Tag: travel

Feeding time is best time to visit Coral World

At 3 on a typical afternoon at Coral World here, a diver descends into the shallow, sunlight-dappled water surrounding the underwater observatory and distributes lunch to hundreds of exotic fish that circle him. Just a few feet away, on the other side of the glass, a crowd of spectators also circle as they watch the…

Close encounters with the wildlife of Alberta

Last winter (2003), it was my pleasure to travel through the Canadian Rockies in the company of a wonderful guide, Ian Hipkins. A transplanted Montrealer, Hipkins has lived around the mountains of Alberta for nearly 20 years, and has climbed nearly every Canadian peak between Calgary and the Pacific. One clear crisp morning, we set…

New museum houses the Jesus Boat

Yuval Lufan has the craggy face and rough hands of a fisherman who goes out onto the Sea of Galilee nightly with lanterns that attract the fish into his nets. Born on the shores of the lake about 50 years ago, he says he has dreamed since he was a boy of finding a significant…

Travel: Bird-watching in Eilat, Israel

Dr. Reuven Yosef, one of Israel’s best-known ornithologists, has won a $25,000 (US) enterprise award from the Rolex Watch Company for transforming a garbage dump into a bird sanctuary outside the burgeoning tourist resort of Eilat on Israel’s 11-km-long strip of Red Sea coast. Born in India, Yosef came to Israel at the age of…

War of 1812 replayed at Backhouse Conservation Area

Painted a bright red, the 201-year-old John C. Backhouse Mill seems as conspicuous against its background of grass and trees as the British Redcoats must have been when engaged in combat with the Americans during the War of 1812. A historic property that was restored to pristine condition two years ago for its 200th anniversary,…

Descent into history: the Western Wall tunnels

Standing in an underground chamber boasting Roman pillars and cobblestones from Herodian times, the group of about 40 tourists in Jerusalem’s Western Wall tunnel, including myself, listened as the guide explained that we had reached the end of the tour and had to retrace our steps back some 450 meters to the entrance. This was…

Uncovering Spain’s Jewish past

A statue in the Plaza Mayor or main square of Trujillo, Spain, a well-preserved old town of 10,000 inhabitants, is dedicated to its most illustrious citizen, the conquistador Francisco Pizarro, conqueror of Peru. The Pizarro family built a handsome mansion in the Plaza Mayor about 1560. Its facade is decorated with carved images of the…

A visit to Zippori in Lower Galilee

The Talmud says that the town of Zippori, in the Lower Galilee northwest of Nazareth, was so named “because it is perched on the top of a mountain like a bird [zippor].” Also perched on this picturesque mountain, roughly 1,800 years ago, was the Sanhedrin, the grand rabbinic-judicial council of ancient Israel, whose head, Rabbi…

Another side of the Kinneret

“We’re just about to cross the River Jordan,” says our guide, Mike Rogoff, as our van approaches a bridge traversing a gulley of greenery. “So don’t blink and don’t sneeze, or you’ll miss it. This is not the St. Lawrence. The people who wrote those marvelous spirituals — ‘the River Jordan is deep and wide’…

Neot Kedumim: Biblical nature reserve

“A staff shall grow out of the trunk of Jesse, and an offshoot shall flourish from its roots.” — Isaiah 11:1. Multitudes of biblical and Talmudic-era plants grow at Neot Kedumim, a 625-acre nature reserve that was once so barren that its founder had to cart up topsoil from the valleys to cover the rocks…