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Published: December 17th 2020
Summer was well underway with sunny and increasingly warm weather at our home in Israel. Unfortunately the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic was also well entrenched here as elsewhere around the world. We had been stuck in various degrees of restrictions or lockdown for 4 months since our last festive gathering in March. Even worse it was 5 months since visiting our daughter in England, with no obvious end to the travel ban visible. In fact we had booked a vacation trip for August but that was cancelled in the spring. As readers of our Travel Blog can imagine, we really wanted a holiday break mainly for a change of scene.
Flying anywhere was clearly off the menu. But our beautiful little country offers many interesting options, so we considered a number of destinations within Israel. Always fans of the north, from the Mediterranean coast across the Galilee to the Golan, we scanned the web for places which were open. We decided to go where we could explore some of the far north and probably find slightly cooler temperatures. We needed a base with comfortable facilities - a deluxe room to provide a sorely needed feeling of luxury, good food served in
a safe manor, and pretty surroundings.
The Pastoral Kfar Blum Hotel appeared to fit the bill. It is situated in the northeastern Galilee between the Hula Valley and the Lebanese border. We booked 4 nights in a Junior Suite on the ground level with a small private garden patio. We included Half Board so that we could simply walk to breakfast and dinner in the main building and not have to search the countryside for our meals, especially as many restaurants were closed during the pandemic. It also met our kosher requirements.
Driving north to the hotel was even easier than previous trips. It was only about 175 km and there was less traffic on the road than usual. We arrived and checked in. The hotel complex consists of a main building with the dining room and some conference areas, a well-spaced collection of separate accommodation buildings each housing about 8 rooms on two levels, an entertainment building and a swimming pool.
Our suite consisted of a large well-appointed space with a divider between the bed zone and a sitting zone. The room divider had back-to-back flat screen televisions set atop storage drawers. The sitting area was
plenty big enough for our exercise mat; current rules meant that all gyms were closed including those within hotels so we had brought our own to maintain our daily exercises. The bathroom was very large with separate shower and tub. The patio behind a glass door was shielded by shrubbery from the outdoor spaces on either side. The large green area beyond our patio looked toward the entertainment building. We discovered each night that although the entertainment centre was some distance away, we could hear the music if we chose to sit out or leave our glass door ajar. We never ventured into the entertainment building.
Meal times were scheduled in waves to minimise crowding in the restaurant. We put on our masks and went to dinner at our appointed hour. We waited in a short queue while the receptionist took names, verified masks and checked temperatures. We were led to a table in the reasonably spaced dining area. The restaurant was organised as a collection of buffet areas for salads, soup and other starters, mains, bread, evening specials, deserts, cold and hot drinks, etc. Most of these areas had staff who served whatever was selected onto a plate. Other sections such as fruit cups were individually plated for diners to pickup themselves. There was no limit to the number of times the buffet could be visited. The food was satisfactory, with a broad range of freshly cooked choices served appropriately hot.
Soon after we started eating, we became concerned because some diners were roaming between their tables and the buffet without wearing masks or with them improperly placed below the nose. Some of these were children of all ages, but many were adults. We probably should have complained immediately but decided to see if things improved in the morning. So we did not linger after eating and returned to our room.
After dinner we did our daily studying, read a bit and then went to bed. It was comfortable and we had a nice night's sleep.
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