A Visit To Haifa 12/23/09

We arose not so early and headed for the north Tel Aviv train station (University station). It would have been smooth sailing except that yours truly didn’t remember that the Nehariya train goes to Haifa, so I ignored the first train that would have gotten us there. An hour later we were on our way.

We arrived at Haifa to the breathtaking view up the steep hill of Mt. Carmel. We took a taxi to the top (pausing at the the Terra Santa monastery long enough to determine that it was closed) where we had the incredible views down of Yafe Nof (“Beautiful View”) Street. We entered the top of the Bahai Gardens (security guards very pleasant and helpful). But we could only descend two levels before a locked gate prevented further descent. As it turned out, the gardens are closed on Wednesdays. Another triumph of trip planning!

Undeterred, we headed off on Yafe Nof to Nasi Boulevard and ate lunch at the first clean looking Felafel store we got to (“David’s”) and it was the best we have had so far this trip. Lots of good, fresh salads and interesting sauces to add. From David’s, we took the Carmelit (Israel’s only “subway” which is more of an underground cable car) to the bottom of the hill. From there a taxi to the National Maritime Museum which hosted several good exhibits. Exiting the museum as it closed, we headed back up to the top of the hill–in fact, just a few steps from David’s–for a dinner at the Dante Alleghiri Italian Restaurant, recommended in Frommer’s Guide.

The food was as good as the guide book said and an excellent value. There was a delicious house made bread stuffed with vegetables. Terri had the market salad, salmon over gnocci and vegetables and a pear torte. I had a  beef carpaccio with arugala followed by steak with meat stuffed tortellini. Desert was hot cocoa cake topped with vanilla ice cream. Both of our meals were off the prix fixe menu for 90 NIS or about $25. Highly recommended!

After dinner we boarded the Carmelit for another trip down the hill. It was a nice little walk to the train station–this time we boarded the correct train. One almost misadventure–it wasn’t clear when we arrived at North Tel Aviv whether there were any buses still running! But we did get one of the last buses out of there and arrived home in good time.

All in all, a wonderful day!

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