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Science and nature Travel and places

Kangaroos in Israel

My Summer vacation has gone by so quickly, as vacations often do. One of the many things we did was to take a drive up north to see kangaroos in Israel at Gan-Garoo, an Australian Park … in Israel.

The drive was pretty scenic, and I captured part of the drive with my camera along the way.

Gan-Garoo was apparently developed in conjunction with an Australian team that requires the park to meet various specifications to best accommodate the kangaroos in Israel.

It’s a really nice park, all in all. We booked online, and walked around through some of the initial sections before heading to the main enclosure.

The kangaroo enclosure has a number of kangaroos. I hadn’t actually seen kangaroos in person (we didn’t see kangaroos when we visited Australia last year). There are a couple rules about interacting with them, and they were pretty placid.

My wife and son fed the kangaroos from a feeder that exchanged pellets for some coins. It was pretty hot, so many of the kangaroos were resting in the shade, or sleeping in peculiar positions.

We also went for a walk through a short maze that explored some dinosaur species, complete with animatronic dinosaurs.

We were hoping to walk across to natural springs for a picnic lunch, but confused where we were supposed to go. We decided to take a half hour drive a little further north to the Kinneret, another popular spot that I hadn’t visited yet.

It was really hot, and we didn’t have shade, so we had a pretty quick picnic lunch, and made our way home.

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Events and Life Politics and government Spirituality Travel and places

Tragedy and Inspiration in Jerusalem

My friend visited me recently, and I took some time off to spend with him. One of our day trips was to Jerusalem, primarily to visit Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center.

We started off by taking a relatively new train to Jerusalem from the Ben Gurion Airport. This train takes about half an hour to reach Jerusalem, and shaves an hour (or more) off the previous train route that left from Tel Aviv.

As I mentioned recently, I really like the new station. It was a great welcome back to Jerusalem.

We took the light rail up to Mount Herzl, the site of both Theodore Herzl‘s grave, and Yad Vashem.

We arrived at Yad Vashem at a pretty busy time. There were easily half a dozen tour buses there already.

Yad Vashem

We picked up two audio guides for a self-guided tour (although the guided tours are apparently really good too).

The main museum was pretty crowded, although the tour groups eventually moved past us as we walked through the exhibits describing the events leading up to, and the Holocaust itself in visceral detail.

Walking through the museum takes time, and I almost always felt like I was moments away from tears as I listened to the narrative describing how European Jews were first marginalised, dehumanised, and then eradicated in the many death camps they were shipped to like cattle.

It took us three hours to make our way through the exhibits, and each step reinforced why Israel is so important. Having our own country with an effective military means that Jews are no longer subject to the whims of other nations who repeatedly return to old stereotypes, and prejudices.

What still alarms me (even though I know better), is that we see the same rhetoric being repeated in various countries as the Nazis used in the 1930s, and other groups used in the centuries that preceded them. It seems that some things never change. Some people seem to drift back to anti-Semitism when they need someone to blame.

From Yad Vashem, we made our way to the Old City, towards the Western Wall.

Western Wall

We arrived at the Wall after lunch at a nearby schwarma place, and during preparations for Yom HaZikaron (our memorial day for soldiers and victims of terror attacks) two days later.

This photo of these three men sitting, facing the Wall reminded me of a previous visit where I saw three monks leaning over the railing, looking at the Wall and it’s visitors.

From here, we made our way back out of the Old City towards the train station, and home.

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Travel and places

A wintery Jerusalem day trip

We went on a wintery Jerusalem day trip yesterday with family. I made a point of capturing more scenes with my camera, bearing in mind Eric Kim’s photography advice for 2017 (particularly point 2). I really like many of the photos I made. I think I’m also slowly getting the hang of more of Lightroom’s functionality to tweak lighting in parts of photos to improve them. Here are some of my favourites from the album:

This moment of this man reaching up to leave a note in the Kotel was a wonderful capture.

Of course the shuk where you can buy (and bargain for) all sorts of paraphernalia.

I didn’t notice the couple on the left when I took the photo. I saw them when I edited the photo. Terrific moment!

This woman stepped into my frame so I just incorporated her into the shot.

This woman was playing higher up on Jaffa Street outside a well-known pizzeria. I had to photograph her playing.

I’ve shared my Jerusalem day trip album on Flickr so head over there for the full experience. Just click on this image below: