I had been visiting a friend in Tel Aviv and the day before returning home I took the train to Haifa, Israel’s 3rd largest city after Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, built on the northern slope of Mount Carmel and known among others for its cultural and religious diversity, being home to Jews, Muslim, Christians and Druze.
The Israelis say that “Tel Aviv plays, Jerusalem prays and Haifa works“. But since working has not been my thing lately (neither has praying, but this is another story), I avoided the ugly port and the industrial zone on the eastern side and spent 4 hours in the quiet northern side and western edge of the city.
From the HaShmona station I walked through the German Colony to the Bahai Temple and Gardens, but at 13:30 only the lower gardens were still open. I took some street stairs somewhere in the area to go up the hill and view the city and its thousands solar water heaters from above. I cannot believe that a few months later, fire would make 80.000 of those people evacuate their apartments and leave more than 500 families homeless.
I then walked all the way down to the shore to get the aerial cable car and ride up to Mount Carmel, as my friend had suggested. I am happy the car was not operating that day due to repair work, as I took an absolutely amazing 5,3km walk (although in high heels) along the sea promenade instead…a couple of fishermen, a few stand up paddlers, the Mediterranean and I. Exactly what I needed after the crowds of Tel Aviv and the chaos in Jerusalem.
Nobody in the busy Carmel beach Resort seemed to know where the Hof HaCarmel was, apart from an old man in an expensive car who offered me money and a super nice transvestite who ran away as I was approaching him, but then came back and advised me to visit the Matam Technology Park before leaving.