More Jerusalem Photos and a note on Travel Posts in general

I still haven`t quite finished my blog about Israel, but I deliberately spaced this out a bit recently, as I was quite conscious that this blog was starting to look like a travel blog. My intention was always (and still is!) to write about quite a varied range of topics, but I`m pleased about and flattered by the unexpected interest in my humble holiday snaps.

I would like to (at last!!) take this opportunity to extend an especially warm welcome to over 120 (that`s one hundred and twenty!! :-)) new followers, who came since I started blogging more about travelling, and while I was not going to post more pictures of my 4th stay on Crete and 5th visit to Lisbon, you have changed my mind, and I will! I may even start posting more about Edinburgh, which is where I live. Not all at once, but that`s actually a good thing as it means I`ll not run out of material any time soon. In any case, I herewith promise to please 🙂

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… and here come some more pictures of Jerusalem (and I hope you`ll forgive me for posting them on a day where there is so many sad pictures of this country as well, due to the wildfires. But what this blog never wanted to be is the BBC). It`s Friday now, and, after a rather brief revisit of the Jewish Food Market (NOT recommended on Fridays when everyone is coming to stock up for Sabbath!), I went to have a look at the more modern part of Jerusalem:

Those pretty ornaments here have been photographed and put online numerous times before, and apart from being pretty, they`re also rather useful to provide some shade in this hot climate:

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The headscarves of the Jewish women have been fascinating me ever since I started to notice them. I didn`t even know there was a dress code for girls, and while their actual clothes are rather plain (which is the requirement), their headwear is a piece of art. It`s meant to look modest (because it conceals her hair), but to me, it looks regal, elegant and sophisticated. Sadly, I have not been able to ask anyone to teach me, but I bought a little headband for myself, which is… just a band rather than a proper scarf but, at least in, as well as on, my own head, able to replicate some of the glamour. Sadly, not entirely appropriate for the office. I almost envy those women for wearing them absolutely everywhere.

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Even though this was the modern part of Jerusalem, there was a different feel to it. I can`t quite tell whether this was because of the buildings or because people still did things like selling vegetables and fresh bread in the street…

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At the end of the day I had a less pleasant surprise. Bandora told me, but I had forgotten. When I arrived at the bus stop at 5.30pm, there was no one there but me, and the electronic timetables which reliably told me on all other days when buses were due, were out of service. A passer by reminded me that Sabbath actually starts at 5pm on a Friday, and as the buses were operated by Jews, they were already finished until Sunday morning. Obviously, (Christian) taxi drivers were used to people being caught out, as it did not take long for one to arrive and take me home.

Someone else`s garden:

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BTW, Muslims stop working at lunch time on Fridays (I desperately wanted to visit the Islamic Arts Museum but didn’t watch my time). Jews don`t work a Saturday, and Christian shops are closed on Sundays, so my souvenir shopping had to be rather well planned. Being from Germany, I know differently, but here in Britain, we are spoilt: Everything is open every single but two days of the year, which is Christmas Day and New Year, and we now expect it. They are currently trying to pass a law banning winter sales starting on Boxing Day with a view of extending family time that once a year.

Not exactly chronological order, but I saved the best thing for last: lunch in a Jewish Restaurant near the Jewish Food Market. I`ve been stuffing my face with delicious Middle Eastern things all week, but so far, had not had anything which was decidedly Jewish.

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What caught my eye was the last item listed under “first course”, because it said Fridays only. So I asked whether this were vegetarian, and the waiter grabbed my arm and took me to the kitchen to speak to the chef. What I saw there was probably the highlight of my rather full day:

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Isn`t this incredible????? I`ll leave it for another post to show you what happened to my own kitchen after I revisited the idea of mosaic tiles in Portugal a couple of weeks ago (not quite ready yet…)

 

BLACK FRIDAY

a Re-Blog from last year. I just find it so crazy.

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As usual, my husband was watching the news yesterday when I came down for my morning coffee.

When I saw the pictures on the screen, along with frenetic screaming of men and women, I paused and watched in horror. People were punching and pushing each other, and then I saw something that looked like a big ball of people, fighting. There were a couple of policemen armed with shields, but they looked powerless.

My first thought was of another terror attack.

“No.” My husband turned round and then said slowly: “This is Black Friday!”

I just don`t comprehend it. Most people say they don`t think it`s a good idea, but when the day comes, they become… obsessed. At 8am I overheard a conversation on the bus about a woman who got up at 4am to get three Kindle Fires, and then she phoned her other half to ask if she should get one for Josh as well, since it was such a bargain. Our computer system at work crashed, and a colleague received a message about discounted computer games. She quickly took orders and passed it on to her relative who was there right now. And a substantial numbers of guests in the restaurant I visited at night took a table for four for just two people, so they`d have space for all those bags.

What is this? I don`t think it`s just about the bargain – there`s bargains all year now. Is it competition, excitement, or simply wanting to be part of something which everyone is talking about?

The Christmas Consumer Madness is certainly alive and thriving: somewhere in or around Edinburgh, a male called Josh will now get a Kindle he may not otherwise have had. If he has a sibling, this kid will now need to be found something of equal value, and of course, they cannot receive less next year. So they`ll get used to getting shitloads, and when they grow up to become the givers, it`ll come natural to be equally generous. Even if bargains stopped, and even if they couldn`t really afford it. Because it`ll be expected now.

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But last weekend, I had a chat which gave me hope. A close friend, who is wonderful but very different from myself in this department, said she wasn`t doing Christmas gifting any more and had already told everybody. She doesn`t want any  more stuff, she decided, and she feels her family don`t need it either. She much rather wants more breaks, so they`ll use the  money to book themselves into a nice hotel over a weekend when all the frenzy is over, and re-charge their batteries. Love the woman! Always did, but her… fondness of things was something I thought I`d never see change. But if she can (and all by herself, her husband swears he has nothing to do with it!!) maybe all hope is not lost.

Stay safe! 🙂

Airbrush apps and thoughts about beauty and perfection

Below, a fab post about a topic which I was wanting to write about, too, for some time.

It`s about apps which beautify your selfies, and about what they do not only to our own self esteem, if we cannot keep up with our own selfies or if they show you “imperfections” of your natural self, which you never cared about before.

I also think it raises expectations which are both unrealistic and dangerous. As Paleica writes, social media became so popular, because it was authentic. But is it still?

There was that rather catty remark from a colleague about a friend, whose facebook photos were always looking so  much better than her real self: “I saw her in the street last week, and she looks nothing like that!” My initial thoughts were to defend her – if you are really that plain, but once in a while, you get a really good photo of yourself, of course, you`ll want everybody to see it.

On thinking a bit deeper however, I don`t think it`s all that cute. The woman who saw her in the street was now, in other words, telling everyone she was an imposter. And imagine she was invited to a class reunion and felt she could not live up to her own selfies. Would she still go, or would she find an excuse? Even though we all know about the apps, we kind of expect each other, and ourselves, to look like that in real life.

What I often think is that there now seems to be an expectation that you photoshop yourself. Everyone can do it, the tools are for free – there is no “excuse”. If you don`t you stick out for being mediocre – not only don`t you look good enough, you also cannot possibly value yourself, otherwise you`d at least try. It`s the same phenomenon which has been raised numerous times in relation to cosmetic surgery. The sheer availability of it has raised standards for everyone.

BTW, apparently, the selfie culture has significantly increased demand for facial surgery…

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Heute stelle ich euch eine App vor, die mich selbst sehr zwiegespalten hinterlässt. Auf der einen Seite finde ich sie genial, auf der anderen Seite aber “horrifying”. Warum stelle ich sie euch dann überhaupt vor? Weil ich selbst bis vor kurzem nicht wusste, dass es diese App gibt und ich denke, dass es nicht schadet, wenn man sich dessen bewusst ist, dass es heute kein Photoshop und ausgefeilte Retusche-Kenntnisse mehr braucht, um entweder das Beste aus sich rauszuholen oder im Kleinen und auf die Schnelle ein sehr unreales, halbwahres Bild von sich zu erschaffen.

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12 von 12 in November: Porto, Portugal 

12 pictures of the 12th day of every one of the 12 month in a year are meant to show the ordinary of a blogger’s life, but once again caught lucky me on holiday . ..

Waking up in a breathtaking bohemian flat in Porto . ..

(1st ever AirBnb experience, and I really like to support individuals rather than Big Business)

Not quite our beloved Lisbon 

but hey , it’s trying 

and maybe it’s just that the weather isn’t quite what we hoped for. As of tomorrow ,  it’s supposed to be summer again, meanwhile , there’s plenty to do indoors , such as a visit to the famous Cafe Majestic 

Or Bolho train station , which is decorated with 20.000 individual tiles:

Still, when the heavens opened once again 

We were not the only ones caught 

And after a coffee we took a rather long time over

it was time to go home already. On the way , we discovered a rather quirky arts and foods market 

and took some photo inspiration from the autumn leaves . ..

That’s 13 , I know . But I dropped two already and just couldn’t choose another one not to post . 

Book Recommendation: Happy Money

This is a gem of a book which I was lucky enough to have purchased as a hard copy so I can force this onto every single one of my friends.

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It`s about why it isn`t the amount of money you own that can buy you happiness but the way you spend it.

1. Buy experiences rather than material goods

Apparently, the most expensive item we buy in our lives, a home, does not make us any happier, while buying experiences such as socialising with friends or going on holidays does.

Makes total sense when I see the direct comparison, but personally, it`s an area I struggle with. To me, having my own home means security (I can`t be evicted, and if I`m ever in need, it`s an asset I can sell), and security is an experience which I value extremely highly. My dad however said they can take your home but but not the memories of your holidays.

2. Make it a Treat

Don`t buy the best things all the time, so you don`t get used to and stop appreciating them.

This one also makes total sense, but as so many, I often fail putting them into practice. Food items in particular are so affordable that it`s much too easy to, for example, have a bar of chocolate or a latte on our way to work every day. It stopped being a treat many, many moons ago, there may even come a sense of entitlement and then, when we have to let them go (i.e. a weight loss regime, or closure of the coffee shop) we sulk.

Or take holidays – so much more exciting for someone who hasn`t been for years than it is for someone who is used to getting away twice a year.

3. Buy Time

It`s okay to take a lesser salary if you can work closer to home and spend more time with your family. It`s usually not worth it to take a better paid job if you have to spend three hours to get there. And although it is, at least in my circle, regarded as snobbish, it`s also okay to hire a cleaner if you would find it hard to make the time to do your chores yourself, or if you simply detest housework.

4. Pay first, Consume Later

It`s so easy nowadays to consume immediately and put it on a card to pay later, but personally, II ever fflt comfortable with this.

There is also a lot to be said about delayed gratification. Apparently a nice holiday or Christmas (for most) gives much more pleasure while we are anticipating it than it does after it happened, while we remember . 

Also, if you pay for something in advance, when it finally comes, it will almost feel like a freebie. Think holiday paid at the time of booking rather than at the time of going, or a mobile phone bought outright rather than in installments via contract.

5. Invest in Others

Giving makes happy, be it time or be it money. Research shows that shopping was a much happier experience when people were given money to purchase something for someone else rather than treating themselves.

However, giving needs to be voluntary, e.g. charity donations rather than tax raises, or spontaneous gift giving rather than dutifully fulfilling expectations on certain calendar days.

If I Didn’t Post a Picture, Did It Even Happen?

The New & Old: Internet Gold

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In a world with an endless amount of social media platforms and communication outlets, it seems almost necessary to update friends and family on simply every exciting adventure in your daily life. But, only the positive things tend to be published for the world to see, leaving your life story on social media nothing but perfect.

If you do something cool, you post a picture. The better picture the more likes. The more likes, the more popular you feel. That’s the world we live in. Our perceptions of people are often based on their social media presence. How often do you find yourself referring to Instagram or Facebook accounts to figure out what people are doing/who they are dating/where they are in the world. Some people would quickly claim that they don’t participate in this behavior often referred to as “stalking,” but it’s there for the world to see…

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