Although I complain about it, Haifa is easy enough to get around. The buses come regularly, sidewalks are universal (even on busy roads), drivers stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, and there are hundreds of cut-throughs in every neighborhood.
I complain because neighborhoods that are next to each other on the map are actually very far away. For example, from our neighborhood, it’s a long bus ride to get to the Carmel Center, which is directly to the northwest, because there’s a big canyon in between. To the east, we can actually see the bay and the port from our neighborhood, but it’s at the bottom of the mountain, and the road does several hairpin turns back and forth. If you follow the road, it’s four or five kilometers.
Almost every time I ride that bus, I wonder if it’s possible to walk. As the crow flies, it’s only a kilometer. There are stairs, although some of them are hard to find. How hard could it be? I can easily climb the 130 stairs from the mall to the southwest of us up to our neighborhood.
Last night I twisted Jeff’s arm and got him to climb the stairs up the mountain with me. We were coming back from dinner in the Qerayot, the manufacturing area near the port–that is to say, the bottom of the mountain.
I lost count after 600. He says I lost count after 700. So we estimate the total to be around 800.
We lost count because we were too busy finding the stairs. At one point someone saw us looking around in the dark and asked us where we were trying to go. She told us we could cut through her apartment building, which had two entrances: one on the first floor to the street below and one on the fourth floor to the street above…no, make that to another set of staircases to the street above.
Needless to say, my curiosity has been satisfied.