It is possible that Mount Ben-Tal, a lookout site in the Golan Heights and
former bunker for IDF soldiers fighting Syria, wasn’t created with the express
purpose of playing hide-and-seek. But while most tour guides may overlook the
location’s supremacy in that field, my three children (ages almost five and
three-year-old twins) were quick to catch on.
We had just left Kibbutz Merom Golan and
could clearly see the vacation hut where we’d stayed the previous night from the
lookout. A little farther away we just made out the fantastic petting zoo where
my boys, Ya’ir and Yaron, had helped a farmhand load up a cart with straw
to feed the goats. They’d also cavorted with the camel, fed hay to the horses
and petted the ponies in between collecting peacock feathers and making the
turkeys gobble. Daughter Kinneret, in the meantime, had an unfortunate incident
involving goose poop.
But no matter, she was quickly taken off to our hut for a complete overhaul
in its luxurious jacuzzi bath — and luscious heating. In the brisk November
weather, upon our late-afternoon arrival the day before to this, the far reaches
of the Golan, heating was a special blessing and we used it all night and into
Outside it was autumn. Between the intermittent drizzle and the smell
of fallen leaves, I could almost make believe that Israel has more than two real
seasons. And as we walked to the kibbutz cafeteria for breakfast early that
Friday morning, I found myself thinking of the joy of a nice hot meal and was
secretly sad we were ’only’ going to get breakfast.
We were the first guests to arrive (unsurprising, as our kids generally
awaken by 6 a.m.) and were presented with another surprising blessing: There
were several hot dishes, a huge spread of cheeses, fish and salads, a variety
of homemade jams (try the yummy mango) and two kinds of cake for dessert. What
I shouldn’t have been surprised, really. The holiday apartments, while not
the lap of luxury, are beautifully done. Snug and cozy in our hut, we had plenty
of space in the two rooms for the three kids in the main room to sleep on the
convertible sleeper sofa and chair. The bedroom was done in a Western theme and
a warm-toned wood paneling was used throughout. There was a small kitchen area
as well, which was admittedly not equipped with a cooking surface, but did have
a handy sink, mini-fridge and hot drink provisions. There was also a jug of milk
in the fridge — just one of the thoughtful touches.
In the bathroom the aforementioned jacuzzi bathtub (smaller and more water
efficient than a full-sized spa) was a highlight and the fittings and fixtures
were stylized and presumably new. Unfortunately, however, the soap dispenser
didn’t work and a piece of the shower fell on my head while I bathed.
Thankfully, there were other means of soap provided next to the modern raised
sink, something not all B&Bs now think to provide, and what I usually forget
to bring from home.
Between the comfortable room and fun-filled petting zoo, we were loath
to leave. Later, looking out from Mount Ben-Tal, I noticed that some
20 additional units were being built there and made a hopeful wish that one day
we’d be back for a longer stay.
For more information,
visit www.meromgolantourism. co.il or call (04) 696-0267.
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