Eileen & Ellery’s Fabulous Adventures in Israel #7: “You can get anything you want on Sokolov Street, Herzlia…*

Many of our friends have asked us what it is like to live in Israel. Through the blogs I’ve attempted to share our experiences, visiting the many antiquities, historic sites, cities, etc. that can be found here. Today, I’d like to share a video taken on Sokolov Street, Herzlia, the city where we live. Sokolov is the main shopping street in Herzlia. It is reminiscent of the days when I was growing up in Brooklyn back in the ’50’s. There are small shops everywhere. Many of the shop owners know you personally. In fact, in the video you will see Eileen stopping into one of the stores to say hello to a friend and former patient of hers. There is no Walmart to run to. It’s all here! Well there is an IKEA in nearby Natanya, but in the time we’ve spent here we’ve never had a need to shop there. We did go last year, but only to see it after it had burnt down!

Yes, you can find pretty much find anything you want right here on Sokolov Street. *My apologies to Arlo Guthrie…

Video:  Sokolov Street, Herzlia, Israel…

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Eileen & Ellery’s Fabulous Adventures in Israel #6: Jerusalem, The Western Wall (The Kotel)…

Followers of my blog know that The Kotel is the most exciting place in Israel for me to visit. This is our second visit to The Wall on this trip. Wish we could have visited more often, but sometimes life gets in the way.

A little history about The Wall for those of you who do not know or understand it’s significance to Jews throughout the world. The Wall is open 24/7 and 365 days a year. It is known in Hebrew as Ha-Kotel Ha-Ma’aravi.. The Western Wall,  dates back over 2,000 years and marks the western edge of the Temple Mount and is a surviving remnant of the Temple Mount. As part of the retaining wall of the Temple Mount, it was built by Herod the Great during his expansion of the Temple in 20 BC. The wall became the Jews’ chief place of pilgrimage during the Ottoman Period. This is  where they mourned the destruction of the temple by the hands of the Romans in AD 70. For this reason it has also become known as the “Wailing Wall”.

The plaza in front of the Wall is divided by a fence, with a large area for men on the left and a smaller area for women on the right. Anyone is allowed to approach the wall as long as their heads are covered, behave appropriately (I know, that’s hard for me), and dress appropriately. The wall acts as an outdoor synagogue with written prayers inserted into the crevices between the large stones. You can see these notes in some of our images below. On Friday night at sundown there is the welcoming of the Sabbath  which includes prayers, singing and dancing. Hopefully one day we’ll get there to observe this welcoming service.

Photography is allowed at The Wall except on the Sabbath and other holy days. It is a wonderful opportunity to shoot. Below are some images from our last visit.

Reminder: Click on one of the images below to begin the slide show.

Eileen & Ellery’s Fabulous Adventures in Israel #5: Jerusalem, the Muslim Quarter…

The Damascus Gate...entry to the Old City in the Muslim Quarter

The Old City of Jerusalem is that part of Jerusalem surrounded by the impressive 16th century Ottoman city walls and representing the heart of the city both historically and spiritually. In a city already divided, the Old City is further divided culturally and historically into four Quarters: the Jewish Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, the Christian Quarter and the Muslim Quarter

The Old City is fairly small in size compared to modern-day Jerusalem. Despite its small size, or perhaps because of it, the Old City is amazing. Much of the Old City is only accessible by walking because of very narrow streets and steps in the road. This is not a great inconvenience because the Old City is only about 1 kilometer across. The Old City is a maze of twisty alleyways and it’s difficult to keep your bearings even with a map. Then again, getting lost is half the fun—you can’t get too lost due to its size.

Of course while heading to The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Eileen and I once again got lost. The church is located in the Christian Quarter but we made a left instead of a right, (and this was with a map), so we wound up in the Muslim Quarter. The Muslim Quarter is always a busy place with lots of activity in the streets. The following video shows the Muslim Quarter as we entered it looking for the church.

Jerusalem, The Muslim Quarter…

Taking photographs of people in The Old City is kind of tricky. Unlike in Cuba and in San Miguel de Allende, most people do not like their picture taken and will turn their heads or hold up their hand blocking their face so as not to be seen. One vegetable vendor, an old Muslim lady, actually got off from the floor where she was selling her wares, grabbed a stick and started after me. I was just sorry that I wasn’t shooting video. Another vendor in the video above can be seen raising her hand so as not to be caught by the camera. Hey, it was only an iPhone! Below are some images in the Muslim Quarter that Eileen and I managed to take.

Reminder: Click on one of the images below to start the slide show…

Eileen & Ellery’s Fabulous Adventures in Israel #4: Jerusalem….

Jerusalem is one of my favorite places to shoot in Israel. The Old City is a street photographers delight. There is so much to capture. I could spend days there.

Here are a few images from our  recent trip to the Old City.

Reminder: Click on one of the images below to view in slide show…

Israel: We are safe…

Just wanted to share with everyone that Eileen and I are safe here in Israel. Actually, everything appears to be normal, as normal as life in Israel can be!

We recently went south with some friends to the area that borders Gaza. We could see Gaza City (photo above) in the nearby distance (before all the bombing of course). We visited the ANZAC Memorial…

Anzac Memorial...

which is dedicated to the Australian – New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) and is shaped like the Hebrew letter ‘A’ (Aleph) as in ANZAC.

From the top of the memorial we could see the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) guarding the area.

IDF...

Again, all is great (and safe) here.

Cuba: The Classic Vintage Cars #2 – Blue…

In a previous post I looked at the ‘Red’ cars that I found while travelling through Cuba. Most were found in Havana but many were also found in the coastal town of Trinidad. Today I look at the ‘Blue’ Vintage Cars…

(Reminder: Click on one of the images below to see them in a slide show.)

Enjoy!

Cuba: Havana Street Scenes #1 – Architecture…

Having worked for 40+ years (I know! I’m an old man) in neighborhoods that have been totally destroyed because of a variety of reasons, none of them good (rioting, arson, drug infestation etc),  I was pretty well prepared for what I would see in Havana. After 50+ years of neglect, these buildings are mostly in total disrepair and are still inhabited by  several generations of families  living together.

Staircase to apartments above...

Although in various states of Decrepitude, many of the buildings continue to show signs of the beauty Havana once was before the Cuban Revolution in 1959.

Old Havana...

Well there is hope. Old City Havana (Habana Vieja) has been designated a World Heritage Site and signs of restoration can be found.

Restoration in progress...

Here’s a look at some of the buildings we saw while walking the streets of Havana.

Habana Vieja: contains the core of the original city of Havana. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Neo-classic building in Old Havana...

Habana Vieja...now a parking lot...

Decrepitude...

Plaza Vieja: a plaza in Old Havana, it was the site of executions, processions, bullfights, and fiestas. It is also a great place to grab a locally made Cerveza.

Plaza Vieja...

Microbrew on the Plaza Vieja...

El Capitolio (National Capitol Building):  was the seat of government in Cuba until after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, and is now home to the Cuban Academy of Sciences. Its design and name recall the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C..  Completed in 1929, it was the tallest building in Havana until the 1950s and houses the world’s third largest indoor statue.

Capitolio Nacional ...

The National Capital...

El Morro Fortress: is a fortress guarding the entrance to Havana harbor; Built in 1929, Morro Castle was built because of the threat to the harbor from pirates. Dan Sniffin and I spent some time shooting there. Dan was very intrigued with the photo opportunities that the pedestrian tunnel offered.

Morro Fortress protect Havana Bay...

Tunnel in Morro Fortress...

The Great Theatre of Havana: is an opera house famous particularly for the National Ballet of Cuba. It sometimes hosts performances by the National Opera. The theater is also known as concert hall, García Lorca, the biggest in Cuba. We had the privilege of being able to shoot during one of the rehearsals.

The Great Theatre of Havana...

Lobby, The Great Theatre of Havana

The Great Theatre of Havana the home of The National Ballet of Cuba...

I hope you enjoyed a brief l0ok at the architecture in Havana as seen thru the lens of my camera.