We started our day with a typical Israeli breakfast at the zimmer. Israeli breakfasts are made up of various salads, cheeses, fish, bread, and the ubiquitous cucumbers & tomatoes. Our hosts also served pancakes and eggs to order. This is close to Sarah’s idea of a perfect meal, but its not really Roy’s thing. He was a good sport, though, & tried everything. Martha & Sidney would have loved Roy at this age. We’re talking smoked fish here, people.

After breakfast our adventures in the Golan continued. Since we drove into the Golan at night, we didn’t get our first impression of the view until we set out Friday. One of the first sights we saw was the stunning Nimrod’s Fortress. That tour will have to happen on another trip.

Nimrod's Fortress

Soon after, on the side of the road we saw a farm stand and a Druze bubbie (or whatever the Druze term is) cooking over a special oven called a taboon. It looks like an upside-down wok and is used to bake Druze pita, which is more crepe-like than standard pita. There is a woman who makes it at a table in our local mall on Fri. afternoons, so we’d had it before, but Noah wasn’t with us, so this was his first taste. The pita is filled with labneh, olive oil & za’atar. We took 2 to go to eat later on our hike. At the farm stand, we bought local Golan honey, olive oil & cherry preserves. They also had carob syrup, which we were tempted to buy, but the farmer couldn’t tell us how to cook with it, only that it was medicine – take a spoonful every day to stay healthy. We should have bought some anyway & figured out how to use it. Next time.

Back on track, out next stop was the Hermon Stream Nature Reserve. In this park, we hiked along the Banias river, from the springs, which are the source of the river, to the Banias waterfalls. The water flows so forcefully and down so steeply that it has carved out a canyon and results in waterfalls, which one of the guides told us are a major “attraction” in Israel, given the scarcity of water. We saw several pilgrims filling their bottles with water from the Banias and learned that it is one of the sources of the Jordan, so is considered by some to be a kind of holy water.

Old Roman bridge along the Banias

Alongside the Banias River

Haffaf fish in the Banias

Hiking down to the Banias waterfalls

Saj lunch on the shores of the Banias River

He climbed the rocks near the waterfalls all by himself.

Our next stop of the day was the Senir Stream (Hatzbani in Arabic) Nature Reserve. This stream is the other source of the Jordan. This park featured another hike, but unlike our previous hikes, part of the hike went through the water.

Stream hiking in the Senir River

The park offered 3 trails: short, intermediate, and long. We started with the intermediate, which was a loop trail recommended for ages 6 and up and supposed to take 30 mins. We thought that if it was challenging for Noah, we’d have a nice hike. Instead, it was a piece of cake. Maybe it is intended for 6-yr-olds who are used to riding in cars all the time – not city boys who walk everywhere. So, we did the long trail too!

Stream hiking in the Senir River

Noah was amazing. He loved scampering over the rocks and “teaching” us where we should place our hands and feet. In one section of the trail, hand holds are embedded in the rock where the path is very narrow and steep. No problem with one of us ahead of him and another behind.

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