zaterdag 30 november 2013

30th November, Shabbat, Akko, Ivar Lokhorst

30th November, Shabbat, Akko, Ivar Lokhorst

The fourth official day of the Wetskills program, and our free day for its Shabbat. Shabbat is the weekly day of for the Jewish, and therefore nearly the entire city is shut down. Shops close, busses are out of order and working is really not done. Today everyone was able to do whatever he wanted, but most of us went to Akko, a harbour village close to Haifa.

At 10 am seven of us left for Akko, and three decided to stay in the area. Because it’s Shabbat most busses were out of order, and only the Arabic ones could bring us to Akko. After sunbathing at the bus stop for half an hour the bus finally appeared and we headed off to downtown Haifa where we could switch to a minibus that could take us to Akko. The minibus drives a fixed route, but it’s possible to hop on and off wherever you want. Whenever we hop off we realise Akko is way larger than expected and that we might probably not have seen all of it before half past two.

We started with an original Turkish coffee at the cosiest place in town, an original style coffee house, with pillows all over the place. The first people were already enjoying their nagila, which is the Hebrew word for shisha. Unfortunately we all had to agree we did not like the coffee, both due to a large amount of sugar and due to the cardamom on the bottom that some of us accidently drink. The resulting faces on the other hand were fabulous. After a short walk through the souq (a market) we went to the Al-Djazzar mosque. The Al-Djazzar mosque was an oasis of peace and for some of us had never visited a mosque before it was a quite special experience. The Citadel unfortunately only sold combination tickets for several of the touristic attractions and since we had little time to visit them both we decide not to enter it. The gardens surrounding the citadel were wonderful though. Due to the gigantic rainforest-like trees the entire area was covered in shadow and cool, which was quite pleasant after a hot morning.

Lunch time: The lunches here in Israel remain an interesting experience, though the Israeli all have a normal posture, the little restaurants keep feeding us so much we are almost exploding. After enjoying pine Humus, falafel, and other typical dishes accompanied with loads of pita we continued our way through the bazaar. The bazaar sells products of all different kinds, ranging from fish to authentic music instruments and tourist hats. The bazaar ended at the harbour where a lot of (poorly maintained) ships are situated. After the harbour visit, we split up and half of the group went back to Haifa. The other half actually run into a protest against the Israeli plan to move the Bedouins into towns, but luckily they did not have any serious trouble, and it was actually an exciting story.

Once everyone got back to the guesthouse we went for dinner. We found a small restaurant close to the campus which sold typical Israeli dishes like “pasta Galilea”. Here we truly discovered the extraordinary eating skills of one of our group members, who seems to be never satisfied, but his/her name will not be mentioned.

 At the end of the very relaxed day most of us went to bed early because tomorrow the program’s getting more serious and we will start working on the different case studies. 

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