I’ve been in Israel almost a month now and hadn’t done any sightseeing until Sunday and Monday. Of course, I knew that’s how it would be. I wanted to get to my new home first and foremost, and settle in. Since I have four plus months here, I knew there would be time to see everything later and I figured it would be better to see it when I wasn’t jetlagged. So I settled into the daily routine with the boyfriend-get up, go to the circus (For those of you who don’t know, he’s here to train and intern at the Israel Circus School and has been here since August.), come home, make dinner, go to bed. In between we watch movies and documentaries, youtube videos, read articles, and just spend time with each other talking about all kinds of things. Nothing too exciting, but definitely enjoyable. Nevertheless, I started getting antsy. All I’ve seen of Israel so far has been the road from Ramat Yeshay (where we live) to Kfar Yehosua (where the school is). Farms, cows, more farms, more cows. I’m working on hula hooping and I’m going to aerials classes to learn the trapeze, but I’m not as involved with the circus stuff here as Dan is, and I don’t really want to be. This isn’t the school for me. It’s not really the school for him, either, but it’s where he is now and circus is his passion, so he’s much more invested here than I am. I’m just along for the ride, at this point, and trying to do at least a little training in the meantime.
We recently started planning a two week trip to Egypt-Cairo and the Sinai Peninsula. We were supposed to leave the 30th of this month, but had to postpone it due to a circus event that came up. Out of frustration and restlessness, I asked if we could PLEASE just do SOMETHING in the meantime. So we did! We went to Akko (Arce) on Sunday and Haifa on Monday.
Akko has been destroyed and rebuilt, destroyed and rebuilt, destroyed and rebuilt, for thousands of years by a slew of different folks. We saw the Hospitaller Fortress/the Knights’ Halls, took a super cheesy automated tour (the Story of the Last Bath Attendant) of Hamaam al Basha (the Turkish Bath), went underground through the eerie Templars’ Tunnel, wandered around the bustling market, ate hummus (that’s HOO-muss, not humm-us) from Hummus Said’s-a little place the boyfriend’s tour book (Let’s Go) suggested, bought some fresh halva (which we crumble up and put on our cereal with sliced banana, or dried fruit) and a cute decorative elephant thing (I don’t know what to call it) to hang in the house, visited the beautiful El-Jazar Mosque, explored the fortress walls and read about Napolean’s unsuccessful attack on the city, then finished the day off with dinner, Turkish coffee, and a nargila (aka hookah) at a restaurant on the sea wall of the fortress, overlooking the Mediterranean.
Yesterday we went to Haifa. We went to the Tikotin Museum of Japanese art, walked along the promenade, took a tour of the Baha’i gardens at the Bahai’i World Center, and zipped up to the 30th floor of the Eshkol Tower at Haifa University to see Haifa from all 360 degrees. We even took a bus we were hoping was the right one across town to a hole-in-the-wall pizza place we had forgotten the name of (and forgotten to write down) because the boyfriend found it online when he was looking for gluten free places to eat in Haifa. Not only did we end up getting on the right bus, but it stopped directly outside of the pizza place, which we would have walked right past had we not been dumped off in front of it, and they had just made up some GF pizzas! Normally they need at least an hour to bake one. They make the GF pizzas by hand, whereas they make the non-GF ones with a machine (I’m assuming they mean a mixer). It. Was. Delicious. We attempted to go to the Haifa Art Museum but it was closed due to the changing of exhibits. I guess we should have looked online first. We also tried to go to the Artists’ House, but it was closed during the middle of the day. And I rode more buses yesterday than I have in the rest of my life, I think. It was a day full of fun and adventure.
I’ve been trying to learn as much of the language as I can, as quickly as I can. I feel alright about it so far. I’ve picked up a few phrases and words.
I’m working on getting pictures uploaded and edited so I can share them with you. I should be done soon! I thought I should update in the meantime, though.
And here’s a recipe, since I intend to blog about food here:
Vegan, gluten-free, quick and simple lentil soup
1 cup lentils
5 or so cups water or stock
2 medium potatoes (any kind-I’m not sure what kind mine are, since the label is in Hebrew and I’m not good at identifying potatoes), chopped
1-2 large carrots, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 medium yellow or white onion (I used yellow), diced
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 or 2 bell peppers (I used green)
1 jalapeno, chopped
In 2 quart or larger pot, saute onions, garlic, and olive oil for a couple minutes, until onions are slightly translucent. Add veggies, water (or stock), lentils, and seasoning. Stir. Bring to a boil, then simmer until lentils are fully cooked. Add vinegar, seasonings (to taste) and serve.
Inspired by this recipe from Spark People.
I hope you try it and like it as much as we did.