Wednesday, 16 June 2010


"Why do you want to go to Akko? It's Friday. Nothing is open in Akko! Everything close at 4 in Akko!" says the hotel manager. "Just tell me how I get to Akko, Rachel. Do I take shurut (service)?" My Hebrew is getting pretty good, that's an elite pronunciation. "Take the train to Akko, and go eat at this restaurant, I forget what it's called,'s good." She remembers the name, but I forgot it. Israelis have the most identifiable accent on the planet.
View of the old city, Mosque of Jezzar Pasha in view (Ottoman era)
On board a train, some guy shows me a brand new pack of Marlboros and talks about its specifications in Hebrew. Israelis can't speak English. I tell him no Hebrew and he replies in destroyed, not broken, English. I nod and say "okay". He leaves. I realize that if I spend a month in Israel I'll learn Hebrew.
In Akka, we board a cab with an Israeli Arab who is happy to meet us. He recommends a place to eat fish and tells us New Akka sucks, and that we should stick to Old Akka (old city, port). Again, it's the Arab hood. And everything is open. Rachel, clearly doesn't come around here, although the restaurant she recommended is in the old city.
Boats in Akka's harbour

We walk in the ocean, and I stare at the remains of the walls that defeated Napoleon in 1799. We take photos, then walk up to the old city. Akka reminds me of Alexandria, and not because Alexander conquered this city. Akka is smaller, cleaner and people ride horses around the old city. It's a genuine definition of a coastal town. The water is clean and blue, the people fish and the kids jump from the magnificent ancient rocks that surround it. We eat fresh fish, we take a boat, I find old postcards, my skin burns, and I feel at home.

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