longboarding brings skating brings happiness brings places and people. one of those amazing people I got to know through longboarding is Janine La Franca. Janine belongs to the fearless girls who go downhill without turning their hair. she's a ball of energy and no surprise she's ambassador of the longboard girls crew pushing girls into longboarding – the thing that changed her life. in the beginning of this year her passion brought her to Israel. and because guest posts are my favourite posts Janine is taking over.

Israel – surrounded by conflicts but never the less a home for countless nations and religions. not necessarily the number one travel destination for a lot of people. 
until some time ago I did not have any connection to this country or its inhabitants. not till my friends from LGC went there to make a longboard movie last year.

it surprised me in a way but at the same time it made me really curious. because even in the small world of longboarding, this fact lead to differences of opinion. but Israel means so much more then political and religious conflicts. even if they are part of Israeli life.
 then in January of this year I suddenly happened to get to know the Israeli hosts of my friends, that in the same time run a longboard company – Dasilva Boards.

we instantly clicked and after a short time an invitation to their home country followed. 
I decided shorthand that I would love to get this adventure started and to visit the foreign land. for preparation I read a magazine for political education about Israel from 1995 that my sister found while she was clearing up her stuff.

I wanted to stay unprejudiced and for that reason I did not collect further information besides the experiences of friends that went there and told me positive things throughout. 
shortly after my landing and several safety checks I got a sunny and warm welcome by Ben, one of the founders of Dasilva Boards. the adventure started wit a drive to Ben’s wonderful little country house in the middle of green fields and fragrant orange trees at about 30 minutes away from Tel Aviv.

we were expected by team rider and colleague Ido and a befriended artist that already did some designs for Dasilva Boards under the name Untay.

we spent the first evening very relaxed on the cozy couches on Ben’s terrace with pleasant summery temperatures – and that in march!
the next day I had the pleasure to swim in the Mediterranean sea and to relax in a hammock hanging in the beautiful garden of Ben's friends who live right at the beach front.
 here I learned about the generosity of Israelis and that togetherness and cohesion are really important for them.

they share what they have and the most important thing is that everyone has a good time!
 above that I learned that in Israel the Saturday is like our sunday and that sunday is the beginning of the new week.
 the upcoming days were lead by changeable weather – as did the natural spectacle that I had the chance to experience on our travels from Tel Aviv to the green and luscious North followed by the warm and dry South.
 In the North at the Lebanese boarder we found new longboard track and shortly tested them on damp ground. wonderfully curved and super fast roads in a dreamy surrounding. 

the landscape with its lush green reminded me more of the Black forest (Germany) then of the Mideast or even of the Mediterranean impression from the day before. the air was fresh, clear and cool, the view offered deep green valley and castle forts.

the next day that should already change drastically.
 we drove down south – into the middle of the Israeli desert – to skate the worlds biggest crater „Mitzpe Ramón“.

it was breathtaking! dunes and sandy rocks as far as you could see. gusts of wind that changed their direction after every corner and every downhill run we did. an experience with the power of nature far off from the waves of the ocean. to round off the spectacle the sun gave us wonderful light as a gift to die away the day. that day I fell in love with the desert...

the greatest thing was that we would soon come back here to celebrate the Purim-Fest. It is similar to the carnival we know but the costumes would be chosen more after characters from fairy tales and fantasies.

in the next days some city-tripping was on the list.  Tel-Aviv is an exciting city.  In every corner you can find fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juices and it smells after oriental spices everywhere.
there are second hand markets, groceries, handcrafted goodies and art all over the city. the inhabitants seem to be self-confident and strong and you find a peaceful togetherness of every skin color, culture and religion. you can easily wander through the allies on your own and find something new and different behind every angle. be it the giant city beach, the beautiful old city of Jaffa with its big arches and little hills and parks, the singing of the Moazin that calls out for the Muslim prayers and alternative quarters like Florentine with its nice bars and terraces. actually Florentine is only a street but all the way you can find cozy cafés run by alternative people having their very unique style. it is a beautiful place to get lost at night and to discover something new all the time. I got especially fascinated by the street art that you can discover also in other parts of Tel-Aviv besides Florentine. And even by getting lost on your own you will never stay alone for long – you meet nice travelers or curious locals that talk to you and like to make you have good times.

the next weekend we packed friends, food, tents, costumes and a big sound system and we started another trip into the desert. unbelievably this day was accompanied by an interplay of rain and sunshine. the result of that were giant, lucent rainbows in the middle of Israel’s desert. first I didn't believe my eyes and was pretty fascinated. and moreover the rain created little rivers on the dry desert ground. They ran through our campground under the tents and dried quickly after.

for the end of my trip we planned to spend a day in Jerusalem. the city is older then our calculation of times and truly had more influence on our daily life of today then any other city. mighty symbols of the most important religions, like mosques, abbeys and synagogues are built next to each other. the city is surrounded by a wall and is separated in a Jewish, Christian, Armenian and Muslim district. When you look down from the accessible rooftops of the city you can find catholic priests walking next to Muslims and orthodox Jews. it's a fascinating floating on the streets on which once Jesus walked. you can observe the wailing wall, that is right next to the temple and where religious Jews speak their wishes to while in the same time young soldiers bearing heavy weapons pass by and distract the view. a city full of contrast right next to each other.

it was an exciting last day in Israel. we enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere at the farewell-evening on Ben’s Terrace – in the middle of the fields covered in the beautiful fragrance of the orange flowers again.

I will remember this trip for a long time. the country and especially the people I met there will always be worth another trip.

thanks to longboarding for this wonderful experience.
open your eyes, mind, heart and soul.

photos by Tom Goldwasser, Ben Kaufman and Janine La Franca

1 Kommentare:

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