Entertainment · Israel · Music · Tel Aviv · Tourism

Israeli Folk Dancers – Saturdays on the Tel Aviv Boardwalk

Rak be’Israel (only in Israel) can you find those weekly Saturday gatherings of Israeli folk dancers on the Tel Aviv tayelet (boardwalk). They’ve been there for years, attracting not only pure dance aficionados but passers by from around the world. So many pictures and videos taken. Have a look at this tv item broadcasted on France2 a few years ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtrWXUt3NyM – at 1’43”

We shouldn’t really call them folk dancers since most of the dances and choreographies evolve with contemporary Israeli music. It started of as Israeli folk dancing, which is a dance form usually performed to music from Israel, with dances choreographed for specific songs. Most Israeli dances are performed in a circle, although there are also partner dances and line dances. For our Belgian readers interested in learning to dance Israeli Folk Dance, contact Rikske from Isradans

Personally, I find it amazing and it brings me joy and happiness to see that this is what people do on their Saturdays. Quality of life. Have a look:

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Here’s some nostalgia footage of what it used to be like

Or this one by Avi Toledano at the 1979 Eurovision

Or this Israeli Group in France in the sixties

 

Architecture · General · History · Hotel · Israel · Jaffa · Lifestyle · Photography · Tel Aviv · Tourism · Travel guide

Hotels in Tel Aviv

Tourism is growing and the hotel business in Israel keeps expanding. Here’s a list of some of our finest hotels. Contact us for more info and special rates/deals.

Royal Beach Isrotel – brand new

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Ritz-Carlton Herzliya – brand newScreen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.30.49

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Brown TLV HotelScreen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.38.34

Alma BoutiqueScreen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.40.05

Hotel Montefiore

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The VarsanoScreen shot 2014-01-01 at 16.04.23Screen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.43.59Screen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.44.14Screen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.43.51

Mendeli Street Hotel

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Atlas Hotels Chain – Melody, Cinema, Art+, Shalom Hotel

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Rothschild 96

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Orchid Pasha Tel Aviv-Jaffa Hotel  – under constructionScreen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.36.34

W Jaffa Tel Aviv – under constructionScreen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.30.25Screen shot 2014-01-01 at 15.30.07






 

Baking · Israel · Judaism · Tutorial

Tutorial: How to make Challah Bread

It’s Friday again, it’s Shabbat again; let’s make Challah Bread. A lot of people discourage you from making Challah as it is a complicated process and the success of it lies it the little details. Luckily there’s Tori Avey’s website Theshiksa to help us out. It’s only when I use her tips that my Challah comes out great.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water, divided
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 1/2 to 6 cups flour
  • Egg Wash Ingredients: 1 egg, 1 tbsp cold water, 1/2 tsp salt
  • Optional Ingredients: Raisins, chocolate chips (1 ½ cups of either)
  • Optional Toppings: Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt

You will also need: Large mixing bowl, whisk or mixer, kitchen towel, cookie sheet, parchment paper, plastic wrap, pastry brush – Servings: 1 very large challah, 2 regular challahs, or 24 mini challah rolls – Kosher Key: Parve

Instructions:

  1. Pour ¼ cup of the lukewarm water (about 110 degrees) into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 packet of Active Dry Yeast and 1 tsp of sugar to the bowl, stir to dissolve. Wait 10 minutes. The yeast should have activated, meaning it will look expanded and foamy. If it doesn’t, your yeast may have expired, which means your bread won’t rise—go buy some fresh yeast!
  2. Once your yeast has activated, add remaining 1 ¼ cup lukewarm water to the bowl along with the egg, egg yolks, honey, canola oil and salt. Use a whisk to thoroughly blend the ingredients together. Recently Updated1
  3. Begin adding the flour to the bowl by half-cupfuls, stirring with a large spoon each time flour is added. When mixture becomes too thick to stir, use your hands to knead.
  4. Continue to add flour and knead the dough until it’s smooth, elastic, and not sticky. The amount of flour you will need to achieve this texture varies—only add flour until the dough feels pliable and “right.” If you plan to add raisins or chocolate chips to the challah, incorporate into the dough as you knead.Recently Updated2
  5. Place a saucepan full of water on the stove to boil.
  6. Meanwhile, remove the dough from your mixing bowl and wash out the bowl. Grease the bowl with canola oil. Push the dough back into the bottom of the bowl, then flip it over so that both sides are slightly moistened by the oil.
  7. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp kitchen towel. Place the bowl of dough on the middle rack of your oven. Take the saucepan full of boiling water and place it below the rack where your dough sits. Close the oven, but do not turn it on. The pan of hot water will create a warm, moist environment for your dough to rise. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.
  8. Take the dough bowl out and punch it down several times to remove air pockets. Place it back inside the oven and let it rise for 1 hour longer.
  9. Take the dough out of the oven. Flour a smooth surface like a cutting board. Punch the dough down into the bowl a few times, then turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Knead for a few minutes, adding flour as needed to keep the dough from feeling sticky.
  10. Now your dough is ready to braid. If you plan to separate and bless the challah, do it prior to braiding. Click here to learn how to braid challah.Recently Updated3
  11. After you’ve braided your challah, place it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (this will catch any spills from your egg wash and keep your challah from sticking to the cookie sheet).
  12. Note: you can put a single challah braid on a cookie sheet, since they tend to expand a lot when baking.
  13. Prepare your egg wash by beating the egg, salt and water till smooth. Use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of the mixture onto the visible surface of your challah. Reserve the leftover egg wash.2013-10-111
  14. Let the braid rise 30 to 45 minutes longer. You’ll know the dough is ready to bake when you press your finger into the dough and the indentation stays, rather than bouncing back.
  15. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. The challah needs to bake for about 40 minutes total, but to get the best result the baking should be done in stages. First, set your timer to 20 minutes and put your challah in the oven.
  16. After 20 minutes, take the challah out of the oven and coat the center of the braid with another thin layer of egg wash. This area tends to expand during baking, exposing areas that will turn white unless they are coated with egg wash.
  17. Turn the tray around, so the opposite side is facing front, and put the tray back into the oven. Turning the tray helps your challah brown evenly—the back of the oven is usually hotter than the front.
  18. The challah will need to bake for about 20 minutes longer. For this last part of the baking process, keep an eye on your challah—it may be browning faster than it’s baking. Once the challah is browned to your liking, take the tray out and tent it with foil, then place it back in the oven. Remove the foil for the last 2 minutes of baking time.2013-10-112
  19. Take the challah out of the oven. At this point your house should smell delicious. You can test the bread for doneness by turning it over and tapping on the bottom of the loaf—if it makes a hollow sound, it’s done. Let challah cool on the baking sheet or a wire cooling rack before serving.
  20. This recipe will make 1 very large challah, 2 regular challahs, or 24 mini challah rolls. I usually divide the dough in half to make 2 medium challahs, which are more manageable and easier to braid than a large one. Choose what works best for you. 2013-10-113Shabat Shalom
General · Israel · Lifestyle · Tel Aviv · Tourism · Travel guide

Tel Aviv Beach Life

Let me know if I’m repeating myself but is there anything nicer than an extra-large-long summer? After being away in Belgium and Europe for a month and a half, seeing August semi-summer becoming September’s autumn with matching heaviness and melancholy, I have now returned to sunny Tel Aviv. What a pleasure it is to bike around town seeing these young and tanned smiley faces. Being back in this lively town where there’s movement outside and places are open late. Reuniting with my beloved city feels so good. We just had our Holidays season: Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippour and Sukkot and a lot of days off. Perfect timing. My other favorite season after May/June here: September/October. The outdoor temperature is perfect now, around 30°C during daytime and with a nice cool breeze at night. Blue skies. The sea is crystal clear and feels like the perfect cleansing. For a morning swim, an afternoon dive or a sunset moment, this is the time where I go to and enjoy the beach. Not every European or foreigner is made for beach life. We’re not used to this, we did not grow up with this. It’s a different concept. For us, beach means vacation, far away places, exotic locations that you only do once or twice a year. A thing to long for when it’s cold and dark and grey. Not your habit, not your daily activity. While here, it’s part of daily life. It’s what locals do in weekends. It just adds up to the quality of life living by the Mediterranean…

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2013-09-29

Nick Drake’s Saturday Sun

Hotel · Israel · Tel Aviv · Tourism · Travel guide

First visit to Tel Aviv?

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“Shalom” and welcome to Tel Aviv  תֵּל־אָבִיב  تل أبيب-يافا

This is “Marilyn’s-all-you-need-to-know-about-TLV” guide for your first visit:

General

Tel Aviv is the second most populous city in Israel. It has a population of 410,000 of which over 50% are aged between 25 and 45 thus making Tel Aviv one of the youngest cities in the world. The city is located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline in central-west Israel, containing 42% of Israel’s population. Tel Aviv was founded by the Jewish community on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa in 1909. Tel Aviv and Jaffa were merged into a single municipality in 1950, two years after the establishment of the State of Israel. Tel Aviv’s White City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, comprises the world’s largest concentration of Bauhaus buildings. Tel Aviv is an economic hub and it is the country’s financial capital. Tel Aviv has the second-largest economy in the Middle East after Dubai, and is the 31st most expensive city in the world. With 2.5 million international visitors annually, Tel Aviv is the fifth-most-visited city in the Middle East and Africa. It is known as “the city that never sleeps” and a “party capital” due to its thriving nightlife, young atmosphere and famous 24-hour culture. Like they say: “Jerusalem prays, Tel Aviv plays” (more info: WikiPedia)

dsc_3054Practical

When you land at Ben Gurion International Airport – yes there’s free WiFi – please consider the security procedures and be patient: it’s nothing personal and unfortunately in Israel it’s no paranoia but a must to keep us safe. Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the English edition of Time out on your way out by the luggage pick-up. To get to Tel Aviv you can either take a taxi that shouldn’t cost more than 150NIS* or the train for about 15NIS (*New Israeli Shekel). Rates for the shekel are: 1EURO=4,7NIS or 1USD=3,6NIS. Foreign currency can be exchanged at the exit of the airport. Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in booking airport escort services and/or vans, buses or other vehicles.

Accommodation

you can book a hotel room varying from a top leading hotel chain to a hostel (our favorite hotel is of course the Brown Hotel and you can get special discounts and upgrades if you book via us) or rent an apartment via AirBNB or Tellavista

Transport

walk, bike (sharing bike service Tel-o-Fun) or drive: taxis are easy to find and not too expensive although they may try to raise the price when they notice you’re a tourist. Renting a car is not too expensive either but makes more sense if you plan to visit Jerusalem, the Dead Sea etc. In the city I’d suggest the “monit sherut” which are those little yellow taxibuses (share taxis) ; the main lines are the 4 (Ben Yehuda&Allenby Street) and the 5 (Dizengoff&Rothschild Street). They follow the bus track but they stop wherever you call them to. Cost: 6NIS and the money can be passed on from and to the back through the hands of fellow passengers. Have a look on the map to get a better picture of the city.

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Top neighborhoods

definitely visit the Rothschild area, Neve Tzedek and Jaffa

Food

check out our TOP 5 food post and keep in mind many places are open late night and some even 24/7

Bars & nightlife coming soon

Some Hebrew words

  • שלום shalom hello & goodbye (and peace)
  • מה נשמע ma nishma? how are you?
  • תודה toda thank you
  • בבקשה bevakasha please or there you go
  • סליחה slicha sorry (not as widely used as should be)
  • בסדר beseder ok
  • יאלה yalla very important word yalla yalla yalla meaning let’s go or move it
  • Sababa is probably THE word that will get you everywhere and it mainly depends on how you say it. Literally it means cool but just use it in the tone of your mood. So if you’re happy just say Sababa in a happy way, and if you’re not just say Sababa in sad way and so on.

Climate

Tel Aviv has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate with mild rainy winters. Humidity tends to be high year-round due to sea breeze. Girls: this means that from June to October you mostly sweat so just forget about your hairdoe. In winter, average temperatures typically range from 9 °C (48 °F) to 17 °C (63 °F). In summer, average temperatures typically range from 24 °C (75 °F) to 30 °C (86 °F). Heatwaves are most common during spring, with temperatures as high as 35 °C (95 °F). There are barely any days in the year without sunshine, and even during the winter there are many clear days. 300 days of blue skies!

Excursion Depending on the length of your stay you can of course visit other places in Israel like Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Eilat, the North (Galil, Golan, Tiberias, Acco, Haifa) etc. I suggest a day trip combining Jerusalem and the Dead Sea with a rented car or guide with a vehicle. In the North I’m a fan of the Tiberias lake (sweet water) and the beautiful green nature.

about Israel Area: 22,072 km², population: about 7 million inhabitants – 76,1% Jewish; 16,2% Muslim; 2,1% Christian; 1,6% Druze; 3,9% other, official languages: Hebrew and Arabic – though English is widely spoken and more and more French too, date of Establishment: 14th of May 1948, currency = New Israeli Shekel NIS or  ₪

tlv

Art · Crafting · Design · DIY · Fashion · Israel · Jaffa · Lifestyle · Neve Tzedek · Photography · Restaurants · Tel Aviv · Travel guide

Noga Quarter, a bubble within the bubble…

Noga Area is a little bubble within our Tel Aviv bubble. It’s quiet and happening at the same time. Once again, one of the magic features of little Tel Aviv, you walk one street away and you’re in a totally different world. Noga is known for its little charming shops, hip cafés, upcoming artist projects and design studios. It’s surrounded by some amazing real estate renovation and conservation projects like The Village, the American Colony and actually connects Neve Tzedek to Jaffa. Together with fellow blogger and buddy Ross Belfer from Eager Tourist  and the amazing upcoming photographer Shiran “Poomilicious” Pomerantz we went on a short visit:

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Cafelix You can start off with a delicious coffee at Cafelix. If you’re a returning costumer, you may even get your own coffeecup on the wall with your name under.

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Gelada Studio Then visit Gelada Studio for some original T-shirt designs and new vintage accessories.

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Hastudia “is a multi-disciplinary studio for arts & crafts that promotes sustainable, community-oriented and creative lifestyle. Their aim is to become a hub for functional upcycled art; a place where amateurs and hobbyists alike, come to work on their own handmade projects and get their hands dirty. It is a place where people come to be empowered, learn a new skill, engage with members of their community and create.”

NaomiMaraavi

Naomi Maraavi’s shop is “an individual recycled re-designed eco collection blending art, fashion and storytelling.”

CasinoSanRemo

Casino San Remo is another hipster-hot-spot for food, drinks, art and music.

Noga

Israel

Maccabiah Opening Ceremony in Jerusalem

And this is why I haven’t posted anything in two weeks. On Thursday July 18th we organized the opening ceremony of the 19th Maccabiah games. Major production, big success. You may say the Maccabiah games are like the Jewish olympics. Here are a few of my photos:

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From the official Maccabiah website

“MACCABIAH OPENING CEREMONY: PARADING IN A CELEBRATION OF NATIONS AND COLORS”

 The 19th Maccabiah begins tonight (Thursday), as some 9,000 athletes representing more 78 countries get ready to compete in 42 sports.

The 19th Maccabiah Games kicked off Thursday night with a gala opening ceremony at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium that was attended by thousands of spectators. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres were set to take part in the event to honor the 9,000 athletes representing 78 countries, the largest number of competitors ever at the Maccabiah games.

The ceremony begun with a colorful parade of the athletes and the atmosphere in the stadium was enchanting. It was a celeration of music, colors and Jewish spirit from all over the world. Next to come, lighting of the Maccabiah torch, as well as performances by popular musicians from Rami Kleinstein and Harel Skaat to newer talents such as the Grammy-winning, Israeli-born violinist Miri Ben Ari; the Canadian-born singer Kathleen Reiter, winner of “The Voice Israel” and “The X Factor” (United States) finalist Carly Rose Sonenclar.

More info: http://www.maccabiah.com/

 

 

General · Israel · Lifestyle · Tel Aviv · Travel guide

Gordon Pool

Swimming is a great thing. For body and soul. Studies have shown swimming keeps you biologically younger. When I’m on my way to Gordon Pool, my back already thanks me. I always take a fresh juice with me and take a moment before I enter the water. Sipping on my banana or acaï juice, I look up to the blue skies, the palm trees; I look around to the sea and the Marina and I’m grateful each time again. Then I jump in and start my 1,5km crawl swim. The repetition of the movement under water brings you in some sort of trance. I always get the best thinking done there and come out with my most creative ideas. Gordon’s olympic pool water is set at a fixed temperature of 24° and is made of salty groundwater extracted from wells at a depth of about 150 meters which is extra rich in minerals.

Gordon Pool was originally established in 1956 and designed for ‘convenient swimming by the sea, to enjoy the benefits of the beach, without suffering the disadvantages from waves and sand.’ In those years, Gordon Pool was the ultimate gathering point, all week, everyday, from sunrise till sunset. No need to wonder why: from the salt and the crystal clear water with its minerals, to the gorgeous scenery, Gordon swimming pool made no difference between rich and poor, between famous and ordinary; free spirit was the vibe.

By 2006 the pool had some serious problems: its physical condition was deteriorating and it was impossible to remodel due to conservation laws. The golden years of swimming were over. The private owner was unable to continue to maintain the pool. Then came the talk of destructing the pool and the protests of the swimmers until the city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa decided to renovate the pool and the surrounding area in order to revive it. After a huge financial investment, the pool complex was renovated, joined by sunbathing beds, shaded areas, a toddlers pool and playground, a bike path and parking for direct access and a huge fitness center including aerobic classes and a spa.

Since July 2009, Gordon Pool is back in full force and enjoys an international reputation and an influx of visitors to discover the benefits of swimming and what goes with it…

 

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original photos above by Rudy Weissenstein  from Pri-Or Photo House (1957) all other photo credits Gordon Pool website

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General · Israel · Tel Aviv · Uncategorized

High Telavivity – Take Five

In the spirit of John Cusack’s top 5 lists in the movie High Fidelity  here’s Tel Aviv in fives –part. 2

5 reasons to date an Israeli man

  1. he went to the army…you’ll always feel safe in his arms
  2. he will protect you from the bad local guys trying to rip you off thinking you’re just a dumb tourist
  3. he has this natural nonchalance slash indifferent attitude which is all you expect from a real man no?
  4. number 3 also means you like the way he dresses, like a real man
  5. he’s Jewish (http://marilynjosephine.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/dating-a-jew-or-two/)

5 reasons not to date an Israeli man

  1. just a few table manners and universal rules of politeness
  2. just a few fashion donts such as short sleeved shirts, these horrible black squared shoes, wearing underwear at the beach, socks not matching shoe choice, wearing tanga underwear instead of boxer shorts, etc etc.
  3. ars-alarm
  4. why talk so loud?
  5. ask me if I’m French…and then, when I say I’m Belgian, he may add “oh but what’s the difference”

5 reasons for an Israeli man to date an olah chadasha

  1. she loves everything about Israel always & anyways
  2. no fighting for whos family diners to attend on Shabbat & Holidays
  3. he always has a good reason not to have to join her friends: he doesn’t understand their language
  4. he can be sure he’ll have a month off when she goes to visit her family…and he has enough internationality in house so no need for him to travel anymore (saving money)
  5. think about the children’s passport(s)

5 annoying nicknames Israeli strangers call you*

  1. mami (with current variation to mamoush and mama and may creation confusion with mums/mothers)
  2. neshama (free translation: soul)
  3. hatsarfatiya – the frenchie (and then i go, no i’m belgium about 25794 times a day)
  4. kapara (free translation: honey)
  5. motek (free translation: sweetheart)

*all of those words are generally followed by shelli, meaning my: mami sheli, neshama sheli, kapara sheli, motek sheli.

top 5 Hebrew words

  1. sababa (cool)
  2. stam (literally this would mean: just, but in context it’s untranslatable, we’ve tried)
  3. bichlal (literally this would mean: general, but in context it’s untranslatable, we’ve tried)
  4. balagan (literally this would mean: chaos, but in context it’s untranslatable, we’ve tried)
  5. tachless (doesn’t it come from Yiddish? it means bottom line or to the point and it is a very needed word in a country where too many people just talk too much and not do enough)

5 reasons to blog about TLV

  1. we don’t live in a war zone
  2. we have internet
  3. we drive cars, not camels
  4. to show some positivity about this country!
  5. to show off the good weather – 300 days of sun a year

needless to post 5 things I love most in Tel Aviv as I’m in love with Tel Aviv

5 things I hate most in Tel Aviv

  1. people that take themselves way too seriously like Hipsters (and make me wonder if it’s Purim again)
  2. joukim* even when they’re dead and laying on their back with their legs up (*a jouk is a cockroach)
  3. street cats (for the smell and their cries at night)
  4. honking cars (as part of a more general noise problem in this city)
  5. these guys biking by and throwing spa&massage cards on the pavement

keepcalmisraeli

History · Israel · Tel Aviv

Yom Hazikaron & Yom Ha’Atzmaut Memorial Day & Independence Day

Yom Hazikaron is Israel’s Memorial Day, the Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism. This sad day starts with a siren at 20h and is heard all over the country. For one minute, everyone stands still to commemorate the fallen. The official ceremony takes place at the Western Wall and the flag of Israel is lowered to half staff. The next morning, a two-minute siren is sounded at 11h and marks the opening of the official memorial ceremonies and private gatherings at cemeteries. Again, only sad songs on the radio and only war related TV broadcasts until about 19h. Then happens a weird transition from sad to happy, when Independence Day begins.

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indilYom Haatzmaut  is Israel’s Independence Day. On may 14th 1948 the (then future) Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion declared the independence of the state of Israel. indil2The official ceremony is held every year at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem but festivities are everywhere. Israel is now 65. In Tel Aviv there are parties all over town, on the streets, in bars, restaurants and houses. People are singing and dancing in the streets. When you live in the heart of the city, you have to go wander around and observe. And if you have a blog, even better, you can capture it on camera and share with the world. But photos and words cannot describe what we saw and heard. The happy atmosphere is omnipresent. It’s loud, people go wild and crazy and it goes on all night long. Bad sleep but good vibe. Luckily the next day is a holiday to recover.

IMG_1344 IMG_1301      IMG_1376 IMG_1299 IMG_1366IMG_1385 IMG_1387 IMG_1402IMG_1394 IMG_1401    Photos taken with my Canon EOS M

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