Love and Distance

For her I live
But I’m so far away
I cry

I wrote this piece on March 28, 2007 about my little sister when I lived on the opposite side of the world as her. It was written as part of a creative writing course with the thoughtful and caring writer and teacher Paul Belserene

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Haifa in photos

I spent three days in Haifa in April, 2013. If you’d like to learn more about what there is to do in this lovely city, check out my piece about that. If you want to know how to pack for three days, click here. Otherwise, please sit back and enjoy the (slide)show created by me for you. :)

Everything I saw in Haifa besides the Baha’i Gardens because they need their own gallery (see below!)

The Baha’i Gardens get their own gallery

To learn more about what there is to see in Haifa and details about these places, click here.

What to see while in Haifa

DSC03859
Where do you think this was taken? (Hint: There is another picture of this bridge in this post.)

In April 2013 I decided to give myself a three day adventure in Haifa. I wanted to see interesting things while making sure to keep within a tight budget.

Yeffe Nof Street (translated to "Beautiful View")
Yeffe Nof Street (translated to “Beautiful View”). More about it below.

The trip ended up costing me around 400NIS in total (including travelling to/from Jerusalem) and I had a wonderful time.  I found Haifa to be a beautiful mix of urbanity and au naturale. It’s a place where you get to see interesting and pretty things while feeling the calmness of the mountain, the forest and the sea. It was lovely.

This post includes tons of information regarding places worth seeing, including dry details like contact information and entrance fees. It’s based on the extensive research I did for myself before embarking on my adventure. I didn’t find any other resources as comprehensive as this and so, while it is not a complete list (only almost), I hope you’ll find it useful.

The attractions are mainly bunched by area. The bold writing represents details like directions, contact information and price. 

In case you thought otherwise, I’m not responsible for any decisions you make, ever, whether regarding your relationship with your boyfriend or your decision to take my advice. :) In other words, double check, don’t blindly follow and I’m sure you’ll be fine.

Also please stay tuned for a photo album from my trip coming shortly.

Public transportation on Google Maps and Wikipedia as my guide

I can’t tell you enough how amazing it was using Google Maps on my smartphone throughout my trip. It now offers public transportation information in Israel and I used that option many times every day. I also used a regular (paper) map that I got at the hostel and the two together were perfect.

One bus/subway ride in the city costs 6.60NIS. The ticket is a transfer for 90 minutes.

Also, often when I’d arrive somewhere, I’d look up the place online and read about it on Wikipedia. It was a great way to learn on the go! Continue reading “What to see while in Haifa”

How to pack for three days away

When I realized that I hate packing but do enjoy the occasional get-away, I created this packing list to try to make it less stressful. It is for travelling within the country, in Israel, but for this post I’ve added some items necessary for international travel.

Photo by mzacha.
Photo by mzacha.

In the comments, please write all items that you see are missing, for domestic and international travel.

Some obvious things, like a wallet, are not included in this list.

I have successfully used this list twice already – once for a Shabbat in Tzfat and once for a three day vacation in Haifa. Both have been happy trips, partially as a result of my good packing job. :)

Happy travels!

Food

  • Water
  • Thermos filled with hot tea (This is my thing and it’s a pleasure having this when on the road.)
  • Tea bags
  • Sandwiches
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Snacks

General

A place with no franchises

The adorable bookstore in Ucluelet

How many people need live in a place before the franchises’ radars light up?

It feels like McDonalds and Starbucks are far from paying attention to Ucluelet, West Coast Vancouver Island. This pleases me.

It’s not that franchises lack character. It’s that they have a very specific one and the cozy, homey, community feel of the place is quickly changed and replaced once a Starbucks opens on the corner(s).

It is quaint here. It is sweet. And though I’m sure there are different opinions among the locals regarding the growth of Ucluelet, I cannot help but hope it does not change dramatically, because it is specifically that tiny-ness that brings visitors like me all this way. Here I feel I can breath freely and experience the world.

Ucluelet – will nature consume me?

The edge of the world

Ucluelet is on the tip of the world. The phone book is the size of an info pamphlet. It looks like it was compiled by a socially active stay-at-home mom. Containing approximately 3000 people, it is the phone book for the local 3 small “communities”, as the residents call these “small towns” (re-categorized by yours truly, the know-it-all tourist).

Ucluelet is on the edge of my self-centred world. How so? Well, Israel is my centre. Travel 12 hours West by plane and arrive in Toronto, the place I was born. Travel another 5 hours West by air and you’re in Vancouver, the West Coast of Canada, the place of my current residence. Take an hour and a half ferry ride West and you’re on the East coast of Vancouver Island. Drive 4 hours West and you’re on the edge of the world – Ucluelet which is West Coast Vancouver Island. Here you shall be able to honestly say the blessing, “He who made the big sea”. Past the rocks and trees you see the big ocean, open to the horizon.

Ucluelet signs often include warnings of death. “Do or die” they say (paraphrased). Obviously dramatic, you-don’t-wanna-go-this-way deaths.

Wild animals like cougars and black bears are peaking out from behind the trees as you walk in the forests. Tsunamis are just revving up, waiting for the perfect moment to make their move.

Rules given to you when heading to the ocean: “Never walk on the rocks.” “Never play on the logs.” “Never turn your back to the ocean.” One imagines the ocean creeping up and grabbing you for its own.

And who knows, maybe those eagles, as adorable and pretty as their call sounds, will swoop down and carry you off to their large nests to feed you to their babies.

Or, maybe it’s not that dramatic at all. The locals do not fear these animals for a moment. And it is not 3-4 locals who are washed away annually while standing on the rocks by the ocean. It is, of course, the know-it-all tourists.

The locals scoff at the idea that one needs fear the bears. “They are scared of you!”

Well, whatever they say, a tiny part of my heart is in worry-mode as I walk in the beautiful forests surrounding the area. And, of course, I will not be climbing on the rocks next to the ocean.

But the real question is, if I am faced with a bear (which I pray I will not be), will I be able to stand facing it, slowly walk backwards and talk to it? Or will I do the instinctual act of turning and running with all the energy the adrenaline rush can support? I hope to never know.

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