“To unpathed waters, undreamed shores.” ~ William Shakespeare
As we wandered through the halls of a mountainside, chalet-style apartment building looking for our unit, I was transported by my senses. I knew we were in the Black Forest in Germany, yet spices like za’atar, coriander and sage wafted under doorways. I heard what I thought was Arabic and maybe some Hebrew muffled through various walls and I was disoriented.
As our week continued, we saw cars pulled over on forest roads, setting up rugs for morning or afternoon prayer. We met multi-generational families traveling together to Germany from Israel and bringing all of the sounds and flavors of their culture with them. I can safely say the majority of the tourists in the Black Forest during our stay were from Israel and it peaked my curiosity.
I finally had the opportunity to talk to a lovely family from Israel at a restaurant. When I asked why they picked Germany’s forest for their holiday, the mother replied, “We wanted to see the green, dark forests and trees that seem touch the sky. We wanted to see the water that falls from the mountain and pools in lakes and rivers. We wanted to see a landscape we could only imagine from our home near Tel Aviv.”
The forest in Germany felt very familiar to me coming from the Pacific Northwest and very foreign to this family standing before me. I realized how travel is a reminder that what is normal or everyday for one person is completely awe inspiring to another. The Israeli tourists I met in the forest in Germany awakened me to a new perspective of the beauty before me that I was used to seeing, but should never take for granted.