Any time I look at the photos I took in Haifa, I am astonished at what a strikingly beautiful setting Haifa has.
Here it is viewed from within the Bahai gardens:
That cruise ship docked in the left side of the photo (and which the eagle on the left seems to be averting his eyes from) just might be the infamous Mavi Marmara. It sure looks like it, and I know the Mavi Marmara was impounded in Haifa port while we were there.
In the evening from our hotel room:
Across the bay in both of the above photos is the historic city of Akko–a fascinating place. And the high ground in the (not so great) distance is Lebanon.
Haifa, with its very familiar (to a Californian) plant life, beautiful Middle Eastern and Mediterranean architecture, ethnic mix, and of course these stunning sea views, was probably my favorite city in Israel. I mean other than Jerusalem, which is the very definition of incomparable.
Haifa feels like a bit of San Francisco and a dash of San Diego, only with Jews and Arabs as the dominant groups. The city has one of the highest Arab populations of any major Israeli city (again, aside from Jerusalem). Most of the city, aside from downtown and the port, is built on the steep slopes of Mt. Carmel. From the highest ridge, one can see far up and down the coast, as well as off into the interior areas of this small country.
Finally, another view of the Bahai gardens:
Photos taken 27-28 July, 2010, by MSS