…and jasmine, falafel, lavender, musky incense, coffee, cardamom, oranges, za’atar…
Living in Haifa is a constant sensory experience. Since arriving on campus at the University of Haifa
a week ago, I’ve been overwhelmed with the colors, scents, and textures of the city.
Mornings on the mountain are hazy and everything’s coated in a golden glow. While walking to class it’s impossible not to stop and admire the view of Haifa and the harbor below. On a good day, you can see across the water past Acre or across the mountains towards Lebanon. Campus buildings have a chalky, dusty quality in a range of ochres, and the blue sky melting into the sea is the best view to wake up to.
A trip downtown is even more breathtaking. Many streets buzz with locals buying falafel or bargaining in the markets. There are fresh juice stands on every corner, groups of older men chatting and sipping Turkish coffee. Flowers line the sidewalks in old coffee tins. Restaurant owners call out their daily specials and shopkeepers offer handfuls of dates, grapes, and persimmons to taste before you buy. Turn the corner and you find quieter streets leading through mazes of terraces shaded by lemon trees and decorated with rugs hanging on walls. Artichokes sit in wine glasses as table centerpieces in alleyway cafes. Incense drifts out of open windows and lavender springs through cracks in the walls of old apartments.