Day 1 in Akko was a bit “meh.” High hopes were had for Day 2 — so after a spot o’ tea and a bit o’ breakfast, we hit the road.
Palm Beach Club hotel is about two kilometers from the Old City, and because it appeared to be a bright sunny day, we opted to walk over. It was picturesque, with palm trees and flowering trees lining the road — this part in particular made me think of West Palm Beach, FL for some reason.
Unfortunately it was also about 7 billion degrees. I was sweating my face off before we were even halfway there.
Right outside the Old City, we came upon this perplexing house of wonders.
Yes, that is a Nike shoe sculpture dead center.
Who lives here? What possessed them to erect this menagerie of treasures? These are questions that only my imagination can answer. So, I will tell you that it’s inhabited by an aging sculptor who only eats fried pickles on Thursdays and spends a year creating each new sculpture.
To the Old City!
Akko is a walled, Crusader-era city. The moat is now home to what I would imagine is the world’s hottest basketball court.
With no plan, Jonathan and I headed for the market. On the way, we passed a freshly squeezed orange juice vendor. Jonathan bargained him down for a glass of orange juice and I’m not exaggerating at all when I tell you that it was literally the most refreshing glass of orange juice that I’ve ever tasted.
The market was covered, so I was able to escape the heat briefly. (I kid you not: I stood in front of the AC unit in one shop for a good 3 minutes, pretending to investigate the porcelain teacups underneath it.) I love the treasures that can be found in a marketplace. For example, we saw an incense burner that had a dragon perched on top of it — SO THAT IT LOOKED LIKE THE DRAGON WAS BREATHING SMOKE WHEN INCENSE WAS BEING BURNED IN IT. (By some huge oversight on our part, this was not purchased.)
Another example: This following is not, as you might be thinking, a Disney princess knock-off. No, this is it’s own thing, “Junior Elf Princesses” — it has NOTHING to do with Disney princesses. Nothing.
Speaking of princesses, how about some needlessly gendered toys for the little girls in your life? If the little one you have in mind is currently in a ALL PRINCESSES ALL THE TIME phase, why not encourage a love of science and medicine in her as well with this little ditty?
Then I turned around and was immediately faced with this:
Yes, that’s a real tongue. We came upon this poor decapitated cow when the butcher was pulling its tongue out of its head — he was kissing it and posing with the cow — and then he just left it like that. This seems disrespectful (and unsanitary?) to me. Why do we keep seeing weird things hanging in front of butcher shops??
So…who’s ready to sight see?
Turns out, nearly everything is closed during Shabbat in Akko. Fortunately, the Crusaders Tunnel was open. Tickets were purchased and we descended into (the markedly cooler temperatures of) the tunnel.
The Templar Crusader Tunnel connects the port to the Templar palace — it was discovered by accident in 1994 when a woman called a plumber who found the underground shaft. Seriously?? Another amazing found-by-accident thing?
As we entered the tunnel, I laughed at the sign saying that “certain areas of the tunnel” “require you to bend.” What is that supposed to mean?
There were a few videos in the tunnel, one that you could specify the language (which we watched) and then: obligatory LLAP shot.
After the Tunnel, Jonathan and I walked down to the port. On the way, we saw another house filled with lawn sculptures. (What is with all the lawn sculptures?…) St. George Killing the Dragon, of course.
We walked back to the hotel — by the time we arrived, I had blisters on the balls of my feet (love it when that happens!) and had probably sweated about 6 gallons. So it was down to the beach! For more reading, not swimming, natch.
After a shower and a bit of food, Jonathan and I headed back down to the beach to watch the sunset. What a lovely idea, you might be thinking. WRONG.
The hotel was surrounded by a high fence and razorwire. For some reason unbeknownst to me, the beach was closed to us AGAIN. I had thought that it would be open later tonight since (a.) Shabbat was ending, and (b.) they’re clearly not cleaning it or anything. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Not to be deterred, Jonathan and I climbed onto a stage at the corner of the property and watched the sunset from behind a screen — we had a completely gorgeous and unobstructed view of the Old City and the sun setting behind it.
This was BY FAR the highlight of the weekend for me. Gorgeous. Peaceful. Incredible.
Can I live on the beach, now, please?
Your moment of Zen: