2 Day tour – Mount Hermon

Meeting point was at the Sonol gas station in Herzliya. From there we went north. Our first stop is

Ein Junes

The springs with a temperature of up to 50 °C, mostly 42 °C were built by the Romans around the year 200. The Greeks called the place Ἑμμαθά (Emmatha) or Αμαθα (Amatha); the Arabic name was الحمة السورية / al-Ḥamma as-Sūriyya / ‘the Syrian bath’.
They are located at the back of Hamat Gader and are freely accessible (if you know the way to get there) 😉



Then up to the Golan Heights via the wonderful Road No.98. Always a highlight to drive up the serpentines here
After a coffee stop traditionally cooked in a Finjan and a sunset view of Lake of Galilee, we arrive at Givat Yoav, where we will spend the night in large tented cabins.

Sinai BaGolan – Givat Yoav

Eran has already bought meat online for a barbecue and a few beers and had everything delivered directly there, a brilliant idea, so we didn’t have to transport anything on the bikes.
After a first beer, the grill was fired up and the evening could begin. With easygoing rock music in the background, it got cozy around the bonfire.

Lake Ram (Birket Ram)

The next morning, two more bikers joined us, both from the Golan Heights, so basically locals. One of the two was a soldier in the Yom Kippur War in 1973. We stopped at Volcanic Park – Golan. It is directly opposite Qunetra on the Syrian side. After the withdrawal of the Israeli troops in 1974 at the end of the Yom Kippur War, the city remained completely destroyed and has been controlled by the UNDOF ever since.
Also around was a mobile coffee seller! Nespresso and Cappuccino from the machine, powered by a small generator. Great idea!



Then on to Birket Ram. Birket Ram, or Berekhat Ram (Hebrew בריכת רם; Arabic بحيرة مسعدة, Buḥairat Masʿada, Eng. ‘Lake of Mas’ade’), is a crater lake in the northeastern part of the Golan Heights, at the foot of Mount Hermon.
The lake has an elliptical shape. It is about 900 m long and about 650 m wide. Birket Ram lies at an elevation of 940 m. Birket Ram contains 1.4 to 5.1 million m³ of fresh water, which varies seasonally. The lake was formed around 70,000 years ago as a result of a volcanic crater explosion. The lake has no outlet and is fed by rainwater and an underground spring. The water of the lake is used, among other things, to irrigate the surrounding orchards.
The next place is Mas’ade, about 200 m to the west, a Druze village.

Mount Hermon

From there we drive up through Majdal Shams to Mount Hermon. With the bikes you can get until to the lift station. If it snows enough in winter, that part of the mountain is a popular (and the only) ski area in Israel.
We leave the bikes at the station and take the cable car up to the Israeli top of Mount Hermon at about 2200 meters. The mountain massif has the highest point at 2814 meters on the Syrian side.

Mount Hermon stretches along the Syrian-Lebanese border for 25 kilometers in a southwest-northeast orientation. In the south, the mountains end on the Golan Heights. In the north-east, the Anti-Lebanon continues.

Due to its height, the Hermon collects considerable precipitation on its western flank, which feeds various sources. The three Jordan springs Hazbani, Dan and Banyas (also called the Hermon River) also rise on the south and west side. The mountain is mostly made up of limestone and volcanic rocks in between.

With its height of 2814 meters above sea level, Mount Hermon with its three peaks dominates the surrounding landscape. Over 1800 meters, the mountain is snow-covered for several months of the year, which is why it is also known as the Mountain of the venerable or the Mountain of snow.

After spending about 1 hour on the mountain we start our journey home. After a hearty lunch in Massade and a short stop at a viewpoint in Margaliot, we head back towards Tel Aviv.


What a great weekend!

Eilat November 2021

Tour with Jörg and Michael

Heading towards the Dead Sea, Breakfast at Ein Gedi

We hit the road at 7:00

After more than two years, Jörg was finally here to visit again, Corona has messed everything up quite a bit. Also there is Michael, who lives here in Tel Aviv and runs the ZDF studio in Israel (2nd German TV channel).

We drive up from Tel Aviv, towards Jerusalem, green mountains on both sides of the expressway, which is heavily used in the morning rush hour. But soon the traffic will calm down once we got through Jerusalem and then drive down on the other side towards the Dead Sea.

Leaving Jerusalem, the scenery changes abruptly. No more green mountains, everything is desert now, the first Bedouin settlements appear on the sides, camels stand on the sides with their keepers, still waiting in vain for tourists who are now – for the first time in 2 years – able to enter the country.

The ride on the 90 directly at the Dead Sea is breathtaking as always, the water is flat as a mirror and shows all colors from deep blue to bright turquoise.

Our first stop is Ein Gedi Camping Lodge, where we will have a coffee and some breakfast.


Scorpion Ascent

Freshly strengthened we continue on the 90 along the Dead Sea, then at the southern tip towards Dimona to the 227 and the Scorpion’s Ascent.
This old road is officially closed to public traffic, but because of that and because of the unique nature here in the northern Negev it is an absolute highlight!
We stop and enjoy the view.
If you want to know more about the Scorpion’s Ascent, you’ll find it here

Another very good article about the Scorpion ascent from Haaretz online


Eilat

Arrived in Eilat we make ourselves comfortable in our apartment, then we go to the supermarket, a few beers have to go in the fridge and a few snacks for later.

Michael brought 3 bottles of wine from the Bin Nun Vineyard, one white, one red, and one rose. As it will turn out, an excellent drop.

Now we’re hungry! We go to a Brazilian steak house and enjoy it. Later on to the terrace, where we end the evening with one of the Bin Nun wines.

The next morning we go to the beach to chill. Dolphin Beach is always a good spot. A very relaxed day.
In the evening we go to the Fish Market, a fish restaurant in Eilat. My Seabass wasn’t that great, but the heavy drumfish that Jörg and Michael shared was very good.
In addition a French Chablis, the evening was already a success.

Then later on the terrace, the Bin Nun bottles didn’t survive the evening 😂
And so with the excellent wine and good music we sit there until late at night and enjoy our conversations about the world, sometimes deeply philosophical, sometimes borderline superficial, just great!
What an evening!


Negev

The day of the return has come. Another coffee in the morning, then to the local bakery for breakfast.
Reinvigorated, it’s now on the 12 along the Egyptian border to the Shikma Junction, then away from the border across the Negev to Mitzpe Ramon.
The viewpoint at Mitzpe Ramon gives us one last glimpse of the Negev Desert, into the Makhtesch Ramon, or Ramon Crater, the largest erosion crater in the Negev. Nubian Ibex ibexes say farewell.
Then it goes towards Ze’elim, then Ashkelon, Ashdod and back to Tel Aviv.



Guys, it was unforgettable!

Tour through the North of Israel 2019


My ride started on Thursday afternoon. In the morning I was still in the office. It was the second Sukkot weekend, the end of the “Feast of Tabernacles”, which fell so favorably this year that it could be combined with the weekend before and thus had 4 days off.
Hannah had traveled to Vienna with her daughter on the Visit grandpa, and so I had the whole four days off for a nice tour through northern Israel

I had everything packed and ready to go. My first stop will be Achziv on the Mediterranean coast, north of Nahariya, about 10km from the Lebanese border.
It’s about 150km from Tel Aviv to there, so I should be there before dark and my tent before dark dusk can strike. I would then continue the next morning.

The drive is easy and direct, along the coast. In front of Haifa you have a wonderful view of the sea while driving. Then you pass Akko, the millennia-old port city with its preserved 12th-century citadel.

Then Achziv campsite.
I pitch my tent and enjoy the sunset with a few cups of tea…
With the view of the sea I let my soul dangle and enjoy the evening air in October. It’s still very warm, around 28 degrees, but there’s a pleasant light autumn wind blowing.

The next morning I pack up again and head to the next station: Rosh Hanikra right on the Lebanese border. Here there are the beautiful grottoes, which can be visited with a cable car. This time I only enjoy the view of the sea for a short time. The road is a dead end, there is no transition to Lebanon and I think how bad that actually is. It’s closer to Beirut from here than Tel Aviv.

Now we continue east, away from the Mediterranean Sea, the western border of Israel, along the border with Lebanon, to the northeastern part, the Golan Heights on the border with Syria.< br>The route leads towards Kiryat Shmona, past Shlomi and Goren, on road 899 to 90, the longest road in Israel, which runs from Metula, the northernmost city, down to Eilat on the Red Sea .
The trail is beautiful, the 899 is lovely to drive with lots of turns to tuck into. Everything here is very green, a lot of forest, lush vegetation and it is a bit reminiscent of European mountain roads. After a short stretch on the 90, turn right towards Goren. The path is lined with eucalyptus trees for miles.
The goggles pushed up on the helmet, no visor, it now smells strongly of the essential oils of the trees. The first rain since early May fell last week and the autumn warmth is making the smells rise.

The landscape is now increasingly changing. The earth becomes volcanic, very dark to black. But the barriers to the right and left of the road are now also noticeable. “Entrance prohibited – danger to life. Mines and duds”. It’s the sad remnants of past wars.
I’m climbing higher and higher now, I’m almost a thousand meters up and close to my next stop: Mount Bental.

Mount Bental is an extinct volcano and the (currently disputed) border between Israel and Syria runs right across it. On the mountain is an old military fort that can be visited, with a bunker and shooting range from the Yom Kippur War. You have a wide view of Syria and the surrounding area up to Mount Hermon.
There is also coffee and snacks in the “Kofi Annan” restaurant (which is somewhat reminiscent of a ski hut in the Alps, with the wide terrace) at an altitude of 1171 meters.

The name of the restaurant is a play on words. On the one hand it is the name of the former UN Secretary General, on the other hand it means something like coffee in the clouds (Anan is the Hebrew word for cloud).

Freshly strengthened, we continue south along the border on road 95.
After a while you will pass the wind turbines of Alonei Habashan.
The turbines were built in the early 1990s and serve around 20,000 people, but are in poor condition.
Maybe that’s why they fit in here in the area. Everything seems a bit surreal, morbid, which of course is not really surprising when you consider the history of this area.

The many bunker ruins are still noticeable on the trip. There are a few old broken tanks in the area. As a reminder, as a memorial, they seem a little as if they had been forgotten here, but that is exactly what they are supposed to prevent: forgetting.
After a few kilometers, a hill suddenly looms out, with a hill on its side huge Israeli flag is hoisted on a huge pole. The place: Tel Saki

On October 6, 1973, Yom Kippur, Syrian artillery attacked in full force. In a ratio of 1 to 100, a small Israeli unit defended the position to the end. 35 soldiers did not come back, all others were either wounded or captured. It was one of the first and fiercest battles of the Yom Kippur War and today is an example of Israeli bravery.
Such events are deeply embedded in the consciousness of the people here. Of course, trying to explain the whole thing would go beyond the scope here.

We continue down the 98 towards Lake Genezeret, a fantastic ride on a motorbike. At the end of the elevated road, it descends in serpentines to the lake, surrounded by the breathtaking landscape of the Golan Heights. At the southern tip of Lake Genzeret, where the Jordan River flows out of the lake, is the Yardenit, a riverside baptismal site that has been a holy site for Christians since earliest times.

At the baptismal site, which has been developed for tourism, many Christians are baptized in memory of the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, although tradition locates the site of this event further down the river near Jericho, in Al-Maghtas, Jordan.

After another overnight stay at the Herod’s Well campsite, I drive home the next morning and I’m just in time to pick up Hannah and the little one from the airport.
One very impressive ride is behind me. The vastness of the landscape makes you forget how small Israel actually is.

Trentino and Veneto 2018

With the “yellow GS” and the Aprilia RSV 1000

Let’s go in Munich. Our destination: Agritourismo della Pieve in Bardolino.
We drive in the direction of Garmisch, then Soelden and over the Timmelsjoch. The weather is good, but it’s pretty chilly outside.
The horses are saddled, luggage is stretched out, the sun is shining. We take a bit of a risk with the equipment, it’s supposed to be nice on Lake Garda and a little over 20 degrees, so we leave rain gear behind.
So many times we’ve been surprised by the rain on previous trips, but we’re pushing luck again, the weather apps are all pointing to the sun and that’s how it starts.
On the way to the Alps, we realize that rain can’t be the only problem…. It’s cold! The weather is beautiful, but spring and autumn are not summer.
The roads are not very busy and the breathtaking scenery, which we have driven so often, is still overwhelming.

The Fernpassstraße leads via Grainau in the direction of Imst and our first short stop is the Zugspitzblick at Blindsee.

Shortly afterwards we continue towards Passo del Rombo, in German Timmelsjoch. Slowly and the higher we get, it gets colder and colder with beautiful weather.
My jacket is warm enough but only with jeans on it was probably a bit daring.

We stop for a moment at the pay station and enjoy the breathtaking view like many others. Warmed up briefly in the sun, we continue downhill again, now it’s really icy and my teeth are already chattering.
On the way down, I’m already thinking of a warm drink and something to eat, and then it’s finally here: Almost in the valley, we stop at Garber’s snack station. It’s noticeably warmer now, but I’m still shaking from the cold… Now sit in the sun and thaw out…

Well strengthened we continue via Merano, Bolzano and Trento towards Lago di Garda, more precisely to Bardolino to the farm “Agriturismo Della Pieve” where we have our accommodation for the next few days.
From here we will start our journeys and finish in the evening. A new goal every day. The paths here are fantastic, the area full of surprises.
Now rest from the first day, then a bottle of Bardolino or Valpolicella and tomorrow we continue.

Mount Baldo
The Monte Baldo is located between Lake Garda and Adige,
About 30 kilometers long ridge, which is part of the mountain range of the Lake Garda mountains.
Monte Baldo is bordered on the north by the Loppio Valley, on the east by the Adige Valley, on the west by Lake Garda and on the south by the moraine hills near Rivoli Veronese and the plain near Caprino Veronese. (Wikipedia)

We start in the morning after the espresso.
The road climbs steeply up to San Michele. From here we take the cable car up to Tratto Spino at 1760 meters altitude.
Once at the top, we are in and a little above the clouds. It’s freezing cold and the icy wind whistles around our ears.
The landscape is picturesque and we explore the mountain. After about an hour we make our way down again. In San Michele we strengthen ourselves before we continue on the mountain roads. From Castello we go up the serpentines via the Via Prada to Prada and then on to Caprino Veronese to Affi, where we buy our dinner: Tonight we will have a barbecue. 🙂


Verona

What can you tell about Verona… This city, over two thousand years old, with all its sights such as the Ponte Pietra, the amphitheater, the Piazza della Erbe, Juliet’s house and so much more.
Look at the pictures…

Chioggia

Chioggia is a seaport in the Veneto region of Italy. It belongs to the metropolitan city of Venice.
The small town is like Venice in miniature, but much quieter.
As in Venice, there are the famous canals here. The city is built on wooden stilts and connected to the mainland by a bridge. The Vena Canal divides the city and is crossed by nine bridges.

The inhabitants of Chioggia have something very special in common. your surnames. If you ask someone their name here, the chances of hearing the names Boscolo, Tiozzo, Penzo or Doria are very high. Many of the Boscolos are named Guiseppe, which adds to the confusion.

Countless Boscolos or Tiozzos often live in a single street, often with the same names.
Therefore, the residents are also allowed to officially register their nicknames and are often only identified with these names 🙂

On the way back to Bardolino we stopped briefly in Montagnana to marvel at the completely preserved city wall.

So, after the city tours, here are some impressions from our tours through Trentino and Veneto.