Monday, January 16, 2012

Sarah Cissan

Today was technically our second day in Haifa. It was absolutely amazing apart from the awful weather. It was raining on and off throughout the entire day. We started off the day with an amazing breakfast served on the staircase in the Gallery Hotel (Well, I was told it was amazing. I prefer sleep to food). After that we left the hotel at around 8:30. Way too early in my opinion. Our first stop was at the Baha'i World Center, where we learned about the Baha'i Faith. The Baha'i Faith is a religion that follows the prophet Baha'u'llah, and focuses on the unity of humankind. It's a monotheistic religion that prioritizes the good aspects in humans and looks to strengthening them. It was by far my favorite part of the day, coming from a family of Baha'is. Unfortunately we were unable to travel through the Baha'i gardens because of the rain. They were worried about people slipping on the rocks, so that was a huge disappointment for me.

Our second stop for the day was a mountain called Ladder of Tyre. (It is called Rosh Hanikra) It was one of the most beautiful natural figures I have ever seen. It bordered the Mediterranean Sea and was composed of a soft, light colored rock called Chalk. The part of the mountain that bordered the sea was full of steep and slippery cliffs. I looked down and all I saw were waves crashing against the rocks, leaving white foam in their wake. In the mountain were caves that we were able to explore. The Mediterranean had carved out these caves over millions of years and the result was absolutely beautiful. It was extremely slippery, and I nearly fell more than once (much to my embarrassment).

Afterwards we continued driving around various mountains, on our way to the kibbutz we were staying at. A kibbutz is a communal living center where everything is shared by the residents. Land, agriculture (and at one time, clothes) are shared. On our way to the kibbutz we drove along the Lebanese border. It was amazing, being able to look over a wire fence into another country. There were farms and animals on the other side. The only difference was that the mountains on the Lebanese side were rather bare compared to Israel’s. That’s because many of the mountains over there are used for grazing animals. Along the border we saw a United Nations station. It seemed old and run down. The flag was threadbare and the signs were worn away. The only hint that it was still in use was the man who walked out of the building.

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