Israeli Unicycle Convention

Unicycling for me is about the community. Compared to football, we are only with a few. I can’t think of anything better than unicycling with other unicyclists. The fun together, helping each other and the learning by doing. To me it’s absolutely the best thing in the world. That’s why I try to visit as many unicycle-events as I can. This blog is about my trip to Israel and the Israeli Unicycle Convention and I wrote parts of it in the places I visited like Haifa, Rehovot, Shoval, Tekoa and Jerusalem.

Israeli Unicycle Convention

The Israeli Unicycle Convention was held in a Kibbutz from April 4 through April 6. A Kibbutz is a small community, originally based on agriculture. It’s like a small village. Some have a few shops, all have a central cafeteria where you can buy food. And they have sport-facilities, like a track field, sports hall, football pitch, etc. They always have lot’s of flowers, as is normal all over the country. And April means spring, so the hills and fields are green.

The convention focussed on the social aspect. It was a great get together with really fun unicycle-games, workshops and a trial competition. There was vegetarian vegetable soup and vegetarian breakfast. The first two days I had so much fun and trained so hard, that I could barely walk the third day.

I met some really great people, that I hope to see again soon. We mostly spoke English, but sometimes also in Russian. I could also work on my Hebrew-skills as I do know the Alevbet which I learned it in the past. I also know some words and learned quite a few new ones in the past week. The Israeli Unicycle Convention really sparked my interest in putting more effort in learning Hebrew.

A cultural melting pot

Israel is a melting-pot of cultures and people. And that brings me to the food. That is out of this world here. You have eateries with kitchens from all over the world, but my favorites are the Jewish, Arab and Bedouin ones. And I prefer the little ones, almost like street food. They have roasted eggplant and zucchini. And great salads and such. It’s culinary paradise.

Yad Vashem

I can go on an unicycle adventure like this as I’m being home-schooled. It means that I learn where I am. Partly through internet (zoom, skype, etc) and partly on the spot with regional experts on things. It means I have to plan well and work hard as lessons aren’t skipped and homework has to be finished in time.

In Israel history can be found in each rock you pick up. In the past we visited so many historic sites, like the remnants of a Jewish village from 3000 years ago. Through the years we also visited Gamla (or course) and I climbed Masada at sunrise to explore the nature and the history. And I have spent many, many hours in ruins of ancient cities, Roman ports or Crusader’s castles. This time we visited Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center.

Great guided tour

We spent a full day at the center. In the morning we toured the center for 3+ hours with Dutch speaking guide Mr. De Vries (thank you Masja!). He took us through the global history of antisemitism and the holocaust and added some really interesting Dutch facts. In the afternoon we investigated the situation in Eastern Europe, from shtetl to ‘liberation’. I put liberation between apostrophes as it is very relative. I mean: how liberated are you if no one of your family is left, your house is taken away and you were betrayed by your neighbours?

Children’s Memorial made a lasting impression on me. The nazi’s killed over 1.5 million children just because they were Jewish. The memorial is huge and impressive. It’s partly in the open air. Take a look at the first picture with the pillars. It’s almost like a photo from a school-class, but the pillars could not be finished. And from the bright and sunny outside you walk into a dark hazy hall where thousands of lights surround you. The surreal experience of all those souls gave me goosebumps and rocked me to my core.

Next stop: The Netherlands

Will be traveling to The Netherlands next for a training-afternoon for the Dutch Championships Unicycling. I will be hosting a few workshops for long jump. And in the weekend I’ll be competing in the UF trials-competition organised by my coach and great wicked friend Roos Seegers. Looking forward to the friends I will meet at both events, but will leave Israel with pain in my heart (but I’ll be back soon!).

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