Continuing on after the duology of Akko posts…
We reached Rosh HaNikra after a tranquil taxi ride up the coastal road, in the quiet stretch between Nahariya – the last of the coastal cities going north – and the Israel-Lebanon border. The taxi took us to the attraction site so when we got out of the car, this was the magnificent view that our eyes beheld – the Western Galilee coastline:
We decided to first go see the border and then to ride the cable car. Now, the actual border is not accessible to civilians – an army base stands there, constantly protecting. But there still is a sign welcoming everyone to the border crossing:
And there is also a special wall showing the distances to the respective capital cities of Israel and Lebanon: Jerusalem and Beirut. Here’s me, at the border crossing:
Okay, enough with the border. As we walked back to the staging area for the cable car, here is a “close-up” of the Navy vessel (of which there is always one moored at the border, keeping vigil) and the Achziv Islands. One of the coolest things about the islands is that they are mentioned some 2,000 years ago in the Talmud as being part of the historical border of Israel. I remember learning about the islands that were mentioned and having a discussion in class where we argued that the islands must be referring to Cyprus because, back in Detroit, we didn’t even know that the Achziv Islands existed. Now that I live here… everything becomes so much more clear.
As soon as we stepped into the swaying cable car, and the little “craft” was filled, the operator released us and we plunged over the side of the cliff. The cable car at Rosh HaNikra happens to be the steepest cable car in the world – dropping/climbing 70 metres at the steep angle of 60 degrees.
When we “landed” at the bottom, we got out and I photographed one of the two cable cars going back up the cliff:
Entering the grottos, the caves and tunnels carved out by the raging seawater, we were greeted by these fascinating views as seen from inside the cliff. Some of the walkways were slippery from the drippy internal climate and the echoing shrieks of bats roosting high up in the cracks were audible through the sounds of the waves crashing inside.
Upon exiting the labyrinth of tunnels carved out in the soft chalky rock, we emerged at a beautiful site where the sea crashed against the blinding white rock:
As we walked along the rock, the countless chunks of gleaming flint buried in the chalky stone, the beauty of the site constantly flaunting itself with every turn. Here is a view from the walk on the rock, looking northwards to the edge of the army base where constant vigilance in demanded:
After finishing the grottos we examined the old British tunnel where the Mandate Government dug through the rock to create a railroad line that connected the Middle East with Europe. In 1948 the Haganah (Jewish resistance group) blew up the bridge that was constructed just outside the end of the train tunnel to prevent the Lebanese from re-supplying the local Arabs who were battling the Jews just after the declaration of the State of Israel. It was a daring operation but it may have helped save the Galilee and Haifa from the hands of the enemy. Today they rebuilt the bridge, no longer concerned about the Lebanese using it, and some of the railroad is still visible in the long gloomy tunnel.
After trying some sample passion-fruit offered by a vendor selling the crop of the neighbouring village of Rosh HaNikra we entered the light-and-sound show, an audio-visual screening with added sensory features. The video explained the history of the site and the semi-recent Haganah operation, complete with fans and little sprinklings of water to further embellish the story of sea and rock and their timeless dance.
After leaving the site we took a bus to Nahariya and had dinner. Then I took my tour guest back to where she needed to be and headed home. As I alighted the bus near my house I heard the familiar sounds of Kobi Peretz crooning. Seeing that I was not entirely late to his show, celebrating the opening of a new mall just down the road in Ma’alot, I headed on over, checked out the new mall and caught a few songs before retiring to my home to end the long day. Here he is again, Kobi Peretz, forever entertaining the inhabitants of Ma’alot with his music: