Two days out and about for a drive through the Golan Heights (the contested area that Syria wants back), around the Sea of Galilee (which is the biggest body of fresh water in the country, but isn’t actually that big), to the Jordan River and back to the beach through the lower Galilee, an arable area, brown and hot and full of palm plantations, olive groves and ploughed fields.
Some reminders that this is Israel: a UN vehicle and mine warnings. Apparently the areas have been cleared but the military is not 100% sure that all mines have been deactivated so they just fenced off the land and put up warning signs.
A pool built for Syrian officers. As Pele tells it, there was a highly placed Israeli spy in the Syrian military who convinced the Syrians to plant Eucalyptus trees around their pools to hide them from the Israelis. However, Eucalyptus trees are not indigenous to Israel, and the Golan area is far pretty bare from trees, so the pools were easily identifiable to the Israelis and therefore easy to conquer. This bunch of boys were out for a camping trip, which you can do anywhere really, no need to find a campsite and pay.
A gazillion catfish! They thrive in the Jordan River because no one catches them because they’re not kosher (they don’t have scales) and they’re eug. I’m very glad I swam before I saw just how many fishies we attracted with our leftover bread.
The night in the tent was balmy and our sleep restful, disturbed only by some fighting mongooses (they are HUGE here), a few hoarsely baying donkeys, a pack of screaming hyenas and some very annoying mosquitoes. The morning dawned bright and beautiful and got hotter and hotter so we opted for a return to the beach, this time to a private one north of Narahiya (12 shekels entrance), with a walk to the lagoons in the national park (33 shekels entrance if you go in the gate, free if you walk 100m or so along the beach).