Saturday, January 14, 2017

Location, location, location...

Medieval Citadel
view from one of the trails within the village, overlooking the medieval fort in the nearby kibbutz Yehiam (it's about an hour hike from the studio)
As of Spring 2017, our courses will take place at Ayala Moriel's new studio in Clil, Israel. This charming little organic village is situated in one of the country's most fascinating regions, the Western Galilee, and is overlooking the Mediterranean sea (gorgeous beaches are only 20min drive), Haifa Bay and Mount Carmel. Clil provides a unique experience for students who choose to stay here* - I'd describe it as a 180 from Vancouver, for better or for worse. Here are a few details so you can get the picture (and photos from different seasons too!).
This off-the-grid village is solar-powered and has small population of under 1000 people, who live in custom-built homes and semi-temporary dwellings (yurts, teepees, modified train cars and shipping containers, etc.) that are scattered among ancient olive groves and wild bush and Mediterranean garrigue (comprising of carobs, oaks, pistachia and thorny bushes). Despite its size, the village is a community bustling with life and culture: our neighbours are the village's cafe (inside a tent) that is opened Thursday-Saturday and hosts live concerts, and there. A large percentage of the population are alternative healers (we're just across the "street" from an integrated holistic clinic offering massage, acupuncture, ayurvedic treatments, and more) as well as creative artists, who have their ateliers in the village - and some would also be happy to show you around - painters, sculptors, potters, glass artists, silversmiths and goldsmiths, basket weavers, etc. 
Dusty pastoralia #clil
Clil in summer: View of the village from the mountain behind my house.
There is a bakery that is opened twice a week (Sunday and Thursday) and offers Pizza Nights on Tuesdays. On all other days, fresh sourdough breads by other artisanal bakeries can be pre-ordered by phone, or purchased at the local Organic Garden (which tops off their own produce with other fruit and vegetables and organic goodies produced in the village and by nearby artisans). Also less relevant but sometimes handy are the village's book exchange and clothing exchange, which is open 24/7 and is completely free (take what you want and leave what you no longer use - it can come handy if you forgot to bring a hoodie or a book to read). There are three restaurants in the village - Smadar b'Clil, Cafe Clil and Chef Hagit Lidror's Vegan & Vegetarian kitchen (she will be providing most to the catering to our courses, by the way) - which also makes healthy smoothies and mouthwatering raw chocolate treats (she also teaches raw chocolate making workshops!).
Made in Clil
The "shop local" sign, where you can find various things made in the village. It's located right next to Cafe Clil (which is our next-door neighbours to the east)
Accommodations within the village include one boutique hotel, one guest house (India-style "hostel" on the second level of one of our neighbours) and countless cute cabins for short-term rent - some also offering breakfast as part of the service. Sublets among the village's inhabitants are often listed and could be arranged if booked enough in advance, and also near Cafe Clil there is a small campsite for those who enjoy a fully rustic experience, as well as Meshiv Nefesh - the centre for meditation, which also has plenty of camping space around it for individuals and groups. If you choose to stay outside of the village - we are only 20-30min drive (depending on traffic) from lovely towns that offer also many wonderful attractions to visitors - i.e. Acre and Nahariya. 
In short - there are plenty of places to explore and people to meet in Clil, so I'm sure you will enjoy your visit and find things to do and discover outside of the classroom. 
Olives and Donkeys
Ancient olive grove in winter, at the centre of the village. Near it there is now an organic garden and grocery store
You can enjoy the many hiking trails in the village all on your own (including one in Wadi Yehiam leading to the medieval citadel in Kibbutz Yehiam) - or hire the local tour guide who knows the place from the day he was born (happens to also be my brother!). There are also trail rides on horses. Thursday evenings there is a little market in the village's playground, weather permitting. And watch out for the live music at the cafe - where you can listen to up and coming artists and even already famous ones, in a very intimate setting (and the artists is usually kept as a surprise till the last minute, to prevent over crowding of the venue). The beaches nearby (only 20 minutes drive) also offer year-around conditions for swimming, surfing, SUP, and sea kayaking.
Clil is not only a place where people live differently, but also offers an alternative culture for visitors who seek to take a break from the fast-paced modern lifestyle. It's no ordinary rural place - it is bustling with music, culinary innovations, art, healing and meditations workshops and alternative medicine gatherings, and a place where one can engage and interact with artists and artisans that live here. In short - it seemed like the perfect place to return to and continue my artisan perfumery work - and create a sanctuary for this art.
* You don't have to stay within the village - there are also plenty of interesting places around to stay in, such as Akre and Nahariya - but keep in mind that in that case vehicle is a must as public transit in and out of the village only comes twice a day, very early and very late. 

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