I have never been as hot as I was under the beating desert sun over Ein Avdat National Park, and I think the same could have been said of the resident ibexes (ibices, if we’re being grammatical), since we didn’t see any roaming about while we hiked the trails. We did see a few scurrying away as we entered this park in the Negev, which our guide said was also on account of the heat; they were probably taking shelter under a tree for now, waiting for it to cool down. In the meantime, clouds of dust swirled around our ankles as…

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Akko is one of those places that seems to get bigger and bigger, the more of it you think you’ve seen. It looks on the surface like a small town – if one with a staggeringly rich and colorful history as a Crusader stronghold, an Ottoman capital, and finally a modern-day Islamic island within an otherwise-mostly-Jewish state – but its quaint narrow streets and winding alleys belie how utterly vast and city-like it really is. Along these streets, into ancient doors or down secret stairwells that peel off of them, lie a million other rich and colorful worlds. Because Akko, it turns…

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I’ve always been enchanted by the idea of grottoes. Something about the word conjures up images of distant lands from fairytales and myth, probably because these are the only contexts I ever heard it used: in the Romantic ballet La Bayadere; in The Odyssey, where one is the secret lair of the sea nymph Calypso, who seduces Odysseus and holds him prisoner there. I would not have been surprised to see Calypso bathing and braiding her long golden hair in Rosh HaNikra – I would have thought this place was imaginary, too, if I hadn’t seen it myself. It’s an underwater…

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