Guachimontones – World’s Only Circular Pyramids Near Guadalajara

Guachimontones is probably one of the most interesting archeological sites in Jalisco, Mexico. One hour of driving from Guadalajara is all it takes to see the only circular-stepped pyramids in Mesoamerica and the world (update: Cuicuilco in Mexico City could also be considered circular pyramids). Even though there are buses to the site from Guadalajara, we preferred the convenience of Uber (the cost was around $20). Upon arrival we took a guide, and started the climb up the hill. Continue reading “Guachimontones – World’s Only Circular Pyramids Near Guadalajara”

4 Things I Learned After 3 Months in Mexico

It’s been 3 months since we landed in Mexico. During this time, from a complete unknown Mexico became a place whose faces, sights and smells we now recognize. We are only beginning to discover the rich cultural tapestry of this vast nation, the biggest Spanish-speaking country in the world. But some insights are already ripe enough to share. Vamos! Continue reading “4 Things I Learned After 3 Months in Mexico”

Tequila, a Small Town with a Big Name

Anyone spending more than a few days in Guadalajara, will sooner or later end up in Tequila. A small town 1.5 hours from Guadalajara, it’s the birthplace of Mexico’s national drink. Actually, Tequila can only be called Tequila if it is produced in the state of Jalisco, in or around the town of Tequila. Otherwise, it’s just a agave spirit. In our first weekend in the city, we boarded the express Jose Cuervo train and headed to Tequila. Continue reading “Tequila, a Small Town with a Big Name”

6 Faces of Guadalajara – Discovering Mexico Overlooked By Tourists

We came to Guadalajara by chance. Without knowing anything about Mexico, we were attracted by its manageable size (compared to that of Mexico City), a reputation of safety and cheap plane tickets. A composite of 3 cities – Guadalajara proper, Zapopan and Tlaquepaque, it’s a 4 million people urbanity, the second largest in Mexico. We spent here two months exploring the metropolitan without rushing. Our first encounter with Mexico, in Guadalajara I tried my first Taco de pastor, our 3-year-old beat his first piñata. And we made our first Mexican friends. Open, courteous and humble, mexicans don’t need a lot of time to win you over. Continue reading “6 Faces of Guadalajara – Discovering Mexico Overlooked By Tourists”

Puerto Vallarta, Where We Find Ourselves in Tropical Mexico

Speeding on the toll highway from Guadalajara westward to the coast of the Pacific, amidst fields of agave cactuses and withered corn, I couldn’t escape the strangeness of it all. How did we get here? A year ago, our routine life in Israel didn’t hint to any of this. Normal office job, a child, parents and friends were our world. Amidst some vague ideas about living and working abroad, nothing hinted that we’ll be studying spanish, and planning to live in Mexico for half a year. This conception just didn’t exist in our minds. Continue reading “Puerto Vallarta, Where We Find Ourselves in Tropical Mexico”

Beginner’s Guide to Biking in Vancouver (including Routes, Maps and Photos)

Vancouver is probably one the most bike-friendly cities in the world, with hundred of kilometers of trails, greenways and designated streets, all optimized for cyclists. Add to this the fact that buses and the SkyTrain allow you to carry on your bike, and what you get is a cycling paradise. So hop on, we are going on a ride. Continue reading “Beginner’s Guide to Biking in Vancouver (including Routes, Maps and Photos)”

Juan de Fuca and the Drama of the Pacific on the West Coast of Vancouver Island

The biggest island in the Pacific ocean, east of New Zealand, Vancouver island is a world of abundant nature. After spending two days with friends in Victoria, the urban center of the island and provincial capital of British Columbia, we wanted to discover it firsthand. So we rented a car and headed north-west. Continue reading “Juan de Fuca and the Drama of the Pacific on the West Coast of Vancouver Island”

Vancouver, A City That Shows How Multiculturalism Is Done

I am in a barber-shop to get a shave. Speaking with the owner, I find out he is originally from Fiji. I am at a playground, with Ayan, who plays with a girl his age. I start speaking with her father, who tells me that he came from Morocco about 10 years ago. My wife is at a drop-in center for parents and children, where she befriends a woman, who is there with her son. Her slavic accent discloses her – she is from Serbia. One of the assistants working in that center is from Argentina. The other one from Poland. This isn’t a promotional UN campaign. These are typical scenes from a daily life, here in Vancouver. Continue reading “Vancouver, A City That Shows How Multiculturalism Is Done”

Mar Saba Monastery, Another Middle Eastern Site You Must See Before You Die

Most tourists visiting Israel don’t know about it. Hell, many Israelis haven’t heard of it. But the Mar Saba monastery in the Judaean desert, less than 15 km from Jerusalem, is an incredible sight. Being one of the first monasteries in the history of Christianity, continually occupied for over 1500 years, it’s an important pilgrimage site for Christian Orthodox. For everyone else, it’s a Middle-Eastern citadel straight from the fantasy books. Continue reading “Mar Saba Monastery, Another Middle Eastern Site You Must See Before You Die”

Petra – Day 1, In Which I meet Jack the Sparrow

A six-hour night bus to Eilat, crossing the border with Jordan, another two hours from Akaba to Wadi Musa. After a sleepless night, tired and preoccupied with life, I was hardly in a mood to be impressed with anything. But when after walking the great Siq (canyon) of Petra, I registered a glimpse of the famous Treasury facade among the high rocks, I couldn’t stay indifferent. This is was the most impressive thing I saw in the Middle East. Continue reading “Petra – Day 1, In Which I meet Jack the Sparrow”