The House That Jules Built

IMG_0330A couple of blocks from the beach, we drove up a quiet residential road, lined on either side with old-growth towering banyan trees, the sidewalk edges painted with tell-tale ‘no parking’ stripes. On cue, both cars slowed down across from a gated house and idled at the side of the road for a few moments. A few of us got out, crossed the street, snapped photos, peered into the front garden. We weren’t trespassing, but how we would have loved to take a little peek inside…

A taxi pulled up in front of the house. A young womIMG_0332an inside glanced up at me, paid her fare and opened the door. Our eyes met. Do you live here? I dared to ask. Yes, she replied in perfect English, looking at me curiously; I grew up here, it’s my parents’ home. I lit up, rambled away with a story – our story, then turned to look for the others. She lit up herself, recalling her childhood and the history of her home (the name she knew well); then invited us to enter. With surprise at our well-timed arrival and appreciatiIMG_0341on (though somewhat shy to bring in the troops), we followed her inside.

The house had been in her family for generations; first purchased by her great-grandparents. It was the first one erected on the street, surrounded at the time by nothing other than sand. As the first residents, her great-grandparents were permitted to choose their own address; they picked 100. IMG_0337

For many years the house had remained in its original state, used by her ancestors only as a summer residence. Since the house had been empty for much of the year, the neighbors had nicknamed it… the witch’s house. She laughed at the memory. Since then, the house had gone through extensive renovations, extensions, modern updates. But still, everywhere, the roots remained. Original windows and ceilings, subtle – and recognizable – signs of the architect’s touch were evident everywhere.

IMG_0334She spoke of the house, her home, with such loving memory, that I’m sure we were all grateful that this beautifully designed house had ended up in her family’s hands for so long. It was clear that they had treated it as a gem, with great care, to be treasured for many more generations to come.

For us, it was a walk through time, and more personally, through a slice of our own personal history. It was one of the houses that Jules, my late grandfather, built.



  1. Hello, I’ve got to tell you that because of your blog I’ve decided that I’m going to walk the Camino Santiago. I’ve done some studying about the Camino and have become quite fascinated. I also read one of your post that had been reblogged from the Viking Queen. I’m not sure that’s the name of her blog, but it’s what sticks out in my mind. Anyway it was the comment about what someone shared with you along the route that got me. I’m not sure I’ll be able to do this summer, but I am going to do it. The other thing I wanted to ask you is if you are interested in being a guest blogger on “Life in Russia”. Are you interested? Let me know.

    1. Hi Steve! That’s wonderful news, I’m so happy that my journey inspired you to walk that path ๐Ÿ˜‰ Let me know if you have any questions. Yes, Viking Queen was one of more friendly and interesting pilgrims that I met along the way; she has quite a life story.. that continues to fascinate.
      As for a guest blog, thanks for the invitation – sure I’d be happy to consider it. Do you want me to write about life as an expat in Bali, my current/recent travels or about something else?

      1. Any part of what you’ve experienced would be wonderful. The most important part is building a bridge, helping others see were you’ve been and opening their eyes to how important it is to have a world view. Hope to hear from you soon.
        Since I wrote my last message things have evolved a bit. I’ve been doing some investigation and found that I can actually start my trip in Moscow. It changes the trip to 5500 kilometers, which means a different mode of transportation. I’ve been an avid biker all my life, this would give me the opportunity to begin my journey from home so to speak and finish my pilgrimage in Spain. I’m finding it’s like connecting the dots, first Israel, then Cyprus, and hopefully this trip next. I have many questions, but would like to ask them outside my blog. Do you mind sharing your e-mail address? Thanks and talk to you soon.

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