25 May 2008

Ir Amitit / Genuine City

(Title from the David Broza song "Haifa." It's on one of the new Israeli music CDs I just uploaded. Happiness, David Broza is thy name.)

I have wanted to go to Haifa since I got to Israel. After months and months of “let’s go to Haifa” and “I wanna go to Haifa” and “I am going to leave Israel without going to Haifa,” Rafi decided a few weeks ago that we were going to Haifa for Shabbat! Rafi, it should be said here, is the best.

We did a little research, and then I talked to the people at ISSTA, the travel agency at school, and ended up at a nice place on the Haifa tayelet / promenade. We were off to Haifa in the morning, enjoying the view of highway 6, before getting to the city. We dropped off our bags, and started with a sweet lunch special at El Gaucho, a kosher Argentinean steakhouse. We ordered the standard, and we were left with so much leftover food that we were set for Shabbat lunch. Then we walked into the downtown, where they have a subway, and we just wandered the streets. After shopping, and buying some snacks for the rest of Shabbat, and a few pairs of really Israeli socks (with English words like “sporty!” and “summer!” decorating the socks), we made our way to University of Haifa. I had my heart set on visiting the University of Haifa tayelet, one of the places I remembered from my USY Israel trip in 1999. I had wanted to go back, to just sit and enjoy the view, since the second I left the tayelet that day when I was a teenager. I was so happy to bring Rafi there. It took quite a while to get to the view, because of construction and because the bus stopped kind of far away from where we meant to get off, but we finally got to the tayelet. Rafi and I had a great time checking out the view, although it was too windy to sit and really enjoy. On our way back to the road outside of University of Haifa, we stopped in a building and found a bust of Herzl. That was pretty great.

Im tirtzu, Iiiiiiim tirtzu, Ain Zo Aggadah, Ain Zo Aggadah, la-la-la, Liyot Am Chofshi B'Artzeinu. V'Eretz - Eretz! Tziyon - Tziyon! Yerushalayim!
(If you will it, it is not a dream...and so on and so forth. -- Theodore Herzl)

I love U of Haifa's tayelet. Soooo much!

"Everyone knows it's windy..."
I am happy Rafi and I went to the U of Haifa tayelet.
It was one of my favorite places in Israel when I visited in 1999.

Rafi enjoyed the walk, I think...

It's really hard to see, but there was a HUGE dandelion and I was trying to blow the seeds away. I think I look fabulous, though, so the picture gets posted...

What you see when you get to Haifa. This is the Bay (port? seashore? chof-hayam?) of Haifa.

Their Electric Company building. Pretty cool-looking.

Somebody fabulous went to Haifa!

I still haven't given up my whole one-armed-picture thing.
And I wasn't alone in Haifa, just stubborn.

Haifa has a subway. I think it has 5 stops (100% SBB-speculation).

We also went to check out the Baha’i temple, which I’d wanted to do since my trip with grad school last year. We drove by the Baha’i temple for a few days in a row in Dec 2006, and it looked amazing. Sadly, Rafi and I went to check out the temple and walk all the way down from the Promenade, but it was closed for the Baha’i international convention. All I got were these sad-faced pictures. I guess I’ll visit the Baha’i temple on my next trip to Israel.

From the top of the tayelet, looking down at the Baha'i temple, the German Colony of Haifa (as opposed to the one I live in in Jerusalem) and the port.

Me being sad that the Baha'i convention kept me from the hike down to the bottom of the slope.

Shabbat started and Rafi and I went to dinner in the hotel. The view in the dining room, just like in the rest of Haifa, was breathtaking. I know everybody is all about living in Jerusalem, but I really REALLY love Haifa. The next day, Rafi and I did a lot of walking around Haifa. I read a whole book, we went to the pool, we walked around by the Baha’i temple, checking out the international convention delegations (ok, really, their buses, since we couldn't see them inside the compound). We sat on the tayelet for a while, watching as the sun slowly set over Haifa, and Shabbat went out.

These flowers are all over Jerusalem, but this is one of the best shots I've gotten of them. I like them because they're a combination of the loud colors I enjoy so much.

Cue the Simpsons theme music -- these stacks light up at night -- bright green!

The view to the North of the U of Haifa tayelet.

It was really beautiful. I love Haifa. And I was really happy to finally get in some Haifa-time before I get out of Israel.

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