Tel Aviv – Urbanlife

Tel Aviv.

A vibrant city indeed. People strolling along the pedestrian zones, sitting in one of the many cafes at a square or in a park or just going shopping in one of the big malls. The mild climate makes it even more comfortable to be in the streets and parks, especially now in the wintertime.

So far not really different to many other modern cities on the world. But then, there’s that mix of smaller, older buildings between big, modern skyscrapers. I can’t make it out a clear line between living area and business district. It’s all fluently.

It’s also lively and colorful, as i find bigger or smaller graffiti everywhere. And a lot of movement too, not only by car, but many by bicycle and e-scooter. A network of bicycle paths makes it easy to navigate trough the city. It’s fun to take one of the rental e-scooter and roaming trough the neighborhood. From time to time i have to stop for a photo or a nice cup of cappuccino, of course.

Tel Aviv – Marathon 2023

It was pure coincidence i was on side of the track of the annual Tel Aviv Marathon yesterday.

The blocked road and a water supply station got my attention when i was wandering along the seaside.

The marathon is started just now, i got informed. So, i took my camera out and started to shoot.

And i keep pressing the shutter since there was so many motivated, smiling, waving, thumb-ups and even hearts.

You all guys get my fully respect!

I decided to publish the pictures on my blog. If anyone recognize him-/herself and want that photo, just send a message.

Roma – A Glimpse Of Eternity

A winter day in Rome, known as the eternal city, is perfect for sightseeing. If the sun is shining and the temperatures are mild, even better.

I was surprised how quick i went trough all the entrances and security checks on the main tourist spots.

I’ll spare you all the details of the history and backgrounds, but will link the main attractions to Wikipedia for all those who seek more informations for their own trip to Rome.

For all those ones interested in some pictures, just do it my way: grab a coffee and enjoy what you’ll see:

The Vatican Museum

If in Vatican, or Rome respectively, you must go to the Vatican Museum, they said.

But be prepared for very long queue in front of the entrance, they warned me too.

Well, when i arrived there on this cold, but beautiful winter morning, there was only a few people wanting into the museum. I just could walk trough the entrance, literally.

And so i got a glimpse of all the treasures the Catholic church collected over the past centuries and the art, sculptures and paintings they got from various artists in many of the rooms and halls.

The first section i visited was the Egyptian museum. Does these even belongs here to the Vatican, i’ve been thinking. But then more and more sculptures, paintings, mosaics and huge tapestry followed on the other rooms.

The tourists been waving with their phones, tried to capture the beauty of art in their pockets. So did i, more or less. But honestly, it’s hard to get a proper picture from the huge paintings in the wall, if you can’t inhale the spirit of the hall. In this way, it was just right to forbid to make photos in the amazing and world famous „Sistine Chapel“ There are guards, who not only watch out for illegal photographers, but also remind the visitors to be silent.

The Vatican City – the holy, tiny state

Frankly, i had no idea how it will be to cross the border from Italy to the sovereign state of The Vatican City. Do i have to show my passport at border post? Is there any control at all? Or can i sneak in from a small alley from Rome?

Stepped out from the metro, first sight of The Vatican was its high massive wall which surround the lot of the tiny state. With only 49 hectares and less than 800 inhabitants The Vatican City is the smallest independent state of the world. But several ten thousands of tourists streams into the city daily in the high seasons.

But it’s wintertime now. Not many people on the streets when i followed these huge walls outside the Vatican. I went around a corner and saw the big columns which encircling the St. Peter’s Square. They’re also the border of the state of The Vatican City i guessed. Nobody noticed when i stepped trough and found myself on the huge square in front of the basilica. That’s it. I’m in.

I was put off by the line in front of the cathedral. Luckily the sun is shining with mild temperatures. I strolled around the square, observed the visitors, tourists and nuns and monks in small groups. There’s lot of space on the square. Quite different than seen in pictures. And the queue to the huge basilica is moving pretty fast too, i saw. I joined in. And really, quicker than expected i was trough the security check and inside the basilica.

An enormous space opened after coming trough the big doors. Everything is golden. Even the air seemed filled with a golden aura. How exciting must it been for the pilgrims just a few decades back, to step in this space of divine power. Every sinner feels small and insignificant, searching for the glory of forgiveness. Certainly a good source for funding a comfortable life as clerical elite and investing for more impressive buildings.

Countless sculptures and paintings all over. Some more hidden, other rather prominent. The famous sculpture ‚Pietà‘ from Michelangelo is near the entrance. Hardly to miss due the crowd in front of it. But i went for a hunt of hidden treasures. It brought me to the place under the cathedral, where the holy St Peter supposed to be buried, and since him also most of the following popes. No photos allowed here.

The top of the dome, which can be reached by an elevator or by foot on around 550 steps. I chosen the latter. The view over the state and also city of Rome was splendid. The almost empty St. Peter’s Square in front of the cathedral, the skyline of Rome in the back and a divine sunset was spectacular.

Dark birds circled the dome on my way down, sleepy angels in stone guarding a tomb i passed by and the fountain rustled its song to the stars when i reached the square again. It’s time to call it a night, i thought when i left that tiny state under the watchfull eyes of the Swiss guards.