Friday Mystery Place – vol 16

Cheesy location

Last week’s entry was on the easy side, as the location was mentioned pretty quickly, which may have had something to do with the fact that it was the closing scene in the recent Star Wars movie (episode VII?), where Luke Skywalker was given back his light sabre.

Let’s see how this week challenges everyone…

Cheese Anyone?

Where are we?  This one shouldn’t be too difficult…

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III using an EF 24-105mm f/4L lens.  Exposure settings were 1/50 second at f/10 and 1600 ISO.

Friday Mystery Place – vol 15

Not of this planet?

After last week’s rather tricky post for this category, which long-time readers of my blog, could have recognized as being photographed outside the Botanical Garden of the Technical University in Delft, the Netherlands, something a little easier upon my return from quick travels.

Otherworldly Mystery

As a hint, if needed, this location was used recently in a big budget film; the latter gave me the idea to use this image, as I saw it during my flight from Rome to Boston.

Have fun!

Departure – Israel

Sun sets, until morning

After a wonderful of meeting many of the team here in Israel, with whom I will interact as we achieve great things together, it is time to return back to Massachusetts.  I’m sure that my first visit to Israel won’t be my last, as, at the very least, I want to have some more time for photography during my next visit (meetings from 9 to 8 are not helpful in this regard 🙂 ).

As I leave, I want to leave you with a view from Herzliya beach, where I had dinner last night.

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Herzliya Sunset

This beach is absolutely beautiful with a quiet view of the Mediterranean.  There are numerous restaurants, of which I found my favorite, Yam 7, right down the stairs to the beach from my hotel, the Dan Accadia.

Nothing is cheap in Israel, so bring money, but the food and service are well worth it!

Until next time!

Technical Details

This image was captured with an iPhone 6S using the standard Camera app in HDR mode.

Herring – a Dutch Passion

Raw herring for the people!

One of the things about Dutch culinary habits that is hard to understand for a lot of people outside the Netherlands, is our passion for eating raw herring.  There even is a holiday (semi-official) associated with this passion: Vlaggetjesdag (Day of the Small Flags).

Originally, this referred to the day that the ships would first test their engines after lying still during the winter, before going out to sea for the herring catch.  There was a set day for this event, after Whitsun Sunday, when the ships would parade in the harbor decorated with small flags between their masts.

Herring Ship in Scheveningen

Nowadays, Vlaggetjesdag is celebrated when the first catch of herring returns to harbor, or, more accurately, when the first New Herring (the new season’s catch) is made available to the public for consumption.  On this day, usually around the middle of June, there will be lines at the herring vendors and happy, smiling faces when the herring is consumed.

Dutch Fishbureau Advertisement

This first herring catch is big business.  Every year, the first barrel that makes it into harbor is auctioned with the proceeds going to charity; this barrel can go for well in excess of 50,000 euros and has been close to 100,000 euros on occasion.

Also, newspapers will publish their review of whose herring is the best of that year’s catch.  Winning this contest can result in a couple of extra euros per herring for that vendor and lines that are out of this world.

So, next time you make it to the Netherlands around mid-June, go check out the herring and enjoy a couple of these delicacies!

Daily Prompt – Brick

Ancient bricks

As I was traversing the Daily Post, I noticed that yesterday’s prompt instigated us to take a look at Brick.  Not a real problem, as I came across some nice brick, just yesterday:

Section of fortress wall

This section of ancient brick was part of the crusader fortress at the Apollonia National Park, on the northern edge of Herzliya.  The fortress is an impressive structure, particularly when looking how it was built on the cliff slope.

This section must have been from one of the inner walls, as the outer walls were more than 2 meters thick and beyond 4 meters in some areas.

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III using an EF 24-105 f/4L lens.  Exposure settings were 1/320 second at f/10 and 400 ISO.

Inspired by the Daily Prompt – Brick

Sunday’s Food – Israeli Cheesecake

It has no calories!

While I wasn’t sure what to select for today’s food moment (although I do have some ideas in store), it came to me, literally!

At the end of dinner at a fantastic restaurant on the beach in Herzliya, I asked for the check.  The waiter, who had made excellent recommendations for my dinner, asked me if I would mind taking a  little extra time, as the restaurant would like to provide me dessert, on the house!  As I was in no hurry, I accepted and this arrived:

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Light Israeli Cheesecake

It is a light Israeli Cheesecake, which was absolutely delicious.  The consistency is much lighter than standard cheesecake, and it has a bit of citrus in it to lighten the overall experience up even more.  The berries and apricots were a wonderful addition.

So, if you ever find yourself in Herzliya, be sure to go to Yam 7, which is right on the beach behind the Dan Accadia hotel.  The main course was prepared to perfection, as I had a tapas with seafood sashimi, shrimp in a tomato based sauce, octopus and calamari tzatziki and hummus.

The Crusader Fort at Apollonia

A Beautiful National Park

On this rather warm day, I decided to got for a rather long walk from my hotel to the Crusader Fort at Apollonia, which is just north of Herzliyah.  It was well worth the walk!


The fortifications

The town was settled by Phoenicians in the 6th or 5th century BC, and named Reshef after Resheph, the Canaanite god of fertility and the underworld. It was then a part of the Persian Empire and governed from Sidon. Phoenicians of Reshef produced precious purple dye, derived from murex mollusks, which they exported to the Aegean.

Water Pool

During the Hellenistic period it was an anchorage town, ruled bySeleucids and renamed Apollonia, as the Greeks identified Phoenician God Reshef with Apollo.

Under Roman rule, the size of the town increased. It was an important settlement between Jaffa and Caesarea along Via Maris, the coastal road. In 113 AD, Apollonia was destroyed partially by an earthquake, but recovered quickly. The harbor was built, and trade with Italy and North Africa developed.

View from chamber

During the Byzantine period, the town extended to cover an area of 70 acres (280,000 m2). In the 5th and 6th century AD it was the second largest city in Sharon valley, after Caesarea, populated by Christian and Samaritans, having an elaborate church and a prosperous glass industry.

Fortifications from the North

In 640 AD, the town was captured by Muslims, and the Semitic name Arsuf was restored as Arabic transliteration of Reshef. The town’s area decreased to about 22 acres (89,000 m2) and, for the first time, it was surrounded by a fortified wall with buttresses, to resist the constant attacks of Byzantine fleets from the sea. Large marketplaces appeared, and pottery production developed. In 809 AD, following the death of Harun al-Rashid, the local Samaritan community was destroyed and their synagogue ruined.

Looking North from the Fortification

In 1101, Arsuf fell to a Crusader army led by Baldwin I of Jerusalem. The Crusaders, who called it Arsur, rebuilt the city’s walls and created the Lordship of Arsur in the Kingdom of Jerusalem. In 1187 Arsuf was captured by the Muslims, but fell again to the Crusaders on September 7, 1191 after a battle between Richard I of England and Saladin.

John of Ibelin, Lord of Beirut (1177—1236) became Lord of Arsuf in 1207 when he married Melisende of Arsuf (born c.1170). Their son John of Arsuf(c.1211—1258) inherited the title. The title then passed to John of Arsuf’s eldest son Balian of Arsuf (1239—1277). He built new walls, the big fortress and new harbor (1241). From 1261, the city was ruled by the Knights Hospitaller.

Landscape Beauty

In 1265, sultan Baibars, ruler of the Mamluks, captured Arsur, after 40 days of siege.  The Mamluks razed the city walls and the fortress to their foundations, fearing a return of the Crusaders. The destruction was so complete that the site was abandoned. In 1596, Ottoman tax registers recorded a village there with 22 families and 4 bachelors It appeared, just named “village” on the map that Pierre Jacotin compiled during Napoleon’s invasion of 1799.

Hope you enjoyed this little tour of the National Park of Apollonia.