Tag Archives: Travel

Grand Canary Islands:Mogan, Spain

Grand Canary Islands: Mogan, Spain

Off the coast of Africa and southwest of Spain are the Canary Islands. Grand Canary Islands is a miniature continent due to the different climates and variety of landscapes found, with long beaches and dunes of white sand, contrasting with green ravines and picturesque villages. I especially love that a third of the island is under protection as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

@ hannah kozak

Grand Canary Island, España

Part of the reason I wanted to visit Grand Canary is its tropical, steady climate all year round. In the winter it’s normally 72 degrees F, and usually 85 degrees F in the summer. It’s sunny in the coast nearly all the time. I loved the feeling of the sea breeze and the trade winds helped when it became too warm. I visited the southern part of the island which is warm and sunny. The north tends to be cooler. The east coast of the island is flat, dotted with beaches while the western coast is rockier and mountainous.

Mogán is a town and a municipality in the southwestern part of the island of Gran Canaria, which is one of the three main islands making up the Province of Las Palmas in the Canary Islands, Spain. A network of canals gives the town the nickname of “Little Venice”.

Mogán, Spain

Mogán, Spain

Mogán, Spain

Mogán, Spain

Mogán, Spain

Mogán, Spain

Mogán, Spain

Mogán, Spain

Self portrait - Mogán, Spain

Self portrait – Mogán, Spain

Mogán, Spain

Mogán, Spain

Mogån, Spain

Mogån, Spain

Who's your mom?

Who’s your mom?

And, who's your mom?

And, who’s your mom?

@ hannah kozak

Grand Canary Island

And, Olivia the Artist joined me on this trip.

@ hannah kozak

Olivia in Grand Canary Islands

Grand Canary Islands: Mogan, Spain


Hay magia a la vuelta de cada esquina – There is Magic Around Every Corner -Nirja and Frigliana, Spain

There is Magic Around Every Corner

One of the many good things about Málaga, the capital of the Costa del Sol, Spain is that there are lots of towns nearby, full of interesting things. The day after arrival into Málaga, I headed out by bus to Nirja, en route to Frigliana. I heard from a photographer friend that it’s a good place for photographers to wander. Frigliana has received awards for its beauty and conservation.

The ceramic mosaics are dotted around the old part of town. These mosaics were designed by Pilar Garcia Miilan and help to narrate the story of the Moorish uprising in the area.

Shot with Rolleiflex 2.8F and Kodak Portra 400 film

Shot with Rolleiflex 2.8F and Kodak Portra 400 film

Frigliana is not in my Spain guidebook so I’m convinced it must be special. I lucked out with an overcast day, a perfect umbrella for this all white, quaint town that has the old part of town of Moorish origin and the newer part which is built more in the traditional style of a white Andalucian village. I wandered and enjoyed the contrast from busy Málaga and found magic around every corner.

© hannah kozak

Frigliana, Spain

Self Portrait - Hannah Kozak

Self Portrait – Hannah Kozak

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Boys in Frigliana, Spain

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Frigliana, Spain

Frigliana, Spain

Frigliana, Spain

© hannah kozak

Woman in Frigliana, Spain

Frigliana, Spain

Loved this wine cellar built into the wall.

© hannah kozak

Man in Frigliana, Spain

© hannah kozak

Frigliana, Spain

Mailboxes outside the road en route to Frigliana, Spain

Mailboxes outside the road en route to Frigliana, Spain

Men in Nirja, Spain

Men in Nirja, Spain

Self portrait - Frigliana, Spain

Self portrait – Frigliana, Spain

Cemetery in Nirja, Spain

Cemetery in Nirja, Spain

Nirja, Spain

Nirja, Spain

Children - Nirja, Spain

Children – Nirja, Spain

Men in Nirja, Spain

Men in Nirja, Spain

Bread shop - Nirja, Spain

Bread shop – Nirja, Spain

© hannah kozak

Man in Nirja, Spain

Self portrait with Rolleiflex 2.8F - Nirja, Spain

Self portrait with Rolleiflex 2.8F – Nirja, Spain

If we are always arriving and departing, it is also true that we are eternally anchored. One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things.
Henry Miller

There is Magic Around Every Corner


Jerusalem – The most venerated site on earth

Jerusalem –  The Most Venerated Site on Earth

From the Arthur Hotel in Jerusalem located on the famous Dorot Rishonim Street, I overlook the walking area of Ben-Yehuda Street, named after the founder of modern Hebrew, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda. Yehuda believed Hebrew and Zionism shared a symbiotic relationship.  This location is a perfect ten-minute walk from the Old City. As I feel the warm evening breeze, I hear the buzz of this midrachov, pedestrian mall. I hear the sounds of this historic city as I watch people eating at sidewalk cafes. Street musicians play their guitars as the smell of falafel cooking is in the air, while cats wander about looking up to me to say hello in the land of milk and honey. On the Sabbath morning, I hear the sound of silence. No cars, buses, or people’s voices, only the quiet that comes from respecting the day of rest.

© hannah kozak

Child in Jerusalem

Between Egypt and Mesopotamia a land bridge known as Canaan connected Africa to Asia. This land passage of Canaan which became Israel was a geopolitical death trap then and today. It was predestined to be a battlefield of the ages and is one of the most volatile locations on our planet. Scholars and holy men find her to be the navel of the world. I like to visit elevated places that are instructional and educational so Jerusalem is a perfect fit. The Four Quarters of the Old City are made up of The Jewish, Muslim, Armenian and the Christian quarters. Jerusalem causes one to look more closely at everything, not just observe and definitely stop judging.

© hannah kozak

Mother and children on the Sabbath in The Jewish Quarter, Jerusalem

Abraham’s wanderings were around 1800 BC. The first written mention of Jerusalem appeared on Egyptian clay pottery known as execration texts around 1850 BC. Jerusalem has been called the most venerated site on earth, a halfway house between heaven and earth. The Jews have always loved Jerusalem the most, almost like a best friend where the love is constant, Jerusalem never fails to give me hope and strength.

© hannah kozak

Child in Jerusalem

© hannah kozak

Boys at school in Jerusalem

I wandered into this shop called Sinjilawi while I was in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem. The colors, fabrics, smells of incense, lights and pottery grabbed my attention as I spoke to Omar Hamad, who explained to me that nine generations of his family have owned this business in the Arabic section of the Old City. I loved peeking down the fifty nine foot (eighteen meter) well that is inside their store.

© hannah kozak

Sinjlawi – Old City, Jerusalem

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Sinjlawi – Old City, Jerusalem

@ hannah kozak

Sinjlawi – Old City, Jerusalem

© hannah kozak

Children – Jerusalem

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Jerusalem

© hannah kozak

Jerusalem

© hannah kozak

Jerusalem

© hannah kozak

Israeli soldiers – Jerusalem

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Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers - Jerusalem

Israeli soldiers – Jerusalem

© hannah kozak

A favorite falafel shop in the Old City, Jerusalem

© hannah kozak

Children in Jewish Section- Jerusalem

© hannah kozak

Children in Jewish Quarter -Jerusalem

© hannah kozak

Jerusalem

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The Old City – Jerusalem

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Children playing – Old City, Jerusalem

© hannah kozak

Near the Jaffa Gate – Old City, Jerusalem

© hannah kozak

Israeli Soldiers – Old City, Jerusalem

 hannah kozak

Old City, Jerusalem

© hannah kozak

Jerusalem cat- I bring fish in my pocket to share with the wandering cats

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Shop in Jerusalem

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Another delicious breakfast in Israel – @ Arthur Hotel

© hannah kozak

Where do the children play? Old City, Jerusalem


The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania – A Symbol of Hope

The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

I made a side trip from Warsaw to visit The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania. From Warsaw, it’s an eight hour drive on tree lined roads. Since the times of the Crusaders, people have been making pilgrimages to this unusual site. It is neither easy to get to nor to find but it is well worth the journey into Northern Lithuania.

Entering Lithuania

Entering Lithuania

As we drive on the road, I see broken lamps; metaphors from the days of communism. The further east you go, the more symbols like the broken lamp one sees. My friend Hanna says “I have cake from my mother, special for you.” Her mother had baked a coffee cake for our road trip, another act of kindness. We listened to Michael Jackson, we listened to silence.

En route to Lithuania

En route to Lithuania

Poland was and is full of trees along the roads. The trees served a purpose during WWII; the main strategy was to hide the tanks from the planes. Even if a plane noticed the tanks, it’s hard to hit a tank so close to many trees.

The Road from Poland to Lithuania

The Road from Poland to Lithuania

On a hill, in the town of Siauliai, are thousands of crosses in every size and shape. Not only crosses but crucifixes, Virgin Mary statues, Lithuanian patriot carvings, tiny rosaries and effigies.The crosses combine elements of architecture, sculpture, blacksmith art, and painting. I left a wooden cross from Mexico and another from my dearest friend in a corner of the hill that seemed perfect. My friend from Poland, along with her gentle, kind son who drove us, left four crosses.

Entrance to The HIll of Crosses

Entrance to The HIll of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses

The first crosses were placed there 182 years ago by relatives killed during an anti-Russian uprising in 1831. This site is a symbol of hope, of father and freedom for the Lithuanian people.

As I climbed up and down the narrow paths, I felt stillness and in the quiet, I could sometimes hear the wind chimes blowing in the breeze, creating a special musical sound. The Hill of Crosses, like Jerusalem, is experiential. My photos cannot do justice to seeing this sight in person.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, Lithuania was occupied three times: first by the USSR in 1940, then by Nazi Germany in 1941, and finally by the USSR again in 1944. Mass deportations continued until the death of Stalin.

The site has been destroyed multiple times. The Soviet government could not tolerate such spiritual expression and in 1961 completely destroyed the hill. Every cross was bulldozed, burned and recycled. The crosses returned. The Soviets destroyed it again in 1973 and 1975.The exact number of crosses in unknown.

The Hill of Crosses took my breath away as I could feel the undefeated faith of the Lithuanian people along with hope and devotion, even amidst the suffering.
The country suffered a 33% population loss due to the Holocaust, executions, incarcerations and forced emigration.

Leaving my friend's cross

Leaving my friend’s cross

The Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses

Two crosses I placed; one from Mexico and one from my closest friend.

Two crosses I placed; one from Mexico and one from my closest friend.

The Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses

Hannah & her son, Bartek

Hannah & her son, Bartek

Self portrait in Lithuania

Self portrait in Lithuania

En route to Warsaw, Poland

En route to Warsaw, Poland

Lithuanian proverb: Visur gerai, namie greasier. “Everywhere is good to live, but home is best.”

The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania


Wadi Rum, Petra and the silence of the soul

Wadi Rum, Jordan is also known as The Valley of the Moon. The desert is desolate, filled with silence, and the mind quiets if you allow the chatter to drop. I marvel at the wandering camels just as the Bedouins do. They call the camels “The Gift of G-d” because they are fast running creatures which can go sixty-two miles (one hundred kilometers) in twenty-four hours. These camels have strength and endurance and many of them attach themselves to one owner. There are many breeds of camels besides racing and burden carrying however in Wadi Rum there is a special breed developing that loves people and being caressed. Look at this cute face, almost as if she’s saying “let’s be friends.”

© hannah kozak

Camel at Wadi Rum, Jordan

In the middle of the desert we stop for tea and cookies at a Bedouin camp with tents made from goat hair followed by a breathtaking view of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom; a famous landmark, named after the book by T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). Discovering an unknown land brings freedom to my soul.

 © hannah kozak

Tea at Boudoin camp – Wadi Rum, Jordan

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Bodouin camp – Wadi Rum, Jordan

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Seven Pillars of Wisdom – Wadi Rum, Jordan

The tour guide stops us in what seems to be the middle of nowhere and begins to pick an herb off a tree and build a fire from sticks he gathers nearby. I am charmed by our guide’s substantial gifts; a warrior who climbs the steep mountain as if it were flat ground, he is sure of himself.  He navigates through the vast desert with no GPS, creating a fresh salad in the middle of the vast space. I watch him cook onions, peppers, hot peppers on his makeshift grill and he serves my favorite,  hummus.

© hannah kozak

Lunch in Wadi Rum

© hannah kozak

Lunch in Wadi Rum desert

As I climb the summit of a naked mountain, I meet a family traveling from Madrid, Spain. The child turns to me and asks “este es un buen movimiento? o un mal movimiento?”  “Is this a good move or a bad move?” and together, while continuing to communicate to each other in Spanish, we navigate the rocks with the reach of a hand and the placement of a foot, until we reach the peak. I think of my father’s family, who were in bondage and here I am in Jordan.  I celebrate my freedom with a deep inhale and exhale at the top.

© hannah kozak

Wadi Rum view from a summit

Wadi Rum is a journey to another world where Petroglyphs are carved into the sandstone and granite, camels wander in a quiet, silent desert, the rocks seem placed here by something not of this world, and solitude is made of sand and G-d.

 © hannah kozak

Petroglyphs at Wadi Rum

© hannah kozak

Wadi Rum camel

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Wadi Rum camel buddies

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Wadi Rum camel friend

© hannah kozak

Random goat foot in Wadi Rum

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Mama and baby camel in Wadi Rum- The baby will remain close to her mother until she reaches maturity at five years. Who’s your mom?

“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince


The Lost City of Petra, Jordan

Aqaba, Wadi Rum and Petra, Jordan are referred to as “The Golden Triangle.” Crossing into Jordan from Eilat, Israel only required showing my passport eight times. We pass through Aqaba, the only coastal city in Jordan situated at the northeastern tip of the Red Sea. Aqaba has been inhabited since 4000 BC because of the strategic location of trading routes between Asia, Africa and Europe.  For a moment, I still feel as if I’m in Israel except the giveaway is all the signs are in Arabic only while in Israel the signs are in Arabic, Hebrew and English. The long stretch of highway to begin our trek to Petra awaits us. I have a big smile on my face as I see groups of black, white and tan sheep roaming on the side of the road, thirty or more and sometimes only five to six. Random goats on the side of the paved road while a sun bronzed man rides a white donkey, slapping his hand on the donkey’s neck.  At eight thirty in the morning, I already have to strip off my thick sweatshirt, which I needed earlier. I’m hard wired for new experiences, for getting out of my comfort zone and this awakens me.

@ hannah kozak

Border crossing from Eilat, Israel to Jordan

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Donkeys en route to Petra, Jordan

I’ve been dreaming of visiting and photographing Petra for many years. I came to Israel two years ago and had the one day trip set to visit but a flu struck most of the tiny country including myself. I see tumbleweed, sage-like bushes, a lone tree now and then. In the near distance, I see a group of brown and black goats with mountains. I haven’t slept in six nights and I’m hoping the ride will lull me to sleep but I don’t want to miss a goat-herd sighting. The two hour drive in the desert is quieting and then the arrival at Petra. Petra is much more than what you see in the Indiana Jones movie. It was originally meant to be a cemetery, where the rich had a place carved into the stones. The Nabateans, clever and practical people, turned it into a trading city and until the Romans invaded, it was thriving for hundreds of years. Paved roads, agricultural terraces, water harvesting systems, artwork, temples, even theatres. They were open to all cultural influences and if you look at any carved monument, you see the influence of Egyptian, Mesopotamian and Graeco-Roman, all fused into a grand unified network.  I love the camels and find their faces fascinating.

@ hannah kozak

Petra

@ hannah kozak

Camels at Petra

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Donkey in Petra, Jordan

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The Treasury in Petra, Jordan

Lunch midday in Petra was a delicious mix of vegetables, rice, potatoes. I found the food in Petra yummy everywhere I ate.

@ hannah kozak

Lunch at Petra

UNESCO has named this a World Heritage Site since 1985. This rose-red city is a must see before you die. Here are some additional shots from my day in this 8th wonder of the world.

@ hannah kozak

The Treasury in Petra, Jordan

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Camel in front of The Treasury at Petra, Jordan

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Camel – Petra, Jordan

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Camel at The Treasury – Petra, Jordan

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Girl in Petra, Jordan

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Petra, Jordan

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Petra cat

The Amra Palace hotel was full of surprises at every turn. For a mere 13 JD- Jordanian Dollar, which is US $18, there was a Turkish bath, steam room, body scrub, complete massage followed by a cup of tea in the Turkish bath and a giant pool that I had all to myself.  After walking through Petra all day with camera gear, I was aching and the treatment helped me to finally sleep after seemingly endless jet lag.

@ hannah kozak

The pool at The Amra Palace-Petra, Jordan

I woke up to an incredible breakfast selection. Four types of homemade yogurt; strawberry, blueberry, plain and vanilla with dates and figs from the desert, which I view from outside the window in my hotel.  A cook is making perfectly round mini pancakes. Apple, oranges, apricots, grapefruits, cheeses, tomato, cucumber, hummus in a dining room of marble pillars overlooking a garden of hibiscus flowers. Trip Advisor has given the Amra Palace Hotel a certificate of excellence and so do I.

@ hannah kozak

Breakfast at The Amra Palace- Petra, Jordan

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Jordanian newspaper


Old Jaffa and Eilat, Israel

Jaffa, the old city in Tel Aviv was as magical as when I visited thirty-three years ago. The small, narrow streets lead you to unique boutiques, restaurants and cafes but what I love most of all is walking along the ancient cobblestones as I spot cats wandering. Neve Tzedek and Tel Aviv have their own unique flavors but the history of Jaffa as the main entry point to the land of Israel until the late 19th century when Jews were returning to Israel, makes it astonishing for me.

©hannah kozak

Jaffa

©hannah kozak

Old Jaffa

The ability to meet people from around the world is at my fingertips with the power of social media, which although can have a loaded connotation, is actually meant to be friendly, useful and genuine. A photographer followed me on Twitter, and I followed him. I checked out his site and saw his sensitivity, ability to understand light and use shadows to evoke feeling and emotion. Check out his site on RedBubble; an incredibly diverse, creative community on the internet.

http://www.redbubble.com/people/stran9e

I wrote to him that I would be visiting Israel and asked if we could meet. Having only one evening in Tel Aviv before I left for Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city, Vicktor not only met me but helped make my experience filled with memories of Jaffa and a new, kind friend.

©hannah kozak

Old Jaffa

Vicktor drove us to Jaffa, where we walked around the ancient city, looking at the ocean and settling into a local restaurant where we enjoyed a glass of Syrah, ate appetizers of hummus and eggplant with olive oil, while discussing photography and life. I eschew groups even more so when I travel and adore one on ones so it was a perfect evening.

©hannah kozak

Old Jaffa

For my stay in Tel Aviv, I choose the ArtPlus; a brand new, sixty-two room hotel which supports the arts. The overall design mimics the ambience of art galleries and exhibition spaces.  Five famous local artists were commissioned to create the murals that distinguish the décor on each floor and my favorite; a mezuzah, reminding us of our connection to G-d, and protection, on each door.  In the morning, I left early for Eilat before having the delicious breakfast that is found all over Israel; fresh salads and hummus yumminess.

© hannah kozak

Artplus Hotel, Tel Aviv

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Goikey breakfast at Artplus

I’ve read that the truest beauty can be found in the harshest land, that G-d can be found by keeping your eyes open. As I pulled my luggage along the cobblestone streets in Eilat, feeling the sun and shedding a layer of clothing, a taxi driver slowed down, called out to me in Hebrew, and stopped his cab, to hand me the lock that had fallen off my luggage in the bus station when I arrived. I offered my hand, a smile and todah rabah, thank you very much. I was so tired from schlepping, that I hadn’t noticed the lock missing.

©hannah kozak

Old Jaffa

© hannah kozak

Old Jaffa

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Entrance to Synagogue

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Street names in tile

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Street art in Jaffa

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Jaffa cat -Who’s your mom?

The warm, balmy air feels good and I hear seagulls calling out to their friends. The breeze of this oasis reminds me I am on the coast of the Red Sea and I am grateful for my breath. I spent the late part of the day on the beach, reading “The Dovekeepers” by Alice Hoffman, a novel a friend had given me two years ago that is set during and after the fall of Jerusalem.  I promised myself I would read this book when I was in Israel and that is precisely what I am doing. The Dovekeepers takes on an added layer when traveling through this holy land. I am free and not in bondage as my father was in Nazi labor camps.  As I look out to the sea, where the calming, transparent waters remind me the animals live by the rhythm of the sun and sea, of the desert, of G-d, of life itself. The earth, and sea and desert will live on forever. I will not. I am blissful from this quiet time in the desert.

Jrr Tolkien_Not All Those


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