Thanks so much to Otto for leading the group last week while I was gone. By all accounts, Otto put together a terrific new route that was welcomed by all. We will add this one – the Greenlawn Trail south along the Scioto River – to our rotation of cool downtown Columbus routes.
After an amazing 11-day trip to Israel, Andrea and I are still trying to decompress from the inspiring, historic and, at times, emotional journey across the beautiful country that is the homeland of Our People. And we both are struggling to recover from jet lag. (Changing from Standard to Daylight Savings knocks Andrea out for a week, so she’s really hurting.) In this abbreviated, jet-lagged newsletter, you will find:
- The Israeli diet
- Are you fit enough for extended travel?
- Winans new downtown Columbus store is open!
- Mazel Tov Drew & Kelsey
- Bagel Boogie 5-Miler
Fruits, Nuts, Olive Oil, and More
Andrea and I loved the meals we had in Israel. The Israeli diet is much like the revered Mediterranean Diet and is based on fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish, grains, nuts, and legumes. Oh, and wine! Israel does not import its fruits and vegetables; therefore, the availability changes with the seasons. (As it should be, right?) In Jerusalem, many Israelis buy their fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, pastries and more in the “Shuk,” the Israel market. This article from the Jewish Action Magazine discusses the Shuk and the Israeli diet. Below are some pictures from the Shuk when Andrea and I visited. I’m sorry the photos aren’t Scratch & Sniff because the aromas were intoxicating!
Fit Enough to Travel?
Andrea and I went to Israel with a group of 27 people, primarily from our synagogue. Other than the Rabbi and his wife, who are 54 and 45, respectively, Andrea and I were the youngest travelers. By my estimate, the average age of our group was late 60s. The itinerary for our trip was action-packed. As soon as we got off the plane in Tel Aviv—after about 10 hours in the air from Toronto—we boarded the tour bus and immediately started our adventure. We drove straight to Jerusalem to see the Old City. It was a full day of sites: walking, climbing stairs, standing. Actually, the first four days were nearly non-stop.
If you were looking to hang at the beach with casual strolls, this was not the trip for you. Indeed, the trip was challenging for Andrea and me—and we are in pretty good shape. We couldn’t imagine what it was like for our companions who were in less good shape. We observed the toll it took on some in our group. With all good intentions, they moved slowly to get on and off the tour bus, they struggled to keep up with the group, they were breathless after climbs at sites, they took frequent rest breaks, and even begged off on some activities.
There were others in our group who amazed me. Our tour guide, for example, is an inspiration physically and emotionally. David is 72 years old, an Israeli. He served in the Israeli army and fought the Six Day War in 1967 and the 1973 Yom Kippur War, where he was injured in battle. His body is riddled with shrapnel and he has a plastic vein in one leg. You would never know it, though. He led our group, with a serious bounce in his step, for 10 hours a day. He never let up. It is as if he is fueled by his passion for Israel and his desire to share his knowledge and love of his country to those in his charge.
Then there was Brian. At 75, he is very active. He swims for fitness and, though retired, is in the process of writing his first book. Brian is bright and interesting and engaging. He looks much younger than his age, and I’d hazard a guess he’s in better shape than most men 10 or 20 years his junior.
And there was Carole, 77, the dynamo who planned our trip. She has been to Israel more than 200 times. She accompanies her groups to Israel 3 or 4 times per year. In addition to being an active travel agent, Carole shows dogs and has established a foundation for an elementary school in Israel. She is steady and strong, and she exudes passion for life. All these people are very active—physically and mentally—which seems to be the necessary foundation for taking on a trip of this magnitude.
But, then there was Leslie. Leslie is probably in her mid to late 60s and she struggled on this trip. She knew in advance it would be a challenge, and she said she prepared for it by working with her personal trainer. (But “working out” one day a week for an hour is not going to cut it.) I was sitting with her to keep her company on one of her breaks when she admitted to me that this is probably her last big trip. She just can’t do it anymore. She just can’t keep up. Seeing Leslie come to grips with her limitations makes me sad. But I am hopeful she will regroup, take time to think about the future, and seriously work on improving her physical condition and stamina. Because she so much would like to keep traveling.
The bottom line is this: although we may reach a time in our lives when we think we need to give something up that is very important to us, there are ways we can still accomplish our goals. Better yet, let’s keep up with a fitness regimen to keep us sturdy, strong and healthy. There is no doubt that it takes being intentional—and disciplined—about exercise. There are plenty of ways to keep on moving strong, and walking with the GVWC every Saturday can be a part of it. I know many of our members have overcome obstacles and made adjustments to lead lives of fitness. You are proof that, if you have the will and the passion, there is definitely a way.
Winans Chocolates and Coffee (& Wine!)
Congratulations to Monica and Miles on the opening of their new Winans store located at the northeast corner of Rich and High Streets in downtown Columbus. I peeked in the windows before we left for vacation, and it looks really cool inside. Perhaps the GVWC will mix it up to include the downtown location in our post-walk socializing.
On a Personal Note: She Said Yes!
Congratulations to my son (and co-president of the North Carolina Chapter of the GVWC), Drew Smith. She said yes! Drew, who is not one to do anything understated, plotted an elaborate scheme to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Kelsey VanDemark. Despite the many moving parts and the countless opportunities for the beans to be spilled, everything worked perfectly on the surprise proposal: beautiful day, beautiful ring, beautiful fiancée. We couldn’t be happier to welcome Kelsey to our family. Mazel tov!!
New Albany Walking Club’s Bagel Boogie 5 Miler
The New Albany Walking Club is going to be hosting a fun walk on Sunday, July 30 at 7:30 am at The Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany. The New Albany Walking Club will be providing bagels, and a variety of spreads, coffee, tea and water post-walk. Registration is required by July 2. Please email Linda Romanoff for more details and registration.
Route of the Week
This week’s route can be found here.
Motivation of the Week
I hope to catch you all Saturday morning. Until then, as always, whatever you do finish strong!