Akko has a beautiful and lively Old City with sites that reflect its history of conquest and occupation by the Crusaders, the Ottoman Empire and the British, among others, including the Mamluks. The Mamluks were Muslim slaves whp somehow ended up with a lot of military power. They booted the Crusaders in the 13th century, sending many of Akkos’ Catholics to Cyprus. Modern Akko is a peaceful town that is about 70% Jewish and 30% Muslim.
Today, I wandered through the Old City souks, explored the Templar’s tunnel and survived a terrifying ride on a tourist boat.
After my three days of culinary austerity in Safed, I have been rewarded with Akko’s wonderful food! The Arabic Old City has several cafes that are updating traditional dishes. I spent a long time talking to Dlal and Miard, who own Dalal Tapas Cafe, about the political and economic environment for Israeli Arabs. Miard is finishing her studies in Art History and English Literature (even though English is her third language!) Dlal made a point of telling me she is his inspiration.
“Shukran” is thank you in Arabic and I am thankful.
Tomorrow I am following the path of the 13th Century Akko Catholics to Cyprus.
“Poetry is strong emotion recollected in tranquility.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Adventure is discomfort recollected in tranquility.” Tim Cahill