Like many fellow travellers, Vera Schwartzbord has been to Israel quite a few times and each time, she tries to take in a new place.
This time it was Acre (Akko); an often overlooked, yet very worthwhile sightseeing destination in Israel.
Although we had already been to Acre 35 years ago – we knew it was going to be a very different experience with our grandchildren along for the ride.
Our 3 grandsons are currently intrigued by the game of Dungeons and Dragons: so you can imagine how excited they were when we were about to enter the fort in Acre; a real fort that has seen many a battle, and has historical records going back well before the Crusaders. What was really impressive though, was not only the fact that the fort was so well restored, but with the aid of an incredible audio visual presentation, we felt like we were really walking through history.
This self guided tour with the audioguide to help was definitely the best way to learn about the history and the geography of the area and to top it off, the presentation was of a very high standard, available in English and made to capture the interest of both young and old.
When it comes to the weather, if you really feel the heat as I do, then I absolutely recommend walking through the cool Unesco Heritage fortress walls of this amazing fort, whilst listening to its stories.
As Summer in Israel can be really hot (and it was during the 10 days before Rosh Hashanah), there is no better place to be than at a resort by the beach of Acre with Haifa on one side and Nahariya on the other. What a contrast to Tel Aviv – and totally different from being on a Kibbutz.
Time for a snack
We heard about the extremely popular “Hummus Said” café where menu consists of 3 varieties; how clever! Order one of each and you can’t go wrong.
For about $6, you get a meal of hummus, fresh-baked pita bread, olives and pickles, and a small plate of fresh sliced tomatoes and onion. Located in the market of the Old City, just ask directions how to get there. The locals will give you a knowing smile and direct you to the main street of the market.
This café is a great concept for a pit stop. Usually the lines are long both for take away or sit down, however, we were fortunate to get a table immediately as we came at the end of the day. We found it easy to order, eat and move on, and when you have so much more to see and do in the neighbourhood, this was most welcome.
After our pit stop, we went back to the interior of the fort to cool off and relax in the well restored Hammam, which reminded us of our experience in Istanbul. We then had some energy left to explore the grounds of the fort, with canons, moats and the two layers of the fortress walls. No wonder Napoleon was defeated here. You have to see it for yourself to truly understand.
Before we drove away, we heard that at the end of the Templar’s tunnels, there is a well-known ice-cream shop called Endomela (literally meaning “nothing like it”). How well placed are the tunnels? Also, Italy had better watch out, because the town of Acre has gelati of a comparable standard!
It can take a full day to explore this amazing town, its oriental markets, museums, galleries, and glorious past going back 4000 years. So make the time!
I wish all the history lessons taken over my life could have been taken firsthand just as I experienced in Acre.
I hope I have inspired you, especially those travelling with children of all ages.”