Lake of Galilee and Tiberius

This will be only a short post, since first, my stop there was short and second, it was rather disappointing. I was warned by Tobi and Vera in Haifa already, but still wanted to see the lake. So I took the bus and about 1,5 hs away from Haifa, I jumped into what I would call the tourist hell of Israel (at least of what I experienced during my trip).

The city of Tiberius is a small town with some main roads, where all the life takes place. Believe nothing for example Lonley planet is talking about. They discribe a lovely promenade, a wonderful view on the Golan heights and beaches all over the place. Ahm yes. I thought I could get there, take a walk around and find a beach to jump into the famous lake. Actually, if you really want to go swimming, you have to take a bus to go to the beaches. There was one swimming place described in walking distance but when I got there, it was closed and abandoned. Like most of the buildings around. There are masses of hotel ruins, huge, massive buildings, not finished, partly destroyed, all of them looking depressing. Even though I thought it might be interesting to take a look inside, I just tried to get back to downtown Tiberius as fast as possible. It was already early evening so it didn’t make sense to find a bus to go swimming. And I still believed that there is something to see, like Lonley planet told me.

The town itself is compact and filled with shops, bars and restaurants. If you want to find the described “sights” you really have to take a close look between the newer buildings made for tourists. Everything is stuck between large hotels. And yes, there is a promenade, but most of the time, there were only guys wanting to sell something to me: boat trips, banana boat rides, cheap jewelry or plastic toys, camel rides. In the evening it gets really lively there because all of the tourists (mostly Israeli people) get into town to go for dinner and drinks. It’s a little bit like the tourist places at the northern Italian riviera during the summer months. And yes, maybe you can see the Golan heights, but not during summer, since the air is not clear enough. You can only imagine it with some brownish-grey shapes at the horizon.

The best thing there was my dinner. I was looking around and refused to eat pizza, Chinese or something I can get everywhere. I found a nice looking restaurant where large Israeli families were eating and this seemed to be a good sign for me. Since I wanted something light, I ordered the salad platter. The waiter smiled at me and said, oh good choice, but I’ll bring you the small one. Believe me. What followed was a table full of small bowls and plates with absolutely delicious different vegetables, hummus, tahini and so on. Warm pita bread, a cold beer. I was in heaven and hardly could eat half of ot. It made me feel so much better after the disappointing afternoon.

I stayed at the Tiberius Hostel, in a single room with a perfectly working a/c and a cosy bed. The hostel is located on an ugly square close to the bus terminal. But that shouldn’t keep you from booking it, because inside, it looks modern, almost a bit Scandinavian. Most of the staff was nice too and I chilled out for the rest of the evening in the lounge room, writing post cards and drinking a beer. A lot of the people there were families and couples, but having an evening without too much talking really was relaxing. The breakfast on the next morning was rather small, but they had fresh and warm sweet and sour buns, and together with the classic powder coffee it was enough to fill my stomach until I reached my next stop: Jerusalem.

So if you want to listen to my advice: go there for an afternoon, maybe have dinner, but don’t expect too much. You definitely won’t need a night there. Save your time for more exciting places ;-)

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