I slept like a log, wrote a couple of posts this morning, and then met Anna Krylov for a lovely breakfast (her partner Jay was sleeping in). You wouldn’t think that a place like the Ibis, known as a budget hotel, would have such a great breakfast spread, but it did, and I must have eaten four plates of food (I didn’t eat at all yesterday). Here’s my cozy little room at the Ibis (click all photos to enlarge them):
Below are a few photos from my trip to breakfast, served on the eighth floor.
First, there are two elevators in the Ibis: a regular one and one to use on the Sabbath, which starts at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday.
In the Sabbath elevator, you don’t push buttons or touch the door, for the elevator goes up and down continuously, stopping at every floor with the door opening automatically. This conforms to the Orthodox Jewish habit of people prohibited from doing manual work on the Sabbath. (You’re supposed to go to the synagogue and spend the day contemplating the divine and reading the Torah.
But of course the Orthodox are constantly debating about what constitutes “work” on the Sabbath, and they have clever ways of getting around it (check out this quantum light switch, still subject to hot rabbinical debate).
The shabbos elevator. DO NOT TOUCH THE DOORS!
The breakfast room at the Ibis is large, with big windows overlooking the city. And the spread of comestibles is impressive. There’s Western food, which I ignored, and Israeli and Middle Eastern stuff, which is what I seized on.
Here’s the breakfast room, with the goodies lined up at the left. There are four stations, plus two coffee machines that make regular coffee and drinks like espresso and cappuccino. I didn’t see any meat, and I suspect the buffet is kosher.
The bread station, which includes pizza (remember, pizza, especially cold pizza, is one of the finest breakfast foods). The triangular sesame rolls at upper left were fantastic, but I can’t remember what they’re called. They went well with the cheese or dairy spreads (there’s also fruit as well as chocolate croissants and sweet rolls to the side).
This sweet pastry, which I loved, is called knafeh, and I was told it’s found all over the Middle East. It’s like a deconstructed version of the Greek pastry kataifi, but this one also has cheese in it. Wikipedia notes that there are several versions. This a good dessert to finish off breakfast, accompanied by strong espresso. I had two helpings.
Below: the heart of the meal: dairy spreads, cheeses, olives, salads, vegetables, and spreads like baba ghanoush. an eggplant puree. I had these with the triangular sesame breads, though I discovered bagels later (I saw neither cream cheese nor lox). But this was absolutely delicious and filling. The dairy spreads on the right were particularly toothsome, especially when mixed with the salads:
Cheeses and more salads:
The Western food, including eggs and potatoes. I didn’t touch it, for we had plenty of this for breakfast on the Galápagos cruise, and who wants eggs when you can have all the stuff above?
I didn’t understand these placemats. Why is the guy feeding a crow?
On the way from the airport to Jerusalem, I noticed a lot of very weird statues of creatures in parks and playgrounds: