July 15, 2021
“Our tour of the Central Bus Station was a tour like no other. From the outside, I expected the seven-story structure to be ordinary. I assumed I would see some buses, a few cafés and fast-food restaurants and waiting areas for all the passengers. Little did I know, the Central Bus Station housed an underground community, full of bustling markets, an art scene and even abandoned areas.
The architecture of the station fascinated me. I learned the building was intentionally designed to confuse passengers so they would spend more time shopping in the markets and shops. This explains the many escalators and ramps leading to the different floors and why I’ve heard stories of people frantically missing their buses. While the bus terminals are only on the 6th and 7th floors, the lower floors are much more complex and help explain the diversity of Israeli society.
Some of the main attractions we were able to see on the lower levels were a Filipino market, two kindergartens, three health clinics, theaters, and a Yiddish book center. I was in awe that there was this hidden subculture within a building that is used by so many Israelis every day. Our tour guide further explained that the central bus station is a haven for many immigrant communities because it is a useful gathering point, and it provides the opportunity to start a new life in Israel by owning shops.
It sounds strange to say a bus station helped shape my perspective of Israel. However, this building is much more than just a place to catch a bus to Jerusalem. It is the epitome of a melting pot of cultures, and it represents the life many minority groups live as “outsiders” in Israeli society.”
On Wednesday morning we left our Hostel and started the day with a short hike at Nachal Yechiam. We walked through the forest and enjoyed our time until we arrived in the interesting village Klil. We hopped on our buses and continued towards Akko. After some free time in the city, we visited The Hospitaller Fortress which is one of the most impressive sites in Akko. The Hospitallers, also known as the Order of the Knights of Saint John, were a military order of warrior monks created in the time of the Crusades. The Hospitaller Order helped pilgrims on their journey to the Holy Land, providing them with protection and aid. The fortress was the Order’s headquarters in Akko.
After that we continued the tour to the Templars tunnel. The tunnel is 150 meters long and it extends from the Templars fortress in the west to the city’s port in the east. It crosses Pisan quarter and in the past, served as a strategic underground passageway that connected the palace to the port. we finished the tour with the great view of Akko”s port.
After a great couple of days up north we left back to Tel Aviv, tired but happy,
This weekend Yoav will be on call.
Have a great weekend,