Waking up and walking onto the beach… in your pajamas.
To my surprise, there is not a lot online in terms of backpacking in less developed countries with babies. Are we crazy? My favorite article that I found was by Jennifer Blyer in the New York Times, “Traveling in Southeast Asia With a Rock-Star Baby.” I read the article when it was first published and it was a real inspiration for me. But it was lacking practical tips. My biggest question: should we bring a stroller or just a baby carrier? A few travel forums I found suggested that the lack of sidewalks and bad roads in a lot of southeast Asia make a stroller useless. We recently invested in a Deuter baby carrier with a back system for hiking in Israel, so we thought of taking that. Or we can take our Ergo baby carrier which folds up pretty small, but it’s not as comfortable for Eden to sit in on the all-day treks we plan on doing. The idea of being stroller-less as at times when we have our backpacks on our backs is daunting. Maybe a super light-weight stroller that we can easily fold up and sling over our backs when we are in transi?. In the day-to-day here in Jerusalem, we use the UppaBaby G-Lite and we love it. It weighs nearly nothing, has an excellent sun canopy and folds very easily. And Eden sleeps in it all the time, even though it doesn’t recline. But would it hold up on a backpacking trip? Any tips from seasoned backpacking parents out there?
Tomorrow is the Jerusalem Marathon. The city has been getting ready all week and there is a feeling of excitement in the air that has made this such a fun week. The Full Marathon is going to be running right by our apartment so our street is filled with blue barriers for the crowds to stand behind and there are signs along the street directing the runners. The Jerusalem Marathon is listed as one of the top 10 marathons in the world. I’ve never run a marathon but when I do (it’s definitely on my life to-do list), this seems like a pretty cool one to run. Runners literally run through thousands of years of history, including the Old City of Jerusalem. The views are breathtaking. Watching the preparations for the marathon makes me feel really lucky to be living here in Jerusalem. It’s not New York, but I would absolutely say that it is one of the most cultured and happening cities I’ve visited in the world. Whenever my travel bug starts itching, I try to remind myself that where I live is pretty awesome too. So awesome that thousands (millions?) come here to visit every year. In honor of the marathon, all of the main streets in Jerusalem are closed and Eden’s daycare is cancelled. We have no plans to get into our car tomorrow and are looking forward to heading out to the streets to cheer on the runners. I find them so inspiring. They have determination and endurance written all over their faces. Plus we have a few friends running. With the whole city basically shut down in honor of the marathon, it feels almost like a holiday. Excited for a fun family Friday!
Last weekend, on the way to visit my parents, we drove off the road and 2 minutes later we were in the forest. Transported. From the racing hiwghway to the tranquility and calm of the forest. Winter is coming to a close here and the flowers are in full bloom. But the real blooming flower was little Eden. She is a wild outdoors kind of girl, that baby of mine. She went racing through grass as tall as she is, ran up hills and zoomed right back down, and when the moment struck her as just right, she plopped herself down in the middle of the flowers. She loves flowers, too, it seems, just like her mama. Although at this stage her affection is demonstrated by carefully and meticulously pulling all the petals off the flower. We’ll have to work on that one… As for me, I was just just purely happy. I had everything I love most- Binny and Eden by my side and nature at its most glorious. Another hiker we met showed us how to spot wild artichokes that we could eat. What is it about the forest that is so magical? The light, the sounds of the birds chirping, the bright colors, the delicacy of the grass and flowers and the awesome strength of the tall trees. How blessed we are to have such a place so close to home.
Today was too beautiful a day to stay indoors. It was so sunny that I almost felt like taking my shoes off and walking barefoot so the heat from the cement could seep into my feet. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom and it was just one of those perfect days to be walking outside. Mamila is one of my favorite places in Jerusalem. It is one of those places that seems to have captured the character of Jerusalem, where the modern and the ancient sit side by side. Jerusalem stone surrounding hip and modern stores. And languages, so many languages. Hebrew, English, French, German, and great music too. And there is always beautiful artwork on display. Bumping into one of my cousins who I haven’t seen in a while made the whole morning feel just right.
We love third world countries, but were cognizant that traveling to the poorest country in the world that has bad roads and no medical system in place was probably not the best of ideas. Usually, at the end of each of our trips, an idea for a new destination pops into my head. And that’s where we usually end up going. On our way home from Morocco, I started dreaming about Vietnam and Cambodia. We thought about Laos, but after speaking to friends that have been, decided to stick with Vietnam, which is more developed and touristy, with a quick trip to Siem Reap to visit Angkor Wat in the last week of the trip. So we booked tickets! Next step: planning our trip.
Some Morocco highlights (I was 3 months pregnant!)- and yes, I know this post is call destination: Vietnam/Cambodia ;)
Summitting the highest peak in northern Africa in the Atlas Mountains. 4167m!
Full disclosure: we couldn’t walk for the next 2 days.. But it was totally worth it.
The souks of Marrakech
Djeema el-fina. See the stork on top of the minaret?
View from our hotel room in Essouira. And my favorite picture from the trip. One of the best parts of Morocoo for me was the colors. The vibrant reds and yellows in the markets seemed to have lives all of their own. The color of Essouria was blue- both calming and confidently strong at the same time. A statement of passion, but a controlled and determined one. Blue.