A visit to post war Haifa

Moria_small.jpgI paid another visit to Haifa, this time after the war. Contrary to my previous visit, this time it was just to visit some friends and hang out. No rocket landing sites were seen this time.

I traveled from Tel Aviv with my partner from a trip to Nepal. After meeting those friends from Haifa in Tel Aviv (mentioned here), it was time to meet them as hosts, and not as refugees.

A big traffic jam welcomed us in the entrance to Haifa. The “Beer Festival” was going on at that time. This 10 year old festival has always been held on the beach in Tel Aviv. This year it moved to Haifa, as a tribute to the people that suffered the war.

Although being concentrated on the road directions, I noticed that there were lots of flags on the streets. Our hosts said that it feels like independence day. We decided to skip the festival and to go to the main road of Haifa’s nightlife: Moria street.

Barbarossa_small.jpgThe start at the Sinta Bar wasn’t promising: The place is poorly decorated and it also didn’t attract too many people. We decided not to call it a night, and we continued wandering around. Other places seemed quite active. I noticed the Frangelico and Brown (which has a branch also in my city).

Our hosts insisted on taking us to another place, and by car. I was worried that we wouldn’t find a parking spot, but they reminded me that we are in Haifa, not in Tel Aviv.

We went to the hottest place in town: Barbarossa. I don’t know if it’s named after the code name for the Nazi invasion to the USSR in WWII, but who cares. We had to stand in line, and only after our hosts used their acquaintance with the owners, we got in. This good looking place had some good looking people in it, good music and great atmosphere. The others said that the waitress was flirting with me. I deny it.

Bay_of_Haifa_small1.jpgAfter drinking “one more cup of coffee for the road” and saying goodbye to our friends and their beautiful view, I drove back home to Tel Aviv. There, I met another traffic jam at the entrance to town.

War? Our hosts described it as a terrible period. They fled to Tel Aviv only for a day or two, but stayed for two weeks. When they escaped gloomy and rocket hit Haifa, they immediately found themselves having dinner in a crowded Tel Aviv restaurant. It felt like a different world for them.

Now the war belongs to the past. It took several days for the city to get back to life. 3 weeks after the ceasefire, only the vast amount of flags on the streets are a distant memory from the dark days of the war.