Posts Tagged With: Travel

A Day in Belfast…An Eternity in the Soul….

The air wore the subtlest crisp, but the sun supplied a gentle reposte, as we three feathers floated down the Belfastian streets in the late morning. 

As we meandered our way to the shoppe we had sought, we spoke of matters large and small: ambitions for the coming years of education, and further in life; whether the rubbish bin we passed had caught of its natural volition, or whether it was a mischievous arsonist who had kindled a fire in the ash receptacle which capped it. 

I, having the outrageous fortune of accompanying these twin beauties who had joined me from their Lone Star, gloried in their veritable ballet of debate, and–through even their exposition that no malice presented itself amid their bickering, I–was thoroughly enjoying the well practiced match they presented. I felt, in a word, home, not because of their assurance, but because of the rather personal display of familial exchange which I had been invited to rest within. 

Inside the bazaar, were vendors of handcrafts, food–both raw and prepared–booths in sufficient quantity and quality to activate the Pavlovian response in our salivary glands, and music of a skill quite appreciable for we the gentle masses to enjoy. 

Returned to the quieted street, it was after all a Saturday morning, we turned our promenade to follow the the smell of the water, and the flight of the seagull–those giant cockroaches of the skies, whose brazenness seemed to know no bounds as they snatched food directly from tourists hands on the beaches of Brighton but three days prior, and here practiced restraint, or perhaps simply manners, the likes of which thought unknown in this “lesser” species. 

A stranger danced upon a rail, and inspired us to our own flight, which we practiced for a score of minutes before moving along. 

Hunger commencing to gnaw at our hearts, we returned to the bazaar to procure the necessary supplies for a feast to be made upon our return to our Vagabonds lodging. 

We cooked. I offered a spoon of vegetable salad which I fed to the angel beside me as she cleaned her dishes, at once being accepted intimately and feeing as if we had known one another for several years or perhaps lifetimes, as opposed to mere hours.  I danced and sang through the preparation, as is my custom, and sat we down to eat. As a pair, we enjoyed the unique closeness that can only be provided by eating directly from the same vessel, while we reacquainted ourselves with each other after our souls’ long division. 

Others joined, and tasted of my handiwork, and we enjoyed group discussion and familiarity. 

Exiting to the rear garden, Sophie and I enjoyed a solitudinous exchange of life which can only be seen by those beyond sight. I wondered at the texture of her lips, and I peered into the sea of truth that was her eyes. She wondered, it would later be revealed, at the texture of my hands, such tired and well used tools of this artist which lay beside her, but as it would transpire, we both wondered in silence to each to the other. For what reason was our silence manifest, perhaps neither of us can say in truth, but led us forward did such silent questioning into the evening, the arrival of more lodgers and friends, and the inebriated challenge of dexterous showcase whose name is the ever simple, “table tennis.”

The night for me would end too soon, my wondering being placed upon a shelf for later discovery, as I would extract myself to complete my journey already a quartet of weeks passed–five sheets to the wind, propelled at full sail, influenced by the juice of the barley–and stumble to the rendezvous location where my steel coach lay waiting to direct me onward, to the great metallic eagle which urged my return to the reality I had lovingly misplaced for a short time of life. 

Within the sound chamber of my lyre-like heart, was the knowledge that it would not be the last meeting with the two angels who had graced me with inclusion for that day–that day which was but an unknown blip in the waveform of time…but which, within the light of my soul, felt as an eternity. 
   
    
   

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The Unknown King

The fields of auric cereals dance in the summer breeze. 
The skies are brimmed and teaming with undulating billowy blackness which gives way to grey and white and patches of blue. 
A prisoner could be I perceived, 

Or a corpse, in a steel casket meandering its way through this countryside, 

But though for the uninitiated this they see,

My voyage, rife with blessing and hardship, shall never I deride. 
I am not a prisoner, but a noble, borne upon the strength of fire breathing dragons which pull along my carriage. 
As in myth and whimsy a young Pendragon united the disparate kingdoms of the land,
Or our David, brave and belovèd of the Holy One, unified different clans within his hand,
So too am I a king in gestation, waiting for time and place to emerge,
My kingdom is the world and my banner is love,

My buckler the blessing which streams from above,

Which allows me to tap a well of strength

When the world chooses darkness and I the light,

And gives me the power to, at great length,

Continue to love and to lovingly fight.  

~N.S. Molino~

 

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Tibidabo 

The spire of luminaries beckoned to us and sparked our curiosity–what did it look like up close? So in we piled to two cabs and proceeded in our ascent of the mountain. Armed with the aperitif of the barley and the cactus, we charted our course for the unknown. 
It was already well past midnight when we arrived. The lights had been, to our dismay, extinguished upon the antique edifice. 
In a turnout of the meandering road we drank, talked, sang, and walked–we danced and joined our souls in a ballet of joyful, if inebriated, light, in an attempt to replace those which no longer shone from the church. 
Overhead in that tranquil vault, stars shot across the heavens, recalling to us the initiation of all that was and is. Upon the vegetated earth, was a stirring…into our field of view came a wild sow, startling us with her subtleness as well as reputation. 
The church itself was closed to visitors, so after inspecting the situation Ismael and Khalil heralded the way around so that we could go up atop the building, and from there gaze out upon the beauty of Barcelona at night. 
In a few hours, we would descend upon a playground and, afterward, into a private train carriage who’s sole purpose was to carry us down the hill to regain our habitations. For this brief window of time, however, we seven would find ourselves kings and queens of a night so uniquely ours that there could be no duplication.  

    
    
    
    
 

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Memory Stone

The nightclub was what you may expect: overcrowded, overpriced, overvalued, and unable to deliver. From the Apolo, however, to the beach was an easy issue on the skateboard. 
The early morning air was delightfully cooler than what had been in the previous day, and with the absence of sun there was no reproachment from nature–as if nature suggested the swapping of day and night for human activity. 
Along the promenade, I met four friends and we walked together, eventually resting with an Australian guitar player, as I sang to his accompaniment and we pulled more passersby in for an impromptu street party. 
Saying our goodbyes, we continued toward the beach. 
There in the great sea, I watched as the rising sun just peaked over the horizon, casting brush strokes of a brilliant crimson to contrast the blue-silver flicker of the waters surface. There, wearing not a stitch and floating in the primordial spirit of the water, no thoughts and all were united in grand synchronicity. 
This stone is what will recall this moment in time for the rest of my days.  

   

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Afternoon in Montpellier

Lunch was served on the piazza of a small restaurant, along an alley in a quiet section just away from the bustling tourist centre of Montpellier. 
The poet returned his pen and paper to his attaché, as he prepared his table once again to be eaten from. Nothing, however, could prepare him for the cacophony of flavour, the utter symphony of sumptuousness which awaited him. 
As he placed the first tender morsel of salmon and spinach in his mouth, he savoured it’s perfection with rapturous enjoyment. He closed his eyes as a choir of angels sang an aria to the Master of the Universe, the Endless One, the Holy One who had blessed him to be at this place, in this moment. 
Perhaps he could be fortunate to find again the same restaurant again, but the sustenance would never be the same, the singular moment of perfection having passed, and all others becoming simply a substitute, an interpretation, or a poorly drafted and misshapen twin of that impossibly delectable moment plucked from the sea of creation, for which no compliment could suffice. 
So, eyes closed and recording every jot and tittle of inscription into the book of life that he had thus far been fortunate to view, he for once held a vast appreciation for the artist who had created such an incomprehensible perfection, with the simple name of “lasagna,” as if it were sufficient enough to describe its qualities, and he basked in the glory that was the moment–that single second within time which marked the breath between that which was and that which had been or will be.  

 

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They Call me the Wonderer…I Roam Around….

It is February 10th, and I’ve started my journey to Israel and Italy!  As part of my trip, I am journaling, and will be posting entries here. I will also post one selfie per day, to see what changes there are, and what “trouble” I get into. ImageImage

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T-minus Two Months and Counting!

This morning I was sitting with my fourteen year-old son, and I had a revelation.  “Today is the 11th of December.  I’m leaving for Israel in exactly two months!  Holy crap!”  For years I have dreamed of going on a trip to Israel (or just about anywhere, as I’ve never been out of the country) but it just never seemed to be a possibility.  I live in East Tennessee, currently, and tickets from here are often in the $1100-$1400 range.  In addition to that, we have four kids!  All of us going just isn’t an option, as it would cost almost half of a year’s pay for the whole trip (once you consider food, lodging, et al), and I didn’t envision a scenario in which I would be able to go by myself.

Last year (2011), however, I made the decision to go back to school.  My wife had gone back already, and was in her second year of her associates of sciences program.  With the fact that we are low income, and have so many dependents, there is a lot of government money to help us out with tuition, so I figured now was the time!  I was sitting in orientation, and they began to talk about the study abroad program.  I wasn’t eligible, since I hadn’t completed enough hours of schooling yet (they pay for half the tuition, so they want your investment first, I guess), but my wife was eligible.  I called her, and said that it was something that she should do, to which she responded that she had thought about it but never thought it was a possibility because of the kids.  I reminded her that they are my kids as well, and she may never get another opportunity like this again.  To make a short story long, she went on the program, spent three weeks in Paris.  I stayed home with the kids–that is, until my mom flew out here from California and we all loaded up in the car to embark on a cross-country road trip.  With my wife having the opportunity to take this trip, we decided that it was fair that I could take a trip too.  Well, I decided, and she didn’t argue at least.  My wife doesn’t exactly get excited over a lot of things, so….

This last summer, I was keeping my eyes peeled for info on the best times to fly, best carriers, and best cities to fly out of, in terms of rates.  To my amazement, I found that DC was the cheapest airport to fly out of, and during November and February were the cheapest times of year.  It was now in the realm of possibility, being $400-$700 cheaper than flying out of our airport.  How to pay for the trip though?  I could use school money left over after classes were paid for, but I’d rather not deplete those funds so much.  I decided to start a GoFundMe fundraiser, and see if anyone would be interested in helping an “older” guy (34) pay for the trip that he is too old to get for free through the organization Taglit Birthright.  If you don’t know about Birthright, it is a not for profit organization that sends young jews (18-28) on two week trips to Israel to help build their jewish identities.  It is a really great program, but it is limited to those age groups, so I was ineligible.  If I engineered my own birthright trip though, I could get it done for a lot less, and be able to see things that I want to see–which may or may not be what Birthright would have me see.  In addition, I would be close to Italy, so a round trip ticket to Rome would be affordable.  By going to Italy, I could not only see historic sights and eat some great pizza, but, I could also journey to Gaeta, Italy, and search for my ancestors records while enjoying the very same streets they called home!

The GoFundMe project was a partial success, raising about 20% of the $2500 I figured the trip would cost.  More would be great–and if any of you would like to donate even $10, I would be most appreciative–but B’H/thank G-d it has been a success so far!  This brings me to the point I am at now.  I have purchased my tickets to Israel, I will be staying with a friend in Netzrat Illit for part of my time in Israel, possibly visiting a man and his family in Har Hevron, and am still working on people to stay with or places to rent in Tel Aviv, and Yerushalayim/Jerusalem.  I still need to procure my tickets from Tel Aviv to Rome, and arrangements there as well.  I’m not worried about any of it too much, I know that everything will work out fine and that G-d will provide the answers, but I do need to get off my keister and get some of this legwork done.  Two months will have gone by before I even know it!

Some of the things that I would like to do or places to see in Israel:

-Surf!  February is supposed to be a good time for surfing in Israel, and I can’t wait!

-My friend Ofer wants to take me to the Golan.  He says it is his favorite part of the country!

-Visit the Kinneret/Sea of Galilee.

-Visit the Dead Sea.

-Zichron Ya’akov, a cute seaside community.

-Tel Aviv.  I’ve heard that Tel Aviv is a lot like New York, just with more jews!  For many, this might not be a good thing, but I’m excited!

-Jerusalem.  Old city, new city, arab quarter, the Kotel (western/wailing wall), temple mount (if at all possible), the shuk (outdoor market), and anything/everthing else I can possibly take in!

-Hevron, the biblical territory of Caleb son of Y’funah (כלב בן יפנה)

-Masada, the hilltop outpost where  our ancestors fought off the Romans before ultimately killing themselves/each other so as not to be seized by Rome once the siege was complete.

-Visit Ma’ale Adumim, or one of the other settlements.

-Take thousands of photographs!

These are just the things that I can think of, off the top of my head that I would like to accomplish in Israel.  With G-d’s help, may I merit to achieve all of this and more within the tight span of two weeks!

Once again, if you would like to help out with some of the costs, I would be most appreciative.  I have set up a tier of rewards for those who are generous enough to assist me in this endeavor.

http://www.gofundme.com/4ilnto

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