Our lost together locations

Friday, June 25, 2010

Italy, Part II -- at last!

Yes, it's been a long time in coming. But between the pregnancy and buying/moving into a house, we've had a lot to occupy ourselves lately. :)

Here are some photos from the second half of our travels through Italy. From our Christmas sojourn in Padova, we scooted down to Napoli, then back up through Siena for New Year's Eve in Bologna, and a final stay in Venezia (with a day trip to Bassano del Grappa).

This slideshow covers these stops. Again, if you want to see captions, make sure you maximize the slideshow to full-screen and adjust the settings (top right-hand corner). Some photos don't have captions -- honestly, there is hardly a more photogenic city in the world than Venice, and I think most of the photos of it speak for themselves.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Italy Part I, Take 2

So I posted the photos from the first half of our Italy stay but forgot to caption them. So if you were wondering what you were looking at, going back to the last post and going through the slide show again should now provide captions (in full-screen mode, at top right).

Working on Italy Part II -- about 2/3 done. :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Photos from Italy -- Part 1

We spent almost a month in Italy, and, as you can imagine, it is one of the most picturesque places we visited. Definitely a favourite, now on our list of "gotta go back one day" (though we'll spend more time in the countryside if we do).

Our plans for a farmstay in Tuscany fell through because the day we landed in Milan there was a cold snap that dumped tons of snow on much of Europe. Tuscany, which rarely sees any snow, was buried (by their standards) under half a foot, and our hosts, without any heat at their farm, vacated to a friend's for the holidays.

So instead, after having visited Milan, Rome, and Florence, we headed for Padua (Padova) to spend Christmas with my cousin Maya, who is studying there to be a vet. We had a great time shopping in the market to prepare for our all-Jewish Christmas Eve dinner.

The photos in this slideshow are from those four cities. The next album will be the rest of our stay in Italy. :)

Remember to expand the slideshow to full-screen mode for the best viewing options!

Sunday, February 28, 2010



The People of Israel. They're beautiful. All of them. Well, most of them. Israelis themselves are great people. Most of them speak English and contrary to popular belief, they're actually safe and conscientious drivers. They may make quick/abrupt lane changes, but they tend to use their turn signals better than anywhere else I've seen.

The Places of Israel. We went to Tel Aviv (LOVED IT! Like Toronto or New York, or another largest city in a country), Yafo (quiet old part of Tel Aviv that reminded me of Kensington Market in Toronto), Rishon L'Ziyyon (where Anne/Arie, Jodi's aunt/uncle, live, which is a suburb of Tel Aviv and has 4 Flavours Falafel and Melech HaShwarma (King of Shwarma) AND Thailandi Sandwich, which are TOTALLY fantastic street food!!! It's also the home of Carmel Wine, which is what a lot of people think about when they think Israeli wine), Jerusalem (Great for the Old City and the new city too! Yad Vashem is not to be missed, in an attempt to make some sense of the Holocaust and to learn from the mistakes of the time), Haifa (beautiful Ba'hai Gardens), Tiberias (Israel's Atlantic City? Tacky and not the greatest experience), Eilat (Israel's Vegas? Tackier and bigger than Tiberias, but with more things to do.), Masada (a mountain with 900 steps, with significant Jewish/Israeli history attached to it!), the Dead Sea (The Lowest Place on Earth, with lots of salt and sulfur), Neot Hakikar (A fantastic community that's like a kibbutz, and right at the border with Jordan - with the best dates I've ever eaten! - and GREAT people), Metulla, Be'er Sheva and a few other smaller ones along the way.

The Food of Israel. There's more than a few places to get hummus, falafel, shwarma, kebabs, schnitzel and other forms of street food. Minus one tourist cafeteria, they're all good. More often than not they're great. There's more than just that. There's the fusion cuisine. The Thailand(i) sandwiches for Rishon L'Ziyyon, the superb meal/experience to be had at MachaneYehuda (spelling may be off) near the Machane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, Tmol Shilshom's kosher dairy delights (again in Jerusalem), the breakfast/brunch at Benedict in Tel Aviv, the insanely delicious gelato of Iceberg (Again, Tel Aviv) and the steak of Shmulik on Neot Hakikar, the lentil soup of XX and the great food served by Anne Lamdan in her kitchen in Rishon L'Ziyyon. But you need to make a reservation for THAT table. They're hard to come by.

That said, I suspect that most people wondered about the politics.

What would I say about the politics?

Well, I know more now than I did before I came here.

I know that there is no simple answer to what is happening in the country now, and in the future. I know that people want peace. I know that the Palestineans want peace, but don't seem to have a consistent voice of leadership and direction, and this has hindered the peace process. I know that the Israelis want peace, but don't want to continue to give up land, when surrounded by enemies and not being willing to continue to get smaller and smaller. I know that fundamentalism in any religion is a bad thing. I would like to know that there is a chance for peace for Israel, but I'm not holding out hope for that.

I know that Israel does a s**tty job of PR/explaining what has happened post-"incident" and the Palestineans/Arabs are masterful at it. This results in the world getting a one-sided report of these incidents and not hearing the whole story. Israel would benefit from better PR and talking to the press about what really happens when the world hears from another group/country.

I know that many people (Jews and Christians) refer to Israel as the Holy Land. It is. It's a spiritual haven, to be able to put your hand on the Kotel (Western/Wailing Wall) and touch thousands of years of history. For many, it's the Home Land.

In my mind, it's the Home Land for Israelis, and for any Jew if they need it. That said, my Jewish identity is weak. I thought that going to Israel, climbing Masada, touching the Kotel, going to the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock, being in the Negev Desert, seeing the Jordan River, walking in the footsteps of Moses, Isaac, Abraham and Jacob, would make me feel more Jewish.

What it's served to do is reinforce that I believe in The Golden Rule. Do unto others, as you have them do unto you. I don't believe in God, because if there was a God there wouldn't be the hatred that exists between Jews and Muslims, Arabs and Palestineans, Palestineans and Jews, Arabs and Jews, Jews and Christians, Israelis and other countries. All over the same piece of land. All in the name of "God".

Their god.

My god.

Good god!

Things wouldn't be happening all over the world, like the slaughter of innocents in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia, the Holocaust (and if try to deny it, I'll kick you in the teeth before you can think about what to do next!) and all the other natural distasters all over the world like Haiti, and most recently Chile.

There are beautiful elements to religion, as it gives people a base. It grounds people in need of that. For me, it just doesn't feel right.

Like wearing someone else's boots or clothing.

I still identify as a Jew, but culturally. As I did before.

Going to Israel did aid in my sense of Jewishness.

I like me.

I really do.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The very abridged Spain & Portugal

Some highlights -- for the sake of simplicity I've combined both our passes through Spain (Barcelona and Madrid, then later when we met up with my parents, various places all over Andalucia), and then gone on to Portugal (Lisbon, Porto and Lagos).

There were a LOT of photos in these albums, and I don't necessarily think these are all the best ones, but oh well! I did manage to keep it under 200 images, as per my goal! :)

Reminder that there are some useful viewing tips in previous blog posts.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The photos continue: Low Countries and France

These are my picks of our pics of Amsterdam, Belgium (Brussels and Bruges), and France (Paris, Lyon, and our HelpX workstay at a climbing gite in the Pyrenees).

A reminder of the USEFUL VIEWING TIPS:

You can wiggle and/or click your mouse over the slideshow for options at the bottom like pausing and restarting the slides (left-hand side), making the slideshow fullscreen (right-hand side), or selecting to view a specific image.

In full-screen mode (recommended), wiggling your mouse over the top right-hand corner gives you Show info (which allows you to see the captions for each photo - strongly recommended) and Options (like choosing the slideshow speed -- recommended: slow).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Some More UK/Ireland/London Pics

Some that I felt necessary to share.

Just 'cause.