Israel’s Mediterranean coast

I am still amazed how close everything is in Israel. In a few hours you can go all the way up or down the coast from Tel Aviv. Caesarea is an hour north. It’s an old town dating back before Roman times that was turned into a fairly large city by the Herod.  Many large caverns open to the beach, ruins of Roman homes with mosaic floors,  a large marble terrace with columns,  a bathhouse with the remains of the underground steam heating system, and the obligatory hippodrome (U-shaped horse racing circuit with a side business of gladiator fights) and theater,  which is still used today. All that with beautiful views of the sea.

Next stop was Haifa. I found it rather boring,  and for some reason everybody I talked to was grumpy and unhelpful. I never found that bus that would take me north,  so in the end I went with a (grumpy) taxi driver.

Akko,  on the other side of the bay from Haifa, is the opposite. It has a stunning old town, a maze of ancient sandstone houses with a maze of narrow alleys,  arches,  vaults,  markets,  and tunnels. One of those,  the very long Templar Crusader tunnel, runs from the Templar’s main temple complex in the middle of the town to the sea. Most of it is still intact, with a few repairs done in modern times. Now I now why the Haifa are so grumpy: they’d rather live in Akko.