Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sticks for walking and pointing


Nordic walking poles in the Negev.
At an archaeological site on the edge of Beer Sheva.
The sticks double as pointers.  :)
(Linking to signs, signs.)

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter at the now-empty tomb


From a (briefly) sunlit Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also know as Anastasis (Church of the Resurrection) -- greetings for a glorious Easter to Christians near and far!
(You're encouraged to click once, twice, to bring down the beautiful details of the dome and chandelier.)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

In the tomb


This, my friends, is THE picture for today, the day Christians call Holy Saturday.
The day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday when Jesus lay in a dark tomb, hidden away, here in my country, in Jerusalem.
Although not a Christian I can't help but wonder what the feeling of Christians is on this heavy day. 

I entered this silent, dim, empty 18th century church in rural Austria alone.
How stunned I was to suddenly discover a life-sized dead "body" lying below the altar.
Such a life-like statue! 

It was almost too life-like.

And look here -- how often do you see a pieta with Mary holding his hand?

A Way of the Cross ends on top of Mount Calvary, with three crosses as the final station.

The old Baroque church is called in German Kalvarienbergkirche.
Next to it was built (in 1984) the Franziskusgemeinschaft, the communal farming community where I volunteered last October-November.
It was a wonderful experience, all of it.
(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday.)

Friday, March 25, 2016

On Good Friday, tall ladders to the cross

It is now late afternoon in Israel.
This is the day my Christian friends call Good Friday, and this is the hour when they solemnly reflect on the taking down from the cross.
Very soon it will be Shabbat evening. 

It was in Friedberg, a small town in the rolling green hills of Styria, Austria, that I first saw  statuary such as this!

Please click a few times to enlarge the photos and get the beautiful details.

The church was first mentioned in writing in 1377.
In 1706 it was expanded and magnificent frescoes were added.

The Baroque pilgrimage church and its surroundings can be seen here.
I try to imagine how you Christian readers out there experience the Triduum, the three saddest days, as you await the joy of Easter Sunday.   Blessings to you.
(Linking to inSPIREd Sunday.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Squeezing through that Aussie submarine

Today is World Water Day so let's go underwater and walk through the long (300 feet) and narrow Australian submarine Onslow.
We saw its exterior in an earlier post.

If I remember correctly, these suits were meant for emergency evacuation if the sub was in trouble when submerged.

The eerie redness of an empty torpedo tube.

And here a torpedo IN the tube.

Umm . . . some important part of equipment.

A Japanese tourist and his father were the only other visitors on board.
It was kind of creepy exploring inside almost alone.

The Red October game!

Fortunately it was not allowed to descend to the "snake pit."

Ha!  My kids used to play this Battleship game decades ago.
Well, the Onslow was in service from 1969 to 1999. 

Tight quarters -- three bunks!
Oi, I could never be a submariner.

Through the periscope I could see beautiful Sydney across the harbor.

Respect to the brave sailors who do this job.
(Linking to ABC Wednesday.  K is for Klaustrofobia, as it is spelled in many non-English languages.)

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Palm Sunday post (sort of)


Now that I live in the desert in southern Israel, away from Jerusalem, it is hard to get fresh Christian photos for the blog.
So last October when I sighted this cute children's book, The Story of Easter, in a church in rural Austria, I knew it would be the blog post for Palm Sunday!

The kids' books were in the basket in back of the pews.
I guess to keep little ones busy in case they are brought to Mass.

I also got a kick out of the congregation's German songbook, Singe Jerusalem.
And that's in addition to their grey Gotteslob prayerbooks. 

The Roman Catholic parish church of the little Austrian town Pinkafeld was built in 1774 in Late Baroque style.

Happy Palm Sunday to all the Christian friends out there! 

(To see Jerusalem Palm Sunday blog photos, please click here and here.)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

For Submarine Day, an Australian sub


In honor of Submarine Day  let's look at the HMAS Onslow.

The submarine is now part of Australia's National Maritime Museum.

The sub has a lovely view of Sydney.

The Onslow was built in Scotland, commissioned in 1969, and saw service until 1999.
I was brave and went inside, walking mostly alone all along its almost 300 foot length.
In the next days I can show you the claustrophobic quarters.
You can read about some tragic and strange incidents in this submarine's history.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The desert is still blooming


What is this strange plant that shot up in the desert a few weeks ago?!

Rain returned again today, which means that flowers and green things will still be doing their thing for a while more.
In a month or two, the dry season will start and the desert will revert to brown.
Meanwhile, if you don't walk out in the open lands every few days, you miss something new.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Jehovah's Witnesses at a door near you


Oi what a surprise this fine Sunday morning!
I went out to toss a bag in our bin just before the thrice-weekly trash collection.
And what did I find stuck through the gate?

A Hebrew-language message from Jehovah's Witnesses!!
A tract, printed in Germany,  from the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania.
I remember their missionary attempts from when I grew up in America, of course.
But I never knew we had Jehovah's Witnesses in Israel. 
And how did they find my quiet street in our little town in the middle of nowhere in the Negev desert?
Let me just say that proselytizing is a very touchy subject in the Jewish State.
UPDATE: Wait, it gets worse.   Blogger Jael just sent me a link to her post which shows Jehovah's Witnesses' headquarters in Tel Aviv!  And the strong round building really does look like a Watch Tower!
(Linking to OurWorld Tuesday and ABC Wednesday.)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The great migration, overhead!


Hearing the distinctive muffled distant bird-noise, I ran out of the house.
There they were--so many birds, stretched out in long lines!
The lens wasn't even wide enough to catch them all.
This happened on both Tuesday and Wednesday, just after 4:00 pm.

--  Click the photos a few times to see the big wingspans.

Maybe they are storks? 
The formation was flying north/northeast in the direction of Hebron and Jerusalem, and then maybe to a rest stop in Israel's northern Hula Valley.

Twice a year, spring and autumn, 500 million  waterfowl, birds of prey, and song birds from 400 species fly over Israel on their great migration between Africa and Europe.
They have learned to feel safe over and in our nature-loving country. 
(Linking to SkyWatch Friday and Camera Critters.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Servez - vous


The new NGO Women Wage Peace had a meeting in Meitar a few nights ago.
After the lectures each of us was given a flower for International Women's Day.

It reminded me of  when I volunteered at Grandchamp, next to les grand champ.
For a few months every year one farmer would plant a huge field of flowers. 
The Swiss had a Help Yourself option, based on the honor system.
Pick as many as you want, just put 3 Euros in the brown metal box for each bouquet.

Here's a nun selecting flowers for the chapel and the refectory. 

Good memories . . .

(Linking to signs, signs and to ABC Wednesday, I being for international.)

Monday, March 7, 2016

In the shadow of the chess game


Face to Face with My Father (The Chess Players), by Zvika Lachman.

As happens all too often in Israel, the sign makers couldn't get it just right.

One of the cats at Omer Open Museum considered it a good source of shade.
Here is a Lachman exhibit catalog.
(Linking to Our World Tuesday.)

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Giving the horse a rest


A horse!   Still with sweat signs from a saddle.
First time for me to meet a horse down in the open lands next to my town.
But then I heard voices from the Meitar Forest picnic grove and realized the young Bedouins sitting there must be the owners.

You often see young Bedouin men riding horses in the fields down here in the Negev desert.
They own many camels but I myself have never seen a Bedouin on a camel.
Well, except for movies like Lawrence of Arabia.  :)

The only people you see on camels anymore are the tourists.
In this post -- an incredible FOUR kids on one camel, on the Mount of Olives.
And here a tourist camel working at Jerusalem's Jaffa Gate.

(Linking to Camera Critters.)

Friday, March 4, 2016

Never climb THIS tree


Meitar has several of these spiky trees and they are the strangest trees in town.
Please enlarge the photo to see just how pointy those pointy things are. 

Look at those big "cotton" balls!

The other side still has mostly the green pods.
By August big yellow flowers will suddenly be here.
And here is a picture of the trees in late March, at the center of a roundabout.

Readers advised me that this is the silk floss tree (Ceiba speciosa), a.k.a. palo borracho, Spanish for "drunken stick."