Trip to the Golan Heights and the Galilee

With Colin and Wendy at Galil Mountain Winery

This was a fun and busy week. We had a three-day weekend last weekend, so Sunday morning, we headed north to Israeli wine country with our friends Wendy and Colin. It was pretty overcast and rainy, but it was still great to get out in the countryside.

We went to a couple of wineries in the Golan Heights on Sunday before getting to our lodging for the night. Driving through the Golan was interesting – signs warning of land mines, crossing the Jordan River, and feeling like you were on the top of the world.

We booked cottages at Vered Hagalil, overlooking the Sea of Galilee (or the Kinneret, as the Israelis call it). It’s a very rustic, laid back place. We went out for a nice dinner at Muscat, where I had a delicious pumpkin soup.

The next morning, we saw a very modern, funky building across the road from us and decided to explore. Next thing we knew, we were on a tour with a Catholic monk. I’m no expert in monasteries, but this one was very odd. I’ve posted a photo of their library below – it looks like the intergalactic chamber in a science fiction show!

After that, we went to two wineries that we really liked a lot: Galil Mountain and Dalton. The folks at these places were super-friendly and I think we tasted every wine they had. On the way back to Tel Aviv, we stopped at a little Arab restaurant for a schwarma plate. I don’t think they get gringos there often! Click here for all of our photos from the trip.

It was back to work on Tuesday. We’re in the middle of remodeling our offices at work, so everything is topsy-turvy. We had only a few hundred clients at the beginning of the week, and, other than emergency cases, we’ll be closed until week after next.

Aside from being our 15th wedding anniversary, Thursday was Consular Leadership Day. It’s a day for teambuilding, learning, etc. We spent the morning at a local animal shelter where we painted some of the walls to help brighten up  the place, and we played with the dogs. It was a great experience. This is a private shelter, and pretty primitive; they were very happy to have our help. In the afternoon, we gathered at an Arab-Israeli community center for a laughter workshop and some other activities. It was a fun day. Click to see photos from the animal shelter.

That night, we had a New Professionals Association happy hour where we had a chance to unwind and visit with friends and co-workers.

During the week, I worked on several emergency visa cases. Some of them were cases where the US government has a special interest, while others are for emergency medical treatment in the US. While it’s not always fun to stay late or come in on a holiday to get these done, there is a great degree of satisfaction it in.

Last night, John took me out for a nice anniversary dinner at Whitehall. Hard to believe it has been 15 years already. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Monastery Library with blue plastic dome

With my friend Erika at the animal shelter

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