How Leaving Home Awakened Me To What I Missed All These Years

Last Saturday, as usual for Saturdays, I took my son to my parents home. We had lunch consisting of mashed potatoes and meat cutlets – the staple dishes in my parents’ Russian cuisine. My dad read a couple of children books to Ayan. My mom reminded me of my commitments the next week and worried that I don’t exercise enough. All as usual. The same familial ritual that occurred hundreds of time before. But something was different. I wasn’t in a hurry. As a matter of fact, I wanted to stay longer. Continue reading “How Leaving Home Awakened Me To What I Missed All These Years”

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”