Well, I'm sitting in the dining area of our vacation house getting ready to head back to Jerusalem. I thought it would be a good time to quickly say how great Haifa is. I really enjoy the atmosphere here. For those of you familiar with parts of Minnesota, there is a Duluth-esque vibe. Only based on the the fact that the city basically falls off a mountain into the sea. It's almost impossible to get anywhere without a car or taxi because it's a very round about hike to get you up the hill.
But you overlook the Mediterranean Sea and it is beautiful. The water in the sea is so warm with a riptide that tugs at you when you stand in the water. Yesterday we went for a short hike down to the beach (more about that coming on a much later post) and spent a good few hours just relaxing.
I could see myself living here. I'm not planning on making Aliyah, but if I were to move here, it would be to Haifa. The city just has a great mix of everything and although it is thoroughly modern, there is still a religious presence here. I also love the fact that the Jews and non-Jews work together and from what we saw, there was no overt aggression between the groups.
It was Allie's birthday so we went out for dinner at a Pan-Asian Restaurant called Giraffe which was really good. I had a great spicy dish called Spicy Philippine Dish. Not quite sure what exactly was in it, but it was really tasty and a little on the spicy side. Perfect.
I don't have time to fully reflect on Rosh HaNikrah (you will see pictures in a moment), but when I have the chance to, there will be a long, detailed description of that amazing place. It will come as an addendum to this chapter of the year.
I will put the closing lines to this chapter as such;
Summer ulpan was a very good way to get accustomed to living in Israel. I've started to get the feel for the cycle of the day in Jerusalem. Israeli Bureaucracy is very fun (sarcasm alert). In the end, it was a pretty painless process to get my student visa. I will need make time to cook, to shop and to do many other things to have a relaxed year, but it's starting to take great shape.
Vacation was very necessary. It was great to spend time with this group of friends and I had a very relaxed few days and got to experience some great places.
Inside the Beha'i Gardens, Looking back towards the top
The Beha'i Gardens with the city of Haifa in the background
The lower Beha'i Gardens
Panorama of Rosh HaNikrah, Click the picture to enlarge it
Water swelling in the Grotto at Rosh HaNikrah. Low Light - bad quality
White Cliff at Rosh HaNikrah
Border Crossing into Lebanon at Rosh HaNikrah
El Jazzar Mosque at Akko, Panorama, click to enlarge.
Fortress Wall at Akko