Today was our last day in the North of Israel, a day packed with adventure and action! After a delicious Israeli breakfast, we boarded the busses for Kibbutz "Misgav-Am," and heard from Arieh Ben-Yaakov, a man who has been a permanent resident of the Kibbutz since 1961- that's 54 years! The Kibbutz is on the mountain of Naftali and is very unique, not like any ordinary Kibbutz. It's geographic location of being on the border of Lebonon and Syria causes much tension, however, Arieh's passion and firm belief in Am Yisrael is what keeps him living where he does. Hearing him speak about his personal opinion on the Middle Eastern conflict was truly engaging, and encouraged us all to think about our own interpretation of the situation. Furthermore, we found it inspiring to listen to him, as he was an 'Oleh,' an immigrant, about 55 years ago, hence he was able to present a viewpoint not only as an Israeli, but as an American citizen as well.
After a short bus ride, we did an hour and a half hike at the Suspended Trail at Banias, one of the most beautiful tracks in Israel. Along the trail were unique plants, rocks and a gorgeous water stream at the end. We walked downhill in a green forest, which overlooked the mountains of Hermon, the highest mountain of Israel, while we heard the sound of the water flowing down the Banias river. Our final view was majestic, a large waterfall with crystal clear water. The nature in the Banias reserve was just beautiful. To top it off, the weather was perfect with clear skies. It felt like summer. The hike brought a sense of peace, and the views were so calming. At the end of the hike, many of us bought ice blocks to cool down and refresh.
When we arrived at Achula Valley, we had a short lunch on picnic benches next to the bicycle hire kiosk. When we finally got our gear together and were set off on our bikes, we began our ride through the magnificent valley with breathtaking views. Imagine gliding along a path, with mountains, trees and greenery in the lookout, with an absolutely perfect breeze. You can hear birds chirping happily while watching them fly in groups across the sky. You're on your bike, sharing this beautiful moment with all your friends... Truly a blessing!
Along the way I saw two wild Boars. They are the largest wild mammals in Israel and can reach up to 200 kilos! We stopped at a lake for a break- it was so clear that you could see the reflection of the clouds and the mountains which were in the distance. Towards the end of the ride, the sun was gradually starting to set, which really set the mood, and added to the atmosphere. Bike riding through the Achula Valley was most definitely a highlight of my trip so far.
When we finished bike riding, we went on a 3 hour bus ride back to Jerusalem.
Over the last few days, I have realised how lucky I am to have been given the opportunity to do such extraordinary, adventurous and beautiful activities during this 6 week journey, and I can't wait to see what comes next!