That’s why we were totally unprepared for the frightfully well designed and well-tended guest house we encountered. “Castles that move in the wind” is located at the edge of the village of Nimrod at a height of 3,700 feet. Let’s rephrase that since the entire village has five families, each of them living in its own spot and owning a guest house. Even procedurally speaking this is still not really a village.
In January 1999 Gilad and Yael Golan decided to go north from their farm in the southern Golan Heights to the slopes of the Hermon. With a lot of vision, several goats, and warm clothing they decided to turn their new home into a tourist center with guest houses and a restaurant.
They built their home there, other families joined them, but only four years later did they move from the train car in which they’d been living to a house at the edge of the mountain. At the same time they prepared and sold cheese from goats they raised. The goat cheese sales developed into a restaurant called The Witch’s Cauldron and the Milkman, and three years ago meat was added to the menu.
“At first we would count tomatoes at the supermarket,” says Gilad. Today they no longer need to worry. With one night at one of their guest houses, which they call “suites,” costing NIS 900 mid-week, and rooms booked months in advance, they’re already planning the next suites.
A treat with a view
They finished building the guest house-suite-castles three years ago. The two suites, each with its own design, are located a reasonable distance from each other, across from Mount Hermon and views of Lebanon. They are made of wood, with windows tiled to the ceiling (pastoral, but a bit distressing in the morning), and they provide a 180-degree view of the scenery.
In the suite itself there is a Jacuzzi, or course, but there’s also a lot more than that. The Golans appear to have really given thought to every detail: The shower with black stones and the glass sink, the staircase that leads to the gallery, where there is a bed with a fur covering, antique-style furniture, and a home theater system with many DVDs and CDs.
In the kitchen you’ll find a variety of home-made cheeses, wine, fruits, and brownies, cakes, and more. The refrigerator holds juice, beer, and cola, and there is an espresso machine as well. But the Golans would prefer you to eat in their restaurant, located at the entrance to the village.
The restaurant is made entirely from wood, and is located across from Birkat Ram. Among the dishes it serves are oxalis and mangold soup, house salad, and mushroom and carpaccio casserole. We skipped the more exotic dishes and went with a selection of goat cheeses that turned out to be an excellent choice.
There are several casseroles (the witch of the mountain of fire’s casserole, the witch of the snowy mountain’s casserole, the witch from Burgundy’s casserole), pastries, and more. This is where we decided to go wild and order the special dishes including lamb ribs in tomato and mint sauce and beef stroganoff in cream sauce. The ribs were tasty and soft, but the stroganoff was a bit flavorless.
After a night of excessively hot sleep with the heater burning up the room, and the fear of its going off and freezing us to death leaving us helpless and sweaty, we returned to the Witch for breakfast, which included goat cheeses, bran and nut bread, yogurt, labaneh, tehina in carob honey, sundried tomatoes, olives, homemade pickled eggplants, and eggs.
This is unquestionably a guest house on a very high level. Still, the prices are a bit excessive, and the price of the food was not completely justified. But if you want to treat yourselves, this is the place.
How to get there:
From the direction of Kiryat Shmonah drive in the direction of Mount Hermon. After Neve Ativ turn right twice and you come to the village of Nimrod.
From the direction of the Golan Heights: Get to the village of Mas’ada, and cross the entire village going north. After leaving the village turn left three times (the first left turn is on a small bridge), and you come to Nimrod.
Prices: Two nights (weekend) including breakfast – NIS 2,200 per couple. Two nights (mid-week) including breakfast – NIS 1,600. Breakfast – NIS 120 per couple. Average dinner – NIS 350.
“Castles that Move in the Wind,” Tel.: 972-54-224-4669