Gloria's Travel Blog

here's to a year of travelling…

Archive for the ‘Holiday’s’ Category

Hawaii

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       I went to Waikiki from December 7-15. It was my first time back to Hawaii for over 12 years. What a beautiful place to visit and go for vacation. There’s so much to do and see, but best of all there’s plenty of time for relaxation. 
      We swam by the beach and pool most days and sun tanned. It’s nice to be able to swim in December, and not have to freeze 🙂 We rented a car to be able to see more of the Island and so we went up to the North where there are more waves for experienced surfers. There was a huge competition going on but we didn’t have time to stay and watch and there wasn’t any parking in site.  The waves are crazy there some times over 10 feet tall. My brother-in-law did some crazy waves without even realizing that they were for only kamikaze surfers. I’m glad he didn’t miss any of the waves and get hit into the coral, that would have been truly unfortunate.
     One of the days I went out surfing with my sister. We had 3 person private lesson for only $25 for a 1.5 hour lesson. It was great! They took us outside on the boards and helped push us into the wave as the hardest part is the momentum in paddling. The waves were so much calmer here and I managed to make almost each wave!!! It was sooooo much fun and I rode most of the waves til the shore until I jumped off as I didn’t want to have to paddle as much 🙂  Can’t wait to go back and surf in Hawaii!!
     We went on a road trip and went to a beach with these turtles. Usually the turtles lay on the beach and people just stare at them. But they wanted to go for a swim. You were allowed to swim 2 feet away for them, so I decided why not swim with the turtles 🙂 It was amazing swimming with 3 turtles about half my size! A great experience!
     Along the road trip we stopped for some amazing snow cones. It was ice cream with shaved ice and several flavors like pineapple, coconut, mango. All I know is there were long line and It was delicious. I’m actually craving more right now that I think about it.   We also went to a little Thai restaurant that is very famous in Honolulu and they gave us this really tasty meal all from the side of a truck 🙂 
     While in Hawaii  we also went to hike Diamond Head. It’s a short hike with a long line-up in the tunnel but a gorgeous view of  Waikiki from the top.  It’s an easy hike, very accessible I wouldn’t suggest going in the peak hours likely at 10am as the lines are crazy busy but maybe go early or later in the evening.  It’s well worth the views.
     During the trip there’s a few places to go shopping too. I went to the mall nearby which was a quick minute walk from our hotel. There’s some new variety there with lots of nice designer stores. There’s the outlets just outside the downtown core which I bought several things from. I actually enjoyed the flea market of all things. It consists of many stands around the outside of a large stadium. The prices are really reasonable as this is where most of the locals shop, so you can buy many items and gifts for reasonable prices instead of the mark-up prices they have in the city. 
     We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian village in Waikiki. I really enjoyed the stay there, I highly recommend it. They have everything you’d need and more. They have a couple private pools and water slides, several stores for anything you can think of. Restaurants, bars, grocery stores, coffee shops, and a private beach. There’s also many animals like you’re in a mini zoo. You can find fish, parrots, flamingos, and penguins. I took my niece to the penguins most mornings and she loved watching them eat. She is so cute, and basically jumped into the fish pond to stare at all the fish. It’s a great place to take kids 🙂
    In Hawaii there’s so much to see & do. I’m glad I had the chance to visit again and have a break from everyday life to appreciate the world around me.

Written by gloriastarr

February 23, 2011 at 11:26 am

Last days in Israel

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My year abroad has come to a close with my last month in Israel.  It has been a great year of relaxing and spending time with my family. There were good times and times of adjustments but all well worth it.  So for this last month I decided to do all my favvorite things from my time here so far.

I went to may favorite places to eat such as: Hashdera, a cheap variety of good foods in a trendy restaurant. I had malawah (flakey pankake) in Old Jaffa and a tasty chocolate croissant at the french patisiere. I had some freshly squeezed orange juice + smoothies, and couldn’t forget my favorite yogo!  I had ice cafes at both cafe cafe and my other favorite aroma cafe. There’s a lot of foods and hot spots I’m sure I’ll miss.

I ventured around tel aviv and checked out the artisan market at Nehalat Binyamin & the carmel market for a real israeli experience. I shopped along sheinken & took photos of beautiful bauhaus on Rothschild. I enjoyed bike riding throughout Tel Aviv, it was really relaxing.  I also saw this amazing fower carpet in the square. I was able to visit the Ashkelon Marina & swim in this country club. But of course my time wouldn’t be complete unless I visited Tel Baruch beach again for some swimming and relaxation. I also went surfing again and can see some progress.  I also enjoyed many walks along the beach and the wonderful Tel Aviv port. I even managed to see some random guys turn their car stero up and dance disco outside along the boardwalk 🙂 Priceless,  I’ll be missing all these random happenings and the open, friendly culture.

Later I visited Jerusalem on the high holidays again (Yom Kippur). I was able to meet up with several friends before my departure as well.  I also enjoyed apples and honey to celebrate the Jewish New Year of Rosh HaShannah.  I went to sublet, and Galina again and even got a membership 🙂 I’m sure I’ll be missing all the lounge bars and clubs in Tel Aviv and the European vibe.

So ends my wonderful time in Israel and abroad. This year I’ve seen 6 countries: Jordan, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and of course Israel. It was a fabulous time abroad, well worth the experience.  So begins my new year in Vancouver yet again.

Written by gloriastarr

October 21, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Shavuot

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Shavuot is a Jewish holiday also known as the feast of the weeks.  This holiday is the anniversary where God gave the torah to Moses at Mount Sinai.  It is also the time where the first fruits of the harvest were brought to the Holy temple in Jerusalem.  On Shavuot you can often see more people consuming dairy products and wearing white. 

As I enjoying celebrating the festivals, I did wear white for 2 days (one by accident) and we had a nice dinner at my mom’s place.  I had lots of cheese which was really good.  I can’t wait to have more… more cheesecake 🙂

Tel Aviv has an annual event to celebrate the Bauhaus atmosphere of the White city.  Although not all the buildings are still white, along Rothschild the happening area they are many Bauhaus style buildings which are white as per the city regulations.  These buildings have beautiful architecture: right angles, round features, curved balconies, and a more open air feel.  They mix the socialist idea with the immigrant architects mostly from Europe at the time.

 This annual White Night on May 27 brought the nostalgic feel of the 1920’s, 30s & 40s back with parties, music events and art exhibitions.  There were lots of people drawn outdoors to roam the streets.  Restaurants stay open late and some even give discounts for the night.  We saw lots of street musicians, some trapezegirls, and people walking around in white.  We even caught these exclusive jewlery designers who had some really nice things.

I really love the idea of an annual day called White night where people dress up just because and remember earlier times.  I think this would be a wonderful idea to have for Vancouver.  Think about it, summer time people come out late and enjoy in our artisans.  We have many great musicians and artists.  There could be photographers, poets, anyone wanting to share their talents.  Students could show their work for a final presentation and just enjoy in the fun.  Vancouver would make so much money in tourism with cafe’s and restaurants serving many people.  Something to a smaller scale of the fireworks.  Plus everyone says how Vancouver is so boring and needs to be more fun and have events!!  It would definetely help 🙂

Written by gloriastarr

May 30, 2009 at 8:36 pm

Holocaust Rememberance Day

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     Israel came to a standstill today as sirens blared for 2 minutes to remember the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust.  At 10am cars came to a hault & people stopped bowing their heads to remember the victims.  All the tv channels since yesterday evening have either stopped broadcasting or have memorial programs.
        I was watching another documentary this time about 2 men who escaped the Auschwitz concentration camp.  They hid inside a hallowed wood pile and covered themselves in tobacco for 3 days til the search was over.  They escaped April 7, 1944 running and hidding until they walked  140km to reach the Polish-Solvakian border.   These 2 men went on to write a 32 page report entitled the Vrba-Wetzler report.  It went on to describe the terrible conditions and autrocities happening in Auschwitz and their expansion plan for Hungary who was not yet occupied.  These men wanted nothing more to stop the blood shed and have the allies realize what was really happening at the camps.  The report was at first hid by Katsner who was negotiating the safety of 1,600 Jews from Hungary.  Later other copies made it’s way across Europe & America  and 2 months later the BBC broadcasted their stories about the gas chambers.  The allies persisted in liberating the Jews from Nazi Germany.
      It was a remarkable story and until the very end of the documentary I didn’t realize that this was indeed Rudy Vrba a family friend of ours since childhood.  We had known Robyn & Rudy Vrba since I was little.  We often had lunch with them and he would tell us how his friend & him escaped from Auschwitz which has never before been done.  He showed us his tatoo of his number labeling him a prisoner.  He was a very cherised family friend for so many years until his death in 2006.  His memories will live on of his heroism & courage, escaping Auschwitz and helping shed the light on the autrocities.

In memory of the 6 million Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Vrba

Written by gloriastarr

April 21, 2009 at 10:47 am

Passover

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Tonight marks the end of passover. This is a week long Jewish festival remembering Moses and the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. God created many miracles for the Jews to escape slavery & be brought to the promised land. In these 7 days no one is to eat leavened bread to remember the journey & how there wasn’t enough time to bake bread before leaving. I kept kosher successfully for the second time now. It was much easier to keep here in Israel versus in Italy with pizza + pasta. It wasn’t too hard either to keep from bread and it’s not good to eat so much anyways.
We had 2 big celebrations drinking wine & having Matzah to remember the occasion. Inviting lots of people to share in the time always helps.
There were many free events courtesy of the bank. I went to the Israel museum, the bible land museum, and the Jerusalem botanical gardens. I even managed to go back to Neot Kadumim, where I planted my tree. It was nice to come back and enjoy all the biblical land reserve this time.
I went to Zirkon Yakov and saw a carnival with many artisans. It was really enjoyable to see all the festivities and enjoy the street music. I even had cotton candy.
Glad we were able to see so much this passover. It’s a nice break and a good reminder to be thankful for all the blessings God gives us.

Written by gloriastarr

April 16, 2009 at 12:39 am

Purim

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   Purim is a festival they celebrates the deliverance of  the Jewish people from the Persian Empire.  It is the famous story of Esther.  In Israel they celebrate with 3 days of parties.
    This year being my first year was so much fun!  On the First day I went with my mom & nephew to Apollonia, ruins of an old Crusader fortress off a cliff.  It’s been around since the Persians in 586BCE.  It has a beautiful view and from what was uncovered it was nice to see, but I’m sure there’s more still to be uncovered below.
    The evening of the first day is when everything begins so after a nice dinner where I made this spicy cucumber soup which was a hit.  My sis & I went out to meet my sis & her husband to go to the Florentine street party.  Yes that’s right, street party!  There were over 10,000 people out in Tel Aviv alone and I’m sure most were at this party.  It was filled with adults dressed up having a good time, drinking beer outside and dancing.  I dressed up like a cat, my sis as pochahontas, the other as an Indian in a Sari.  It was lots of fun to go and see.  I really can’t believe how many people showed up.  It was like going to the fireworks but with everyone in costumes and all in about 20blocks together.  You could hardly move by.  It was a blast I stayed up til 3:45am!!
    The second day I was exausted but woke up and we went to a carnival near our house.  A nice family event.  Then we were invited out for a special lunch with a family with all the things you’d have at a normal purim meal.  There was lots of food.
   The third day we went to Jerusalem.  I ended up seeing the city of David remains.  It’s near the Arab quarter and sometimes can be dangerous so I haven’t ventured out before.  I saw this great 3d movie about the Bible and what was previously there;  it was really lifelike and informative.  I saw Hezekiah’s tunnel with the water from the Gihon but chose the cannanite dry tunnel.  It was really great to finally visit.  After we went to the Western Wall and off for a really tasty burger.  So many people were dressed up and drunk.  It’s apparently biblical to be drunk on purim and so all the religious people are smashed.  It’s quite funny to watch.
    The 3 days just ended so Eitan is back to school and I am recovering from little sleep.  Can’t wait for next year!

Written by gloriastarr

March 12, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Happy New Years

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Happy New Year! It’s finally here 2009! It’s almost hard to believe. My sister and I rang in the New Year with some Limoncello in Tel Aviv. We took more of a relaxed approach after finding the places crowded with lots of smoke. Changes are good. I wonder what 2009 will bring. I’m sure many things will change and  as this New Year begins.

This 2009 I find myself in Israel in War. I guess it was bound to happen after traveling here over half a dozen times. The war started 2 days before we came back from Madrid. We didn’t have a hard time entering Israel again either. Besides the one security guy asking us for an immediate passport check after just getting off the plane (weird). We normally wait for another 10 min walk to get checked. Other then that it was pretty easy.

I am staying in Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan, the middle of Israel. Everything goes on as normal here due to it’s geography. It’s likely the safest place to be in the middle of it all. There’s always possible attacks from Gaza and Egypt in the South. In the North there is Lebanon and Syria and in the East there’s Jordan. Israel has been surrounded for years battling with Arab nations.

So now we find this war with Gaza having lasted 13 days. In the South the towns of Sederot, Ashdod & Ashkelon are finding themselves constantly bombarded with rockets. There is anywhere from 5-15 min. for people to run for cover in a bomb shelter. Schools, and work have stopped in the south and many have come to Tel-Aviv for protection. God has protected the civilians and IDF soldiers in Israel. I continue to pray for their safety and those believers and civilians in Gaza who are not supporting Hamas. War is a horrible thing. It’s a shame that it continuously has to happen.
In this time where not too much can be done, prayer is often affective and so I ask for your prayers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24bOclbE_eg&eurl=http://www.onejerusalem.org/2009/01/a-prayer-for-the-idf-soldiers.php&feature=player_embedded

Written by gloriastarr

January 8, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Holiday's