This and That

Random bits of my life

Archive for January, 2013

Jerusalem Kosher Wine Festival, 2013

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 31, 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Last night I attended the third and final night of the 2nd Annual Jerusalem Kosher Wine Festival in Binyanei haUma. For 80 NIS, you get you a glass to take home and all the wine tasting you can handle. Fortunately, the hall is close to the Central Bus Station. The festival was sponsored by A. A. Pyup, a large kosher wine store in Sanhedria. The store is close to Har Hotzvim, where my husband and I work, and we have been shopping there for years. From the outside it looks like a cinder block shack but it has two large rooms inside and a covered area outside. Some 40 wineries provided tastings and sold individual bottles and a “3+1” (i.e., 4 bottles for the price of 3) offer.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Cooking workshop. I think he was brandishing a piece of chicken.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Food blogger Miriam Kresh (Israeli Kitchen) , who is working on an article for the Green Prophet, invited me to come along.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

The food vendors were stationed in the lobby. Miriam and I bought a cheese platter, which I’m not posting the photo because it was probably more cheese than I eat in two weeks. 🙂 But oh so good — Camembert, red cheese (sheeps’ milk), Gouda, basil cheese (like eating pesto in solid form! That’s the green one below) and another that I’m not sure of. Other vendors sold sushi, pastries, chocolates, cakes, spreads, olive oil, and bread. There was plenty of food to soak up the alcohol.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

I hadn’t planned to buy anything but ended up taking home a bottle of Adom Cabernet Sauvignon from Saslove Winery, Kibbutz Eyal, near Kfar Saba. It was rich and spicy. The description sounds like someone dumped the contents of a supermarket bakery aisle into this wine, but the result was delicious! The Adom Cabernet Sauvignon has received one commendation, three silver medals, a bronze medal, and a trophy.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon rich with cherry, raspberry, plum and blueberry aromas. Ageing for 20 months in French and American oak barrels spiced with mint, nutmeg, cinnamon, mocha, chocolate, vanilla and slightly smoky maple syrup.

The Saslove “Pink” rosé was semi-dry, rich, not at all cloying, with a floral perfume. It was an exceptionally good wine, and if I had had the strength to carry 3+1 by bus to Maale Adumim (Miriam did shlep 3+1 to Petach Tikvah by bus!) I would have included that wine. We tried the Reserved Cabernet Sauvignon as well, but Miriam and I agreed that it was less exceptional than the rosé and the Adom Cabernet Sauvignon.

Roni Saslove (below), an Israeli-Canadian second-generation winemaker (her father is an engineer turned winemaker), told us about how she uses different yeasts for different grape varieties and some she freezes in order to stop fermentation abruptly and retain the flavours. She makes excellent wines, very complex and almost textured.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

When I left at 8:30, crowds were still arriving. Not too surprisingly, the attendees were mostly religious and young.

Jerusalem Wine Festival 2013

Posted in Israel, photography | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Video: Rainbow Lights on Har Hotzvim Tower

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 28, 2013

Har Hotzvim, Jerusalem

I see this office tower (JTP or Jerusalem Technical Park) from my window all day at work. Over the past few months I noticed that sometimes, for no reason that I can fathom, the lights turn different colours. During Hanukkah they were quite festive! The light changes appear to be random, so I haven’t had much success making a video. Usually by the time I manage to get to a balcony on the other side of the building the lights have gone back to their normal blue colour.

On Sunday I noticed that the rainbow effect occurred at 5:47. Because I leave work at 6:00 p.m. and because the days are getting longer, I realised I only had another week or two to record the light changes if I didn’t want to stay late and wait for the sky to get dark. Yesterday the lights started turning funky colours around 5:15. I grabbed my camera and went to the balcony but it was too late. I decided to wait for the rainbow, on a cold outdoor balcony without a coat, and it occurred at 5:47 again.

Normally the lights seem to alternate between dark blue and turquoise. When the roof lights (blue spikes) go off, the rainbow starts. It only lasts for about a minute.

Posted in photography, videos | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Tel Aviv, Election Day 2013

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 27, 2013

Tel Aviv, Election Day 2012

Election Day is a holiday in Israel. After the snow and sleet of two weeks ago, it was a little weird to sit on a breakwater in Tel Aviv. My husband had to work in the morning. I met him at the bus station and we went to Tel Aviv for the afternoon and early evening. The rest of the world seemed to have the same idea, to head for the beach. And the picnic areas and the parks…. We don’t have a “weekend” in Israel, so a vacation day like Election Day isn’t something to waste!

I took the first photo when we were sitting on the rocks of the breakwater. A young couple were sitting very close to the water. I got this shot as a sailboat was going by and underexposed it because I was shooting almost directly into the sun. I cropped out the sun on the right because I didn’t want the brightness to dominate the scene.

The next photo shows a couple windsurfers outside the breakwater.

Tel Aviv, Election Day 2012

Two of three kayakers outside the breakwater.

Tel Aviv, Election Day 2012

Tel Aviv, Election Day 2012

Wind-surfing school within the breakwater, close to shore.

Tel Aviv, Election Day 2012

Fisherman showing off his catch.

Tel Aviv, Election Day 2012

Tel Aviv, Election Day 2012

Tel Aviv, Election Day 2012

This building, known locally as the Crazy House, is a private apartment building at 181 haYarkon, designed by Leon Gaignebet in 1985. It’s also called a Gaudi building, although Gaignebet rejected the comparison. (Personally, I see it as derivative Art Nouveau, but not particularly Gaudi-esque–maybe they just needed an easy-to-remember name.) The photo below was taken from the beach, so it only shows the top two stories. It does show the roof in more detail than most photos of this building. It’s an interesting, somewhat pretentious design, representing the sea meeting the desert. The eastern façade uses stone and concrete and images of trees. The western façade, facing the Mediterranean, is supposed to represent the sea and sand dunes but looks like a giant sheet full of holes wrapped around an ordinary apartment block.

Tel Aviv, Election Day 2012

Photographed from across Eliezer Peri at night. Not a good photo. I might try photographing this building by daylight next time I’m in Tel Aviv. Note the fence in front of the building, which echoes the design of the façade.

Tel Aviv, Election Day 2012

Bench in same style, across the street from the apartment building:

Tel Aviv, Election Day 2012

Trompe l’oeile painting on Arlozoroff Street (corner of Ibn Gabirol).

Tel Aviv, Election Day 2012

Posted in photography | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Morning of Election Day 2013

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 24, 2013

Election Day

January 22, 2012, was election day in Israel. I took my iPod along and took some surreptitious photos. The first photo shows the voting slips inside the polling station. Some 30 parties were running in this election.

Photo below is a wall chart that explains the voting slips and translates them. That certainly clarifies things! 🙂

Election Day

Sealed envelope with my ballot.

Election Day

Checked off on the voter list.

Election Day

Voting….

Election Day

Posted in iPod, photography | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Piccolomini Library, Siena Cathedral

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 23, 2013

Piccolomini Library, Siena Cathedral

The colorful Pinturicchio frescoes of the Piccolomini Library are stunning. The wall panels depict the life of Enea Silvio Piccolomini (1405-64), later Pope Pius II, and were commissioned by his nephew Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini, in 1492. The ceiling panels depict mythological subjects.

Piccolomini Library, Siena Cathedral

Piccolomini Library, Siena Cathedral

The statue visible below is the Three Graces, a Roman copy of the Greek original:

Piccolomini Library, Siena Cathedral

Liturgical manuscripts:

Piccolomini Library, Siena Cathedral

Piccolomini Library, Siena Cathedral

Piccolomini Library, Siena Cathedral

Piccolomini Library, Siena Cathedral

Piccolomini Library, Siena Cathedral

Posted in Italy, photography | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Inside Siena Cathedral

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 21, 2013

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Another installment in the “Death by Art” march!

The photo above shows the Oculus by Duccio di Buoninsegna (1288) over the apse, one of the oldest examples of Italian stained glass. The silhouette in front is a large lamp hanging from the ceiling.

Photography inside Siena Cathedral is permitted without flash or tripod. The interior is very dark, so most of these photos were taken at ISO 800.

View towards main altar and apse:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Main altar, close up:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Detail of vaulted ceiling over aisle, with painted stars:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Nicolo Pisano’s pulpit (1265-1268), richly carved with scenes from the Last Judgement:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Siena Cathedral, Italy

The coffering of the central dome of the cathedral is trompe l’oeil:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Dome and nave:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

There are 172 busts of popes over the aisle (no, I didn’t count them. I got that from Wikipedia):

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Detail of popes:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Wall tomb of Bishop Tommaso Piccolomini (1484):

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Painting, Coronation of Pius III, by Bernardino di Betto (Pinturicchio) in 1504, a year after the pope’s death:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Piccolomini altar, by Andrea Bregno and several artists of his workshop (1481-1486). The four niche statues (1501-1504) were created by the young Michelangelo, who had just created the Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Cardinal Petroni’s tomb, by Tino di Camaino (1318):

Siena Cathedral, Italy

St. Sabinus of Spoleto (originally polychrome stucco, gilded in 1704):

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Fresco of Marriage of Esther and Ahasuerus, by Ventura di Archangelo Salimbeni (1611):

Siena Cathedral, Italy

The mosaic floor is one of the wonders of the cathedral. It is covered most of the year, but can be viewed in September. I’m sure most of it was covered when we were there. I took only a few photos of the floor. The History Blog describes the floor panels in detail.

Floor panel depicting Hermes Trismegistus:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

She-Wolf of Siena surrounded by emblems of the allied cities (1373), one of the oldest floor panels:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Part of Pinturicchio’s Allegory of the Hill of Wisdom (1504):

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Wheel of Fortune (1372):

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Posted in Italy, photography | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

A Little Knitting: Two Shawls

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 20, 2013

Rainbow Garden Path Shawl

Occasionally I even manage to finish some knitting projects. 🙂

Yarn is Aade Lõng Artistic 8/2, in “rainbow.” Pattern is Garden Path Shawl, a free Ravelry download, designed by Shui Kuen Kozinski.

I started the shawl on 4mm needles and found that the shawl was a bit denser than I liked, so I started over with 5 mm needles. The yarn has a coarse texture. I don’t recommend it for a garment worn next to the skin, but it is superb for outer wear, like shawls and cardigans. Knitting is a lot like photography. If you want interesting results, you have to bend/break the rules occasionally. Conventional wisdom says to use the needle written on the yarn band and not to combine colourwork and lace. But if you’re not getting the result you want, start over with a different needle. If this yarn were very soft, like Merino, it would probably not be able to support the more open texture created by the larger needle size. Happily, the yarn has enough body to hold its shape.

The pattern was modified somewhat. I didn’t have enough yarn to do the entire pattern (but the shawl is large enough for me) and I’m not fond of pointy ends in stripes, so the bottom edge is cast off as a straight edge, after the second-last rose repeat.

Orenburg Honeycomb Shawl

Orenburg Honeycomb Shawl, from Piecework, May/Jun 2010. Yarn is JaggerSpun Zephyr Wool-Silk 2/18 and a ball of knitting-machine yarn, doubled. This shawl took a long time because both yarns are very fine and I was using 2.5 mm needles.

Posted in Crafts, knitting | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Siena Cathedral

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 20, 2013

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Siena Cathedral, covered in black and white marble, was completed in the thirteenth century. The direction of the church is unusual. Usually the “front” door faces west, with the high altar on the east side, and the main axis of the church running in an east-west direction. Some sources say this cathedral’s axis runs north-south because it was going to be expanded so that the present nave would have been the transept of a church twice the size. I checked a map and the cathedral actually runs at a diagonal — its facade faces south-west, with the high altar on the north-east. This doesn’t mean a whole lot except that I couldn’t use the usual terms like north side, western facade, etc.

The first photo (above) is a close-up of the cupola on top of the dome. As you may have gathered, I love photographing architectural details and sculpture.

The next two photos show the cathedral and its campanile, taken with a wide-angle lens. The piazza in front of the cathedral is not very large, which means that using a normal lens would require stitching several shots together to capture the whole building.

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Siena Cathedral, Italy

View of the cathedral over the wall, part of the unfinished nave:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Massive open doorway leading from the street to the unfinished nave. There were plans to double the size of the cathedral, but the Black Death and other problems stopped construction, which was never resumed. Now the unfinished nave is used as a parking area.

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Inside of  unfinished nave, with Romanesque arch.

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Close-up of the arch (not easy to get without a tripod because it was roughly the height of the church, but the bright sun helped):

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Facade, viewed from the side of the church:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Close-up of facade:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Portico over door facing unfinished nave:

Siena Cathedral, Italy

Posted in Italy, photography | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Winter Storm, 2013

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 13, 2013

Winter Storm, 2013

That was quite a storm we went through last week, the worst in 20 years. It began on Monday with heavy rain and high winds. The photo above was taken just outside our building. A tree blew over behind the adjacent building.

I took a few photos when I got to work, from the dry side of the cafeteria wall.

Winter Storm, 2013

Winter Storm, 2013

The rain and wind continued, with some hail for variety. These sharp hailstones landed on an outside balcony at work. Photographed through the window.

Winter Storm, 2013

I think the hail was snow at this point. It was starting to blow around like snow, not rattling and falling like hail.

Winter Storm, 2013

They sent us home at 3 p.m.

Winter Storm, 2013

It started snowing Wednesday evening. There were no buses running on Thursday before the afternoon and our minibuses were canceled all day, so I never went to work or into Jerusalem. Here’s a photo of snowy Jersualem in the morning, taken from my kitchen window. It’s still misty at that hour. The snow stayed for a day before melting. You can see that the hills in the foreground don’t have any snow because their elevation is lower. My son took a bus into Jerusalem late Thursday night to look at the snow. I’ve seen enough snow in Canada, so I stayed home. 🙂

WInter Storm, 2013

Posted in Israel, photography | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Video: Accordion Player at Siena Cathedral

Posted by Avital Pinnick on January 12, 2013

Siena, Italy

This is a short clip of the accordion player we heard playing Mozart. It was a windy day, so there’s a bit of noise at the beginning.

Posted in Italy, photography, videos | Comments Off on Video: Accordion Player at Siena Cathedral