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A Land of Borders
Golan Heights, Israel
Our second day in Israel was all about borders. Starting off from the Sea of Galilee we made our way up into the Golan Heights, an area of great beauty that reminds me of the Texas Hill Country. In my mind, Israel was an immense country. How could so much history be tied into an area so small? I realize, of course, that much of the biblical narrative takes place in the lands surrounding Israel, yet I was still amazed at the proximity of it all.
We drove through dense morning fog and arrived at a lookout peering deep into the land of Syria. Or, at least that was the plan. The fog did not part; instead, the clouds turned into a sideways mist. When we arrived at the lookout, our guide asked if anyone desired to weather the frigid rain and stair into the fog resting over Syria. I snapped this quick shot before getting back into the black Mercedes Sprinter and adding an extra layer of clothing.
I’m not certain what the actual plans were for the morning, but they quickly changed due to the inclement weather, and we soon found ourselves in a Jewish chocolatier. Karina Chaplinski, a third-generation Argentinean chocolate confectioner, emigrated to Israel with her husband and Children and established De Karina Handmade Mountain Chocolates in Ein Zivan, a Golan Heights kibbutz. As we watched their tantalizing promo video in Spanish (with English and Hebrew subtitles), I was taken back to my college days living in Madrid, Spain and feasting on churros con chocolate in the wee hours of the morning. When it’s cold outside, warm cups of chocolate are comforting, so I purchased a cup of liquid love for myself and our guide. As we sipped and shared jokes, I felt as if the entire country was wrapping me up in a warm chocolate hug.
What goes great with chocolate? Wine! And we already had a wine tasting on our jam-packed agenda while in the Golan Heights. In my travels, I’ve sat through my fair share of wine tastings all over the world; to experience wine from the vineyards of Israel, however, began to bring the Bible to life in new ways. The Golan Heights Winery ships wine all over the world, yet—as is the case with many wineries—sells their juice under different names depending on the market. If you’ve ever tasted a wine called Yarden in the states, this is the wine we were tasting.
Hard to beat a rainy morning filled with chocolate and wine!