort of sweet woody taste. I know it sounds weird, but it was really good. Everyone was feeling pretty good, especially because we hadn’t eaten in hours, but no one was drunk or tipsy really.
They did provide these little crackers on the table, but the guys pretty much ate all of them in about 1 minute. Thanks. After the tasting we were allowed to go into the shop for the winery. They had walls and walls with goodies. Not to mention tons of samples. This one man was giving samples of chocolate liquor. Oh god. This was seriously mind blowing. It came in milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate. I think I had about 10 shots of it. All the flavors were delicious. Then they had samples of various jams and marinades. My brother ended up getting a pear and wine jam, and I bought some gourmet chocolate. That was eaten in a flash. Unfortunately we had to leave the winery. I was pretty depressed because I wanted to be left there.
Next on the agenda was the old city of Tzfat. The name provided entertainment for the rest of the trip and still going on with people’s facebook album titles. This place was magical. Literally though it is where Kabbalah originated from. Maybe Madonna should visit because that is what everyone associates with it not the actual city of Tzfat. For lunch I had falafel. I forgot to take a picture of it, but it was SO FREAKING GOOD. Although it had tons of gluten in it and I ended up having stomach problems later, but totally worth it.
After we had lunch, we went on a tour around the city. Mainly we looked at old synagogues. At the first one we went to the owner was super cranky and wanted us to hurry through it. An interesting story about it is that during services on Saturday Shabbat, bombs were being dropped on tzfat and a shrapnel flew through the window, but it didn’t hit anyone because everyone was bending over in a specific prayer and it hit the bimah instead. What a miracle. Unfortunately, the next synagogue we tried to go into thought we were loud and obnoxious, so they told us to go away. How rude.
This guy was totally nuts. As we were walking down the street, he started screaming at us. Not mean things, but that he sold the best whatever he made in the entire world. The main reason I took this photo is because my best friend has this exact photo from two years ago when she went on Birthright. However, his food station did smell really good and I am kind of sad that I didn’t try out what he was making. It was sort of like a pizza, but on a pita or naan bread. He provided some great laughs though because he turned on some music and was making all of these funny faces at us and another group that had walked by.
Finally it was shopping time. The shops at Tzfat were so beautiful. I saw this painting in a window and it took my breath away. The colors that the artist achieved are amazing. I ended up buying a hamsah necklace. It is really unique, which is what I wanted because so many people just buy a traditional Jewish star and I don’t want to mark myself like that (not that I’m ashamed to be a Jew, but it just reminds me of the Holocaust and I would rather wear other symbols). All in all this was a really lovely day. We drove back to the hotel that evening, had dinner at the hotel (vomit), and had a special activity planned. We watched a variety of Israeli movies. They were some of the weirdest films I have ever seen in my entire life. One was sort of mafia style while the others were just plain odd. Afterwards, the soldiers had planned a special activity for us where they gave away some army gear through a game. It was pretty funny because people had to do certain challenges, and this one guy had to dance to oops I did it again by Britney Spears. I was in tears.
Have a great Sunday night!
Have you ever been to a winery?
What is your wine drinking etiquette? Favorite type of wine?