Thursday, September 21, 2006


I just returned from a heavenly, 2 1/2- day, Israeli-style vacation in a "zimmer" (German for "room," referring basically to a cottage rental) in the north. I feel like a different person.

Thanks to the wonders of two online portals of Israeli guest houses, cottages, villas, etc., I found Villa Morgana, a secluded establishment with three guest suites in the small town of Yavna'el, a short drive south of Tiberias. Click here and take the bottom three "virtual tours" to see my room and the swimming pool. It reminded me of Enchanted April for its beauty, solitude, serenity, and its being called a Villa, though staying there did not result in any improvements in my love life, as far as I know.

I deliberately waited until September to take a vacation, in order to avoid the high season crowds of families whose kids are off from school. By the time September rolled around, I was frayed at the edges and in such desperate need of a real vacation (that is, not a trip to visit family, or a trip for work that involves taking notes about everything I do) that I was practically in tears from the anticipation. It's been two years since I've gone anywhere to relax.

I discovered that very few people are crazy enough (or flexible enough job-wise) to go away the week before Rosh Hashanah -- who goes away before Rosh Hashanah, instead of on Rosh Hashanah? -- so I could take my pick of places to stay. The owners of Villa Morgana gave me a fantastic rate based on my coming alone, and in the last minute. In fact, there was no one else there. I had the swimming pool, hammock, and tanning areas all to myself, as well as the jacuzzi in my bathroom. It. was. fantastic. Have you ever floated on your back in a pool, gazing up at millions of stars? Incredible. Just what the doctor ordered.

Yesterday I took the bus into Tiberias and went swimming for a bit in Lake Kinneret. The water was beautiful, but the beach is very rocky and I found getting into the water quite painful, slippery, and frightening. I was told that the other side of the lake has sandy beaches rather than rocky ones. Next time, I'll go with a friend, pack some sandwiches, splurge on a boat ride to the other side of the lake, and swim near those sandy shores.

I also walked around Tiberias quite a bit, taking note of things I'd like to look into doing the next time I go: The water park, the warm springs spa, and Decks - a meat restaurant directly on the Lake, known to be the best in Israel. I was told that it could cost me up to 250 NIS (about $55) for lunch, so I opted instead for Pagoda, an upscale chinese restaurant with a lake view and an excellent business lunch deal.

The best thing was coming back to the Villa and being able to get into the swimming pool within about 30 seconds. And the jacuzzi . . . oh, the jacuzzi . . . Today, I just lounged around, getting into the pool when I felt like it, getting out when I felt like it, sunning in the hammock . . .


(Cross-posted to Israelity.)

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