Saturday, August 1, 2015
We're not the type of people who prepare for a trip by visiting travel agents, reading guide books and googling travel sites. Although I do like the thought of a nice neat itinerary, I'm not sure our family could ever stick to one. Our way of traveling is to make it up as we go along. Sometimes we don't know where we are going next until the day before. Occasionally we are limited by our last minute decisions but mostly things just have a way of working out.
Without too many plans we are open to other people's suggestions, we aren't stuck in tight schedules and we have the freedom to follow our hearts wherever they take us.
Not knowing London at all, I put the call out on Facebook a few months before we left home asking for suggestions of where to eat, what to do and where to stay. I was completely overwhelmed by the response and instead of trying to break my pattern and book well ahead, I left it and went off to focus on more pressing things like packing and planting garlic instead.
Fast forward a month and we found ourselves in Israel with a week until London and nowhere to stay.
So one hot afternoon while the girls were making a horror movie on the iPad, we got on the Airbnb site and booked an apartment for five, as close to London as we could find and crossed our fingers.
Later on that night, or maybe the next, we were flicking through the TV stations and came across a program about the street art, vintage shop and cool market tours in Shoreditch. A quick check of our Airbnb dashboard confirmed that we had hit the jackpot!! The gorgeous warehouse apartment we had booked was in Shoreditch and within walking distance of all these awesome places. So cool!!
We didn't end up taking one of those tours but we did discover a lot of it by ourselves and we loved it!! At the end of our lane way there was a long white building site barrier put up as we were leaving home on the Saturday morning, by the time we got back that night it was covered in the most incredible paintings (it was too dark for a photo - sorry). Everywhere we looked we were greeted with something incredible. Our elbows were sore from poking each other to look over here and over there.
I'd best be off now, it's time to plan for our next destination. Paris maybe? Seriously!!
And just out of interest, are you a travel planner or do you make it up as you go along like we do?
Lotsa love to you guys, I hope you are making marvellous memories.
Love Kate xoxo
Thursday, July 30, 2015
I guess the thing we've learnt about traveling with kids after six weeks on the road, is that less is mostly more. Last weekend we spent two days in London and totally smashed our own rule.
We woke early, wandered deserted streets, watched marketers setting up and looked longingly into closed coffee shops. Eventually the city started stirring and we found a cafe serving English breakfasts, which let me tell you are VERY different from the Middle Eastern breakfasts we'd become accustomed to. And the coffee...oh well....
After our bellies were full we walked all over town. We visited markets and clothes shops, we tried on vintage and new, we bought a ring, two old flannel shirts, a denim skirt, a lip balm, two European Sim cards, several skeins of sock yarn, a floral crown and a couple of tee-shirts.
We followed paper maps, we followed google maps, we got very lost and we eventually found our way.
We walked, we took a cute London taxi and we rode a double-decker bus.
We giggled at the English accents, we tried to make sense of the money, we found all kinds of public toilets and we froze our bums off in the cold wind and the rain (summer??!!).
Eventually when we could walk no more we climbed on top of a tour bus and visited the touristy landmarks.
And then that second night things fell apart. There were tears and tantrums and tired, aching legs.
But we came, we toured, we shopped and we did London.
I'm still not sure how we could do it differently next time.
Big love to you my friends, wherever you are reading this.
I hope you have the right shoes for the track your journey takes you on.
Love Kate xx
Friday, July 24, 2015
We're leaving Israel today. One more hour in the apartment packing, a couple of hours at the airport checking in and organising, five hours in the air and then London!!
Right now I'm feeling sad to be leaving Israel after such an incredible month, I'm nervous and excited about the next leg of this adventure, and I'm trying to remember to check under every bed, in between every couch cushion and behind every drawer.
I have another post in my head that I'll hopefully write in the next few days about our highlights and low lights of our trip so far, but until then here are some pics I took of the street art in Tel Aviv.
It's been one month since we have lived amongst people who speak the same language as us and it'll be so simple to make ourselves understood this evening when we ask directions to our Airbnb. Same language but new accents, currency and geography...the adventure continues...
I think ours will be spent exploring and if Indi has anything to do with it there'll be loads of shopping too.
Shalom to you my friends - see you on the other side.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
So much for my grand plans for catching up and documenting our trip up to date here. I guess sometimes a tiny apartment, too many people always talking at once and the dodgiest Internet get in the way.
Last time we came to Israel we did the tourist thing. We travelled from the middle to the bottom and then the middle to the top and did all the touristy things in between. It was fun, and educational, and exhausting, and inspiring. We learnt history and geography, we walked on 2,000 year old tiles, stayed in a hotel on the edge of a crater, we floated on the Dead Sea and sosososo much more.
This time around we wanted to do something different. This time we wanted to live in the same place for a while and get to know the people, the culture and the way of life a little. This time we planned to spend two weeks in the middle of Israel in a crazy beach side city called Tel Aviv and then travel up north to a vegetarian settlement for a week and then back to Tel Aviv before we leave.
This time we've found a couple of places that make great coffee, we've discovered that if you want to go for a run along the beach in the morning you have to leave home well before seven or it's just too hot, we've visited a gorgeous vegetarian cafe where we felt right at home, we've spent time at markets and museums and the beach, and we've gradually been getting a sense of direction as we've walked miles and miles each day.
I've got zillions of photos and tales to tell, I really hope I get around to sharing them but with only three days left here I thought the best place to start might be one story each. So here goes.
Indi - On the first day we arrived up north on Moshav Amirim we spent a while in their little shop stocking up on kitchen essentials to see us through our stay. As we were wandering up and down each aisle trying our best to read labels and make the best choices Miss Indi started to feel hot and bothered and went to sit on a bench outside. Not long after she sat down a dog came and started rummaging through someones bag of food they had left near her. When they returned and pointed to the mess and asked her in Hebrew who was responsible she confidently replied - kelev! Dog.
How cool is that feeling you get when something just clicks. A foreign country, a foreign language, a foreign word starting to make sense tiny bit by tiny bit.
Jarrah - I guess one of the fears of taking three children to a country so different to the one they live in is the food situation - what will they eat? For us, local food is one of the reasons we do love to travel, but it's always a risk with the girls.
Well I'm here to tell you that Miss Jarrah has embraced the Middle Eastern tradition of eating shakshuka for breakfast. She loves it!! After five days away up north, the first thing she wanted to do yesterday on our return was walk down the street to find a cafe serving her fave. To her delight we found a place that served the baked egg dish in a rich, spicy tomato sauce served inside a sliced round challah. You should have seen her happy face.
Shakshuka for breakfast is a very long way away from the porridge and honey that we eat at home each day but something tells me we might have to mix it up a bit when we get home.
Pepper - While we were up north we spent quite a bit of time with a gorgeous family with three girls of their own. The most beautiful thing was to watch our girls playing with theirs without the use of verbal language. To watch our seven year old and theirs pointing and gesturing and laughing. To see how quickly they worked out things they could both do together that didn't need words - things like swimming pool games, loom bands, pretending to be cats and swinging on swings and hammocks.
Mostly they were the quietest that two seven year olds playing together have ever been.
At one stage after leaving them together and coming back a few hours later, we found them all swinging on swings and hammocks with arms draped around each others shoulders giggling like crazy and calling out random words they had exchanged in each others' languages.
Much later that same night, an extremely overtired Miss Pepper leaned over to me and whispered in my ear that she loved me so much more because I speak English and she can understand what I'm saying. It's so amazing watching the big wide world opening up to them.
Along with being in charge of directions and bus timetables and currency conversion and all manner of organisation - One of the highlights of this trip for me has been watching my farmer boy share his story of this country with our girls. Listening to him talking about history in a way that engages and excited the girls is priceless.
One day a few weeks back we were walking to the Tel Aviv museum in the heat of the morning when he pulled us all over into the shade of an ancient olive tree and told us of a time 20 years ago when he was living here. An exciting time when the Prime Minister of Israel was making inroads to peace with the Palestinians only to have it smashed when he was murdered by an Israeli who opposed the trading of land for peace.
Watching our girls' faces as they heard his personal story of life here at that time, listening to their questions as they came to terms with what had happened and then feeling their hunger to see more at the memorial, to stand on the balcony where it all happened and to google it all when we got home made me so proud of our guide and so happy that our girls are experiencing this with us here.
I guess for me, as much as I've loved being here again, as much as the sunshine, the family, the markets, the food, the culture, the friends, the craziness of this country inspires me and excites me - one of the best parts of this trip for me has been that I have started drawing and painting again. I know that it's insane to think that I needed to come across to the other side of the world for that, but I think I did.
Each afternoon we've been coming home from wherever we've spent the morning and we've sat around a kitchen table and made art in our journals. We've tried to capture the flavours and feelings of where we've been and it's been awesome!! Thinking about it gives me the same excited feeling in my tummy that working with wool does. I'm thrilled to have rediscovered this part of myself that has sat unused and unloved for too many years.
As I write this Indi is sitting next to me writing in her journal, the littler two are reading Harry Potter and my farmer boy is trying to find more ways to share our Dharma school crowd funding campaign with the world. It's seven at night back home but here it's midday and time to pack up our books and head out for lunch and some exploring.
Wishing you peace in your lives and in our world.
Love Kate xoxo
Thursday, July 16, 2015
How are you? What's going on in your part of the world?
We're still here in Israel. We've moved from the middle to the top and are staying with a vegetarian community. Last time we were in Israel one of my Instagram friend suggested that we come here and visit her family who run the bakery, so we did and we loved it and now we're back.
It's much quieter here than Tel Aviv city where we've just come from and I plan to spend a bit of time catching up my blog. Maybe while the girls are writing their journals this afternoon I'll make a start. I have loads of photos and stories to tell you. Life on the other side of the world has been interesting and exciting and inspiring and terrifying and eye opening.
Oh and life on the other side of the world is HOT!!!!
People here can't believe it when we tell them it's so cold that it's almost snowing at our little farm in Australia.
OK, the girls are desperate to get to the swimming pool. I'll post again soon.
PS I have no idea why my photos are looking a bit fuzzy. I've spent waaaaaay too long this morning trying to work out what's going on. Sorry.
Thursday, July 2, 2015
For some people travel is all about the museums and galleries, for others it's about the shopping and for others it's all about the beach or the local gardens. When our family travel, our most favourite thing to do is to explore the local markets. We love craft markets, trash and treasure markets, farmer's markets, vintage antique markets, almost any old market will do.
We google them, we walk as far as we need to to reach them and then we explore them. Up each aisle and down the next, chatting to the locals, learning their stories and tasting/trying their wares, each market we find is another adventure.
On Tuesday, two days after we landed in Israel and twenty times since we'd been asked when we could visit a market, we walked to The Carmel market. We arrived pretty early to avoid being squeezed by the crowds and we explored.
We listened to the stall holders calling their wares, we smelled all the smells - some delicious and some putrid, we saw Druze women baking fresh pita and we delighted in the fact that we are back in summer fruit and vegetable season.
We bought spices and halva, lollies and apricot leather, the girls bought rings and bracelets, and we got tricked into buying way more bread than we ever wanted.
And we left there with bulging backpacks, full tummies and happy hearts feeling like our adventures have begun.
Big love and happy travels to you my friends.
I hope you're travelling well.