Friday, July 25, 2014

Spontaneous trip to Tzfat!

Spontaneous trip to Tzfat is an understatement of what my title should be. For anyone that knows me, you know that I'm a planner. I have to plan everything from where to eat, what to order, what sites to see, etc. Just ask my study abroad roommates, I'm sure they have many stories for you! So, basically the word "spontaneous" just really isn't in my vocabulary.... that is until Wednesday night.

At about 1am, Cydnie and I decided that it would be fun to accompany some of our guy friends on a trip to Tzfat. I have been dying to go back there since before I even came back to Israel. Every time someone here mentions a day trip, I will not shut up about going to Tzfat. Every other word out of my mouth was Tzfat... (not actually, but kind of.) So, when given the opportunity to go to Tzfat, why not?! At 1am, we put our thinking caps together and all decided to look up ways to get there. No option sounded ideal, so we finally compromised and decided to take 2 buses that would then get us directly to Tzfat.


We wake up bright and early at 8:30am in order to make the 9:09am bus (to be exact.) We waited at the bus stop and the bus finally came about 20 minutes late. This now put our schedule behind 20 minutes, which as a planner, is not something I look forward to. We patiently road the bus, thinking maybe it would make up for the missed time while on the road. This didn't happen. We realized that we were going to miss the second bus to Tzfat and that another one wouldn't come for a few hours! The bus started slowing down, as we passed some cows grazing in the field. As the bus pulled aside on the highway, the bus driver kindly told us that this was our stop. The four of us looked at each other with pure confusion. We were supposed to wait here, on the side of the road, for hours until the next bus came?! We literally were intertwined with cows in the middle of no where Israel. We soon found out that we were in a little city called Olga, where the population is probably 10 and that is including the cows. Across the road we saw a gas station and decided to go in there since we had to go to the bathroom. The gas station had a little fro-yo shop and hungry Alexis decided it would be a good idea for some fro-yo at 10am... good times.

After a bathroom and fro-yo break, we decided to go back to the side of the highway and wait for the bus. We thought that there may be some chance that there would be an earlier bus! A sheirut (shared cab) stopped at our stop, where I asked the bus driver how long until the next bus for Tzfat. A woman peeked her head outside the bus and told us that the bus to Tzfat isn't for a while and that it only takes religious men and absolutely NO women! The bus driver told us to come aboard the sheirut, so we did. We asked where he was going and he told us a place called Afula. We all just started hysterically laughing because we had no idea what or where Afula was, but he ensured us that it would get us closer to Tzfat. Kevin, one of our friends with us, had to sit on the floor of the sheirut since there wasn't even enough room for all of us!

We FINALLY arrived in Afula and found someone with some helpful information! 2 more buses were needed in order to get to Tzfat, but then we would FINALLY be there! We had to make a quick pit stop in Rosh Pina and then we were on our way to Tzfat! This sounded like a great plan to us so we hopped aboard the bus to Rosh Pina!

After about 4 hours of traveling and 100 shekels spent, we reached our destination of the mystical city of Tzfat. Tzfat is home of Kabbalah, which is the mystical interpretation of the Torah. It holds an artist colony, which contains local painters, jewelers, and more. This is my favorite part about Tzfat and the aspect that made me want to come back!

The four of us walked around for a bit and then Cydnie and I ventured off on our own. We came across a winery and we were in desperate need of some food and drink. We ended up sitting at this winery for hours just talking, sipping on our wine and munching on some cheese. The view was spectacular and breath-taking so we just did not want to leave! The man working there was also a delight and sat with us for a little bit. We were the only ones in the winery, so he could afford to chill with us for a while. He told us his life story and about his spiritual journey that led him to become religious. It was so interesting hearing from someone who did not grow up religious. I have found that many people here decided to become more religious by choice, not because they were born into it, which I find very intriguing.

Overall, we had an amazing day trip to Tzfat, despite the little hiccups in the road. Our spontaneity helped the situation and no one was panicked which was a relief. If anything, I was the one who was most nervous, but I stayed pretty calm. We had a great day exploring the city of Tzfat and it was nice having people to adventure with.

Steps of Tzfat

Our view from the winery

Weaving a tallis

Today, my friends and I had a nice and relaxing day in the area of Sarona. It reminded me of a combination of Stepford Wives meets Parisian neighborhood. It was filled with adorable cottages that served as storefronts and restaurants. My friends and I decided to go to this place called Picnic, where they give you food in a picnic basket as well as a blanket to sit on. We camped out a spot of grass in the shade and peacefully ate our Italian delights. We then walked around and did some shopping. After that, we headed to the city center for the art market that we are obsessed with. A home-cooked Shabbat dinner was a must so after we headed to the Shuk to buy some ingredients for dinner.

It was an amazing weekend and I couldn't have asked for a better one, despite our bumps in the road. Sometimes, it's those little moments that make you appreciate the big ones. I was in good company, delicious food, and spectacular scenery... what could be better?!

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