Part of the beauty of moving house is that you get to know a whole new area of town. I have spent the last 6 years in Katamon and Rechavia. Bak'a is not completely new to me as I actually spent my first 5 months in Israel at Ulpan Etzion 8 years ago. Way back then, I got to know Jerusalem by wandering in the rough direction of where I needed to get to, taking a different route every time but knowing that if I took a wrong turn I'd eventually hit something familiar. I have been walking a new route to work every day using the same logic and have found that all roads lead to the office!
Bak'a has a certain charm - full of little streets which frequently reveal stunning new homes alongside original Arab houses with a few blocks thrown in for good (or rather, bad) measure. There is a lot of greenery as befits a more mature neighbourhood. I find the hetereogeneity of the area far more interesting than the legoland neighbourhoods which many of my friends are moving into in Modi'in, Beit Shemesh and the like.
Derech Beit Lechem, the main street, is a joy. There are restaraunts and hair dressers, dry cleaners and bakeries, butchers and greengrocers, gift shops and boutiques - I can see myself spending a lot of money along this stretch! This morning I walked into a baker's at 7:30 to be told with much mirth that he'd have rolls in another 1 1/2 hours and would I please leave him to sweep the floor. I can walk out of my front door and in to a cafe or bar in 3 minutes flat.
My morning walk now takes me 28 minutes. The west side of the street provides better shade and leaves me fresher when I arrive at the office. I walk through the park on the way, sometimes sans shoes so that I can feel the damp grass between my toes in the early morning sunshine.
Maybe I'm going over the top and romanticising a little too much but I'm very excited about everything to do with my new place - now to get the garden sorted out.....