The less than Herculean task of learning to love Heraklion

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Are you looking for the next cool place? If so, why? And for God’s sake don’t go looking here.

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Postcards from Israel For My Father on His Early Spring Birthday, with no mention of numbers or dates

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Because it’s my blog, and I’ll turn it into a birthday card if I want to!

jaffa

This is an old building in Jaffa, probably built during Turkish times i.e. a really long time ago. But wait, this is more about my Dad, who in comparison to this edifice is pretty dang young.

brownbeach

Jumping a few centuries forward, here’s a partial view of Tel Aviv from the balcony of a fancy new hotel called The Brown Beach House. The Mediterranean (not pictured) is on the right.

downtowntel

This is a view from a hotel and office tower on Rothschild Boulevard, looking east over the Neve Tzedek neighborhood to the sea.

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Another skyline view, this time looking south.

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I took a picture of this cat from the window of my pied-a-terre in Tel Aviv. Then I dropped my new camera on the parquet floor and broke it. But because Dad had insisted on filling out the warranty card, the camera will be fixed and I’ll have money for more shakshukas (see below). Always thinking ahead, while my head’s in my shakshuka–another thing I love about Dad.

Executiveloungsunset

Another sunset over the Mediterranean. And if you could momentarily transform yourself into an albatross, the sea might look like this: 

…moving on,

AkkoBlu

…that’s from the balcony of a great hotel in Akko (ancient Acre) called The Efendi. It’s two renovated Ottoman-era mansions joined together.

shaks

I had this shakshuka for breakfast in Jaffa the other day. It was good, but the eggs were a bit too runny for my taste.

And now, time for a little video from a place where the breakfasts are always good. As in REALLY good. With that in mind, eat something! And

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Places Where You Need To Be Kissed

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Five places where you need to be kissed now — and why not? Perhaps you didn’t think of Israel as a romantic destination, and maybe it isn’t. But were the likes of Paris and Venice ever elected capitals of love by free and democratic election? No. And my vote’s on Israel for places that will surprise you with the power to wow you, and if that isn’t a recipe for romance, then good God I don’t know what is. So from the towers of Tel Aviv to the desert sands of the Negev, here are some choice spots in Israel where, for your own good, you need to be kissed now.
 - Photo: Scots Hotel Tiberias
Scots Hotel Tiberias. Photo: Scots Hotel Tiberias

1.  Scots Hotel, Tiberias

The luxurious Scots Hotel in Tiberias was built by the Church of Scotland in the refurbished historical buildings of the Scottish Hospital. Here, you’ll find a supremely restful atmosphere, amid a fusion of 19th-century basalt stone buildings with 18 guestrooms and a more modern wing with 50 more. Access to theswimming pool is by elevated walkway over exquisite, luxuriant gardens straight out of the bible. From the glorious pool, you can look out over the Sea of Galilee all the way to the Golan Heights.

This is an upscale hotel where bacon is readily available (yum!) and is that rare place that’s perfect for families and couples alike. Sources say the aforementioned gardens are quite conducive to a kiss, stolen or otherwise. More »

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Palm Desert’s Hidden Gem Kitchens HBO WIFI Walk To El Paseo
 - Photo: Anthony Grant
Tel Aviv Port. Photo: Anthony Grant

2.  Tel Aviv Port

Malls aren’t generally romantic places, but what about un-malls? The Tel Aviv Port complex, called Namal in Hebrew, would qualify as one of those: lots of great shops and restaurants, and no roof. Located in north Tel Aviv and right alongside the sea, this is perhaps — with the clear exception of the Carmel Market — the most iconic of Tel Aviv’s shopping places.The long, vast decks are made of bleached gray wood and in places are fashioned to look like sand dunes, their gentle curves forming a foreground to an aquatic orchestra of white-blue waves that lap the railing. Serenaded by sea spray, it’s also the perfect staging ground for a sun-kissed you-know-what. More »

 - Photo: Anthony Grant
Beresheet. Photo: Anthony Grant

3.  Beresheet, Negev

Beresheet is a new resort located in the dusty Negev Desert town of Mitzpe Ramon, about two hours south of the Dead Sea. The name in Hebrew means means “genesis.”

Beresheet aspires to eco-sensitivity – after you park and arrive, the only way to get around is by electric golf cart or on foot. There are 111 rooms and suites located in different areas throughout the property. Forty-two suites have their own swimming pools. The restaurant features organic cuisine and a décor that, thanks to floor-to-ceiling glass walls, opens up to the desert views.

Beresheet is located literally on top of the Makhtesh Ramon, the world’s biggest crater formed from natural erosion, and a spectacular highlight of the Negev. Sources say there is already a tradition of kissing on the balcony that hovers spectacularly over the crater.More »

More Choices Than Any Luxury Line. The Ultimate Luxury Cruise Vacation
city center hostel and hotel familial and cosy ,colonial house
 - Photo: Anthony Grant
Pina Barosh in Rosh Pina. Photo: Anthony Grant

4.  Rosh Pina

Israel has plenty of pretty hill towns like Safed, Zichron Yaakov and Rosh Pina. Safed may be better known outside Israel than Rosh Pina — it is, after all, the home of Jewish mysticism and a known haunt of Madonna when the Kabbalah Girl visits Israel — but it’s Rosh Pina that wins over more Israelis on account of its great restaurants and small inns with a rustic yet upmarket ambience.

Located in the Galilee, in Israel’s north, Rosh Pina overlooks the Hula Valley and edge of the Golan Heights. Leafy and artsy, its history is similar to that of Zichron Yaakov to the south. Today it has a large assortment of very charming inns and restaurants – some, like Pina Barosh, are both.

Pina Barosh is reminiscent of some of the wonderfully refurbished old farmhouse (agrotourism) properties you’ll find in places like Cyprus and Italy. The guestrooms are resplendent with exposed stone walls and comfy furnishings, but it’s the view from the restaurant that’s the more ravishing backdrop to a kiss…and to be frank, a cluckingamazing chicken salad. More »

 - Photo: Anthony Grant
Bat Yam. Photo: Anthony Grant

5.  Bat Yam

Let’s face it, you really don’t need to be kissed on the beach in Tel Aviv, because it would be a bit like locking lips on a crowded subway platform — you might be footloose, fancy free and sunbaked, but chances are slim you’ll be anything close to alone.

What makes Bat Yam‘s beach prime get-kissed country is its off-the-radar feel even though it’s literally just footsteps south of Jaffa. This is where you go when you have a free afternoon in Tel Aviv but can’t handle the city’s boardwalk bustle. Bat Yam isn’t glamorous, but the beach is actually wider (and I’d guess, cleaner) than Tel Aviv’s long stretch of sand. So revel in this insider sexy secret, slather on the sunblock and pucker up! More »