Category: Travel

Roman Ruins at Caesarea - Exploring Israel with Kids 7

Caesarea — Exploring Israel with Kids

One of the most amazing things about living in Jerusalem is living within spitting distance of thousands of years of history. Caesarea (pronounced Keh-sar-ee-ya) is an old Roman town on the Mediterranean coast of Israel. It’s about an hour North of Tel Aviv, and about 90 minutes from Jerusalem. On the first official day of my “staycation,” we loaded the kids into the car and headed to Caesarea bright and early,...

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Chillin’ like villians at the playground

West Jerusalem has some really great playgrounds. The Israelis have a strong culture of outdoors and activity, and we are taking advantage of it while we’re here. Last weekend was jam packed, but somehow, my husband carved out a couple of hours to head down to a local playground and let the kids run around like maniacs. Our goal was to wear the kids out so that they’d both take...

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Grace’s Baptism

The day after Bertrand returned from Cotonou with the girls, the monks from the monastery where Bertrand attends services called to remind us that we were baptizing Grace on Pentecost. We hadn’t yet found godparents, we hadn’t made any plans for a reception. Hell, we didn’t even have a dress for Grace to wear. The brothers, however, were firm. Grace would be baptized on Pentecost, and the monastery would host...

Solo Travel to Akko, Israel

Old City Akko is a tiny fishing village slash crusader fort, about half an hour outside of Haifa. Over the past thousand years, there has understandably been a great deal of development outside of the ancient walls, but the tourist attractions are all in the Old City itself. I rose bright and early to walk the rampart walls before the city woke up. Like many cities in Israel, Old Akko...

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More Solo Travel in Haifa, Israel

Haifa’s a neat town. Traveling alone, I wasn’t looking for bars or a music scene—just beautiful scenery, the sea, and museums. Given that, it’s possible to see everything in a day, provided you’re traveling alone and don’t have to worry about potty breaks and naps and mealtimes like you do when traveling with children. I left Jerusalem before dawn in order to get to Haifa just as the Baha’i gardens...

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Visiting the Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa, Israel

Traveling alone is a surprisingly communal experience. After years of relying on Bertrand’s charm and ability to make instant friends, I found is startlingly easy to find good company and conversation while exploring Northern Israel on my own. When Bertrand abruptly left for Benin with the girls after his father passed away, I found myself with ample time on my hands. I would follow my family to Benin two weeks...

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Happy Easter from Jerusalem

  The photo above is of Jasmine skipping down the narrow passage ways of the Old City on our way to mass at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, as the sun rose above Jerusalem this morning. Easter is my favorite religious holiday.  I find it beautiful that Christians all over the world are today celebrating second chances.  Jerusalem is often heartbreaking, and Easter reminds me that there is hope.  And...

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Our first trip to the West Bank — Biblical Bethlehem

Over the weekend, I woke up early and dragged our family out to Bethlehem. Like Ein Karem last week, it’s a quick inexpensive excursion that didn’t require a lot of advance planning.  It was more of an adventure than expected—both Google and Apple Maps failed us completely. No route available to get from our house to Bethlehem? Really? Maybe if we were Israeli passport holders, but as Americans? Please. So we...

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Seven Ways to Keep Life Balanced while Raising Expat Kids

My husband and I worry about the effect of our Foreign Service lifestyle on our children.  Raising expat kids is a real challenge!  Will they grow up rich with experiences, polyglot, and appreciative of all that they have?  Or will they grow up spoiled and entitled, used to having the world at their feet?  We hope the former, and fear the latter. A recent blog post from another mother who’s dragging...

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Ein Karem – a Tiny Oasis in West Jerusalem

Saturday afternoon, we’d finished puttering around the house, and didn’t really want to waste a beautiful afternoon indoors.  It was also late enough that we knew the kids wouldn’t last long, and we didn’t want to commit to a long expensive excursion if a breakdown were eminent.  With small children, it’s easy to get caught up in MUST! BRING! EVERYTHING! because you never know what your kids are going to...