!History, Religion and beautiful landscapes - the Edelweiss scouting tour of Israel is under way.
Summer in Europe might be a bit patchy, but here in Israel it is already in full swing. Seven participants are exploring the country away from the usual pilgrim routes.
The bikes waiting in front of the hotel in Tel-Aviv
After a start into early morning city traffic, we headed north on the highway. At the first stop at the Karmel Mountains, Avi, our source of knowledge took us back to the times of prophet Eliah and opened up the biblical panorama.
Avi and Nicole enjoying an air-conditioned lunch
The bird sanctuary in the Hula valley and the Golan Heights in the background.
Daniel trying to make friends with a pelican.
High above Kyriat Shmona, the northernmost town in Israel. Mount Hermon in the background.
Simona, Daniel, Klaus, Lutz and Eytan
Although Tel-Aviv claims to be the city that never sleeps, some rural communities seem to work hard in that direction. We had a great barbecue on the lawn and did sleep very well in the guest houses of Kibbuz Snir - despite the sign.
The second day started with a short walk to the Banias river, one of the sources of the Jordan river, and continued with a ride up onto the Golan heights.
The ruins of the crusader castle Nimrod, dominating the ancient route to Damascus and the Hula valley below.
Nicole taking aim.
The group at a more recent fortress on the Golan.
From 1600m above sea level at "Coffee Anan" up on the Golan it was a 45 minute ride down to 200m below sea level at Kibbuz Ginnosar. We marvelled at the remains of a 2000 year old wooden ship.
Klaus and Alisa competing for the best shot of the Sea of Galilee
Three of the most important places of Christianity in one picture: The Mount of Beatitudes, Tabgha and Capernaum. All within walking distance on the shores of Lake Tiberias or the Sea of Galilee
Avi providing insights at the church at the Mount of Beatitudes - it's nice in the shade...
Leaving the Lake Tiberias behind and below us, we climbed back to sea level and reached Haifa in the evening.
The next day was spent in the Western Galilee, exploring some backroads, visiting caves and the old port city of Akko.
The day started with a ride up to the Carmel mountain for an overview of Haifa.
The city provides perfect jacket and helmet holders.
Picnic in the mountains, perfectly arranged by Danny.
A caved in cave. Is it still a cave then?
Next: south towards the desert and up to the Holy City.
Eytan and Nathan at Qumran on the shores of the Dead Sea.
The view from the shade.
Daniel and Simona floating around
Nathan and Alisa discussing the day after arrival at our bedouin style "hotel" in the desert.
Alisa, Lutz and Nicole waiting for the sun to rise...
...here comes the sun. Rising over the mountains of Edom in Jordan. Dead Sea below.
Listening to Uri's detailed explanation of the history of Massada. Before breakfast!
The view from King Herod's palace. Not bad!
And here we are: Jerusalem. After a long and hot day, riding up on winding roads, we have reached our destination for the next two nights.
Let's start exploring the history of Jerusalem. Shraga, motorcyclist, Edelweiss veteran and our guide for the day introducing himself and his hometown.
Lutz, Nathan, Eytan, Simona and Daniel at the walls of Jerusalem, making good use of the shade.
Alisa and Nathan resting at Mount Zion.
Coffee break in the old city, our guide Shraga pouring out his knowledge.
The Austrian flag over the Dome of the Rock. No "photoshop", just the view from the terrace of the Austrian hospice in the heart of the old city. And they serve good coffee and cold beer, too!
The last riding day of the tour has arrived. Today we arrived back in Tel-Aviv after a short but beautiful ride through the Judean mountains. Small winding roads led us down to the coastal plain and into the bustling greater Tel-Aviv area. A last lunch and sightseeing stop in Jaffa, the old port city south of Tel-Aviv before we rode the remaining five kilometres to the hotel.
The group in the colourful but hot city of Jaffa
We made it! Back at the starting point.
Nicky, Lutz and Daniel - happy!
Nathan, Alisa and Lutz discussing the proper use of motorcycle tyres.
Good bye to the bikes!
Lutz and Nathan enjoying a cold beer or two.