Archive for April 2012

Remarkable Rocks, Kangaroo Island, South Australia   5 comments

Remarkable Rocks, South Australia, Kangaroo Island, Australia, coast, erosion, wind erosion

As the title says, this image is from a spot in South Australia called the Remarkable Rocks. They can be found on the south-western shore of Kangaroo Island. To get to Kangaroo Island, you need to hop on a ferry. The ferry only takes about 45 minutes, but that doesn’t stop it from being the most expensive ferry in the southern hemisphere. A return trip for the family (with car) ran us over $400. The ferry fills up so you have to pre-book. At $400, you don’t want to miss your booking.

Keeping that little piece of information in mind, here’s how our trip to the ferry went. We had stayed in Adelaide the night before our trip to Kangaroo Island. On the day of our crossing, we left Adelaide two hours before our departure time. That gave us plenty of time to take a couple of brief stops along the way.

We made our way down to the ferry terminal arriving a full half hour before the departure time (12:30) only to find the ferry was already boarding. We stopped the car and walked into the terminal to pick up our boarding passes. I casually walked out to the car while the rest of the family was asked to board on foot. We were going to be packed in so tight, there’d be no room for the family to open the other doors on the car. We were the second last car on the ferry. As I walked up the steps to the main deck I realized we were already pulling away. It turned out our 12:30 departure was actually a noon departure (oops). Maybe I should have checked those tickets before heading out…

More about K.I. tomorrow.

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Waiting   7 comments

goats, goat herd, herd, shepherd, goat herder, Israel, Judean Desert, girl, bedouin girl, bedouin

Still in Israel, this was a scene from our tour of the Judean Desert. Along the way, we came to a cistern that the local Bedouin families use for water. This girl was watering her goats as we arrived. At least, that’s what she was trying to do until we got in her way. I felt a bit uncomfortable invading her space, but our tour guide clearly had no qualms. He just pulled up to the cistern, hopped out of the jeep and stepped onto the cistern blocking her access to the water entirely. The guide seemed entirely oblivious to her, almost like she didn’t exist.

She looks young to me – maybe 10 or 11 years old and yet, here she was managing a herd of goats on her own and apparently well out of sight of home. Maybe this seems normal for people raised on a farm, but for a lifetime city-dweller like me, she seemed old beyond her years.

Unexpected   5 comments

Camels, Israel, camel, desert, Judean Desert

Maybe it’s a common sight in the Judean Desert, but I was not expecting to see camels wandering about in Israel. If I thought about it, perhaps I would have put two and two together. That said, when we spotted these camels, we’d just come through an area in the desert where the Israeli military practices. There were several burned-out, blown-up buses up to this point. Doesn’t really seem the best place for animals to be loitering.

They didn’t seem to be anywhere near anything or anyone so I thought they were likely feral. They may well have been since Bedouin families sometimes release old or injured camels. They could also have been part of a free-roaming domestic herd that just covers a lot of ground given the sparse vegetation.

The Way of Sorrows   11 comments

Via Dolorosa, Way of Sorrows, Way of Suffering, Jerusalem, Old City, Israel

One thing that is so striking about Israel is the richness of its history. I was raised Roman Catholic and took religious studies classes throughout school. I have a pretty decent understanding of the Bible though I can’t claim to have read it cover to cover. So, for me, visiting Israel was this constant stream of Christian history that I’d learned growing up. It’s hard to believe that I saw so much in such a short time. In just a few days, I:

– stood by the Sea of Galilee

– visited Capernaum where Jesus is believed to have walked on water

– saw the Church of the Multiplication of Loaves and Fishes where it is believed that Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish

– went to the Church of the Mount of Beatitudes (the Sermon on the Mount)

– visited Caesarea, home of Herrod from 22BC

– toured the town of Akko (Acre of the Crusaders) which reportedly hosted visitors including Marco Polo, St. Francis of Assisi and even Hercules

– entered the Dome of the Rock which Islamic tradition identifies as the centre of the world and encloses the sacred rock upon which Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son.

Okay, so you get the point. There’s a bit of history there. And I haven’t even mentioned swimming in the Dead Sea, cruising past wild camels in the Judean Desert or having coffee in a Bedouin camp. It’s hard to believe we were there for such a short time.

As for the image above, that is a scene from a street in Jerusalem known as the Via Dolorosa or the Way of Sorrows. It is believed to be part of the route that Jesus took as he carried his cross to his crucifixion.

St. George’s Monastery   15 comments

St. George's Monastery, Israel, Jericho, monastery, monks, religion, religious

St. George’s monastery dates back to the 5th century AD and was named for St. George of Koziba. It is an active Greek Orthodox monastery located north of Jericho in the West Bank in Israel. It was originally established by monks who were seeking to achieve the experience of desert prophets. The monastery has had a rough history including long periods of disuse. It was restored in 1901 and quite recently has been opened to visitors with a road being built to the monastery. Unfortunately, my visit to the monastery in 2000 pre-dates public access so this is as close as we were able to get.

Jericho…Almost   2 comments

Israel, Judean Desert, cross, graffiti, sunset, sunrise, holy cross, christian, memorial

Back in 2000 I was lucky enough to travel to Israel for work. I couldn’t very well go to Israel without seeing a bit of the country so we stayed a couple of days extra to have a bit of a look. This image is from a hill above St. George’s Monastery (home to Greek Orthodox monks) as we concluded a tour from Tel Aviv through the Judean Desert to Jericho. If I recall correctly, the tour wasn’t actually meant to get to this point, but soldier turned us away from Jericho. The city wasn’t stable at the time of our visit and everyone was being diverted away. So we missed out on Jericho, but we got to see a pretty amazing monastery built right into a cliff wall. Come back tomorrow and I’ll post a picture of the monastery!

Transformation   11 comments

Spring, Winter, thaw, snowfall, winter storm, spring storm, Edmonton

Okay, so this isn’t art, but it’s a bit of fun. We, like much of North America, are having a pretty warm Spring here in Edmonton, but Spring has had a lot of false starts here. It gets warm and the snow melts, then it snows again. Thankfully, with the warm weather, the snow hasn’t been sticking around. Yesterday the weather folks put out a winter storm warning saying we were going to get 25cm of snow. While enjoying a sunny day at 11C, it seemed hard to believe that a snow storm was on the way, but just in case they were right, I set up my tripod to take a before and after shot.

The right side of this image is from yesterday afternoon around 5pm. There was no snow in sight. At about 4am this morning the storm hit Edmonton. The left side of the image is from 8am after we’d been hit by more than 15cm of heavy snow.

The forecast is calling for above-zero temperatures for the next week so hopefully this return to winter will be brief.