Israel's northernmost town, Metulla, is so picturesque that it's hard to believe this tranquil spot is just a stone's throw from a contentious border. The tensions of the Middle East dissipate here in the charm of the European-style limestone buildings that line Metulla's quaint main street, and the city itself seems to have changed little since its founding as a farming settlement in 1896. The signs offering zimmer (German for "room") for rent enhance the Continental atmosphere. Even the weather is un-Mediterranean, with refreshingly cool mountain breezes carrying whiffs of cypress and spice plants in summer, and snow in winter.


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