Israel Jewish

A throwback to simpler and more peaceful times…

Today I am feeling nostalgic. Opening my phone this morning, I was reminded that six years ago today, knackered from taking 250 Jewish kids away on a youth camp for New Year, I headed to the airport. I boarded a plane, nervous, worried and far more anxious than I’d have let on.

It’s possible I got banned from flying Wizz Air after this flight…

Five and a half hours later, for the first time as an adult, and the second time in my life I walked down the famous ramp and Ben Gurion Airport Tel Aviv.

The last time I walked down that ramp, was nine years before – as a 16 year old on a three week tour of Israel. After 3 weeks I walked down what I now know as the sad ramp, and came home. Indifferent.

In those three weeks, contrary to whatever “AsAJew” antizionists will tell you… I was not brainwashed, I didn’t ‘Fall for the hasbara’… I came back thinking “that was a nice 3 week holiday… Jerusalem was special… maybe I’ll visit again one day”.

I didn’t grow up in a family of strong, Zionists. I grew up hearing stories of one of my sets of Grandparents who visited a few times… Grandma tongue-in-cheek always said “Lovely to visit, but I wouldn’t choose to live there”.

I never visited as a child. I have no close family there. (Because we escaped Eastern Europe early). I didn’t grow up visiting once or more a year, obsessed over bamba and shoko b’sakit. I had no connection and even after 3 weeks on tour, I still didn’t feel compelled to rush back.

I felt like I understood it was important that we had Israel, and I might occasionally talk about why I thought antizionism was an antisemitism problem… but I never fully felt connected.

Then one day I got a Whatsapp from a school friend. A school friend who had begged me to visit since she moved out there after school. The Whatsapp was a photo, the photo a wedding invitation.

My first instinct, as British as can be, was “Oh she’ll want my address to send me the proper invite.”… How wrong I was! But an invite to a wedding is an invite to a wedding, and I know better than to turn down an invite to a Simcha.

So 6 years ago, I found myself flying alone, to a foreign land, expecting to grin and bear it, maybe enjoy a wedding and come home… Except I didn’t just ‘grin and bear it’ and it didn’t feel all that foreign…

Blurry ramp photo courtesy of 2018’s potato phone.

We always say that being part of the Jewish people is like being one big family, and landing alone in Israel for the first time was testament to that…. I felt at ease, like I could do anything I needed or wanted to… and in a really strange way which I couldn’t really articulate at the time, I felt at home.

I said it, quoting the song as I wrote about leaving in October – Ein Li Eretz Aheret – I have no other land… I understand that more now as a phrase than ever before – I have been to America more times than Israel, yet don’t feel the same sense of ease, touching down at JFK or IAD as I do crossing the Mediterranean, seeing the beauty of Tel Aviv, and touching down at Natbag. (An Acronym in Hebrew for “Ben Gurion Airport”).

A wise-ish lady, on the reception desk in the hotel I stayed at in Tel Aviv said “Eeeerrmmm, You know, if you can enjoy eeet in the rain, you will like eeet here”…. She made little sense, yet I understood her. The weather was abysmal, and Tel Aviv cannot deal with rain. The roads were rivers and the pavements were… also rivers! But I absolutely enjoyed every minute of my time.
(Wise-ish because she failed to warn me of the puddle that had engulfed the road and kerb outside the hotel. When I returned to change my socks and shoes which were wet past my ankles she said “You’re the third person in the last hour”.)

So, perhaps it was the rain… Perhaps it was the food, the people, the scenery, the land, the connection, the giant mishpacha (family)… but 5 visits later… In sun, wind, and… erm… rockets… I finally get it. I do like it there… perhaps I finally appreciate it there too… because I am PROUD of it there…. a the world’s only Jewish state, surrounded by hostile nations, not only surviving but flourishing and achieving amazing things.

The past months have been hard for us all as Jews. Not least for those in Israel – the level of mourning and anxiety is as high as can be… not a day goes by without checking in on friends and trying to somehow share in their sadness… We feel it here in the diaspora too. Not an hour goes by when I’m not worried for my friends and almost every day I ponder my own safety here in London…

The thing about terrorists however, is that they can kill our brothers and sisters, but they can’t kill our spirit. This war has, without a doubt bought us together closer as a people… closer than we’ve ever been in my lifetime. One big ‘mishpacha’ feels more true than ever.

So I guess… in a way… thank you evil terrorists: for lighting a fire in our hearts… for reminding us that we are all one big family that hurts together, BUT soon I hope, we will be celebrating your end together.

As we start a new year, I keep thinking of the song B’shana Haba’ah – the chorus translates as “You will yet see, you will yet see, how good it will be next year.” – let’s hope and pray that ‘next year’ is now already ‘this year’ and we can soon be back to living in more peaceful, less worrying times.

Oh, and that wedding… you might wonder about the wedding.
It was fantastic. I’m glad that I gambled travelling alone to Israel in 2018. I’m glad that, trip made me realize what a brilliant place Israel really is…

The real thanks, goes not to the terrorists, but to my friends, the bride and groom – Taphat, Tamir and now my bestie Gaia (plus ‘Bar-li’ the dog) – TODAH RABBAH – 6 years ago, I didn’t dream I’d have come and stayed with you so many times, been on fantastic tiyulim, and eaten such wonderful food… or cancelled all my plans and come to stay with you during a war… thank you for looking after me – I guess I do have mishpacha b’Eretz Yisrael! ❤️ Mazal Tov on your upcoming wedding anniversary. 🥳🥳

Israel Jewish

Finding the answer to the question… How *am* I feeling?

For those of you starting here, I’ve spent the past 52 days, trying desperately to answer the question “how are you feeling?”. [Part 1] [Part 2]

I’ve been asked this question hundreds of times in the last 52 days, and I’ll be honest – most of the times I’ve lied;

“OK Thanks, it’s tough” or “Alright, it’s all I can be”… and on more than one occasion I’ve called in the infamous response of my late grandmother z”l: “with my hands mainly!”. But the truth is, since the 7th October, I’ve been feeling… different. Something within me has changed.

I’m confident that I can speak on behalf of almost the entire Jewish people and tell you that the last 52 days have been EXHAUSTING. They have been filled with a deep sadness, a mourning and a grief and yet also intermingled with tiny flecks of light.

I don’t think I can ever recall a time when the Jewish community has better come together as one – Religious, secular, Israel, Diaspora, it doesn’t matter where you are from or what your background is, we’re all in this together.

For the past 52 days, I’ve barely listened to ‘English’ music, and I know I’m not alone. (My Spotify unwrapped this year is going to be confused!) If you’d told me 6 months ago that I’d end the year listening to Avenu Shebashamayim (Prayer for the State of Israel) on repeat, or obsessing over a song in which, for days the only phrase I really knew was ‘There’s a million trains racing to Australia’, I’ve have said you were out of your mind… and yet here we are.

I’ve picked up the guitar a number of times, I’ve tried to play other things and yet all I can play is Achenu – a prayer for protecting and bringing home hostages.

Last Friday, I was distracted from work. Fixated on the cruel game of real life ‘Big Brother’ being played out whereby via what seems like random selection, hostages were released from the Gaza Strip by Hamas. I cried all Friday afternoon at my desk at home.

By the time the hostages had been released, and I found out that 3 of them were the family of a friend, I could do nothing but sob. Sob that some people were finally free, sob that one of my friend’s family still remained in Gaza, sob that the reactions on the internet were, and still are absolutely abhorrent, and most of all, sob for humanity and the cruel reality we’re living in.

Saturday night, again, I watched and I sobbed.

Sunday, However was different. On Sunday, I went to London with 105,000 other people – Jewish and not, and marched through the streets in protest at the rising level of antisemitism.

For the first time in 52 days, with the exception, perhaps of spending a few hours seeing Shulem, Alby Chait and Avromi Freilich in concert, I felt a sweet feeling of release, of calm, of warmth and of understanding.

I know I’m not alone feeling this – many have said the same thing. The march itself was quite a spectacle. The speeches, went on for FAR too long, but standing together at the end, singing Hatikvah, and God Save the King (still feels weird!) gave me tears, goosebumps and a feeling of the duality of my identity uniting as one.

At the end, we sang our hearts out – “Salaam Aleynu v’akol Haolam Saalam Shalom” – ‘Upon us and upon the world Peace, Peace’ – a song in both Hebrew and Arabic, before in an incredibly impromptu manner, dancing the Hora, in the middle of the road in Parliament Square.

The event ended and I felt elated, yet the minute I stepped outside of the barriers and headed to find my parents at the car, I felt an urgency to hide my Jewishness. Flags were folded and stuffed into pockets, Star of David necklace quickly placed inside my shirt, and banners/placards folded to be inconspicuous as I walked back through the streets of my city.

The walk back was short, though it felt incredibly long. I was second guessing every person, assessing every move, wondering about every motion. While totally uneventful, mentally the journey to the car alone was draining.

It made me think more than ever about my identity, about what it means to be a “British Jew” and for what it means to live as a real and unquestionable minority in a world full of many many others. Many others who are not like me.

Perhaps we’ve been too good as a people at assimilating. Perhaps, I imagine it’s why we often struggle with being accused of being both oppressor and oppressed – a subject David Baddiel covers in depth in the incredible ‘Jews Don’t Count’.

We’ve done great things, blended into spaces, done our best to try to fit in, and be “local”. We’re told we must respect the law of the land, and perhaps… just perhaps, we do it too well.

Maybe we’ve forgotten the warnings of our past. The warnings that no matter how assimilated we are, however much we try to ‘not be Jewish’ or ‘not look Jewish’, those who seek to kill us don’t care.
From the outside, even the potential for you to be Jewish, is enough to consider you a target – look no further than at the number of Thai nationals working on Kibbutzim who were killed or taken hostage by Hamas on October 7th.

As I slipped back into “British Life” on Monday, outside the warm, fuzzy, family like togetherness of Sunday’s march, I felt different. Conscious of my difference more than normal. Conscious of the fact that just the day before, I had been on the street in a protest to highlight the racism toward me, the ‘othering’ that has seen an exponential increase in the past 52 days, protesting my right as a BRITISH JEW to live harmoniously in this country that has been my family’s home for the past 3-4 generations.

I was protesting my right, to peace in the UK. I was protesting my right, to be Jewish. I was feeling angry. Angry that this is what we have had to do

But as the anger subsided, and the rational brain started to file away some of those short term, angsty feelings we all feel from time to time… something became clear.

I understood how was I feeling. I know how am I feeling now. The answer is simple:


The perpetual question that has bugged me for 52 days, has been answered.

And yet, I’m not sure why it took me so long to answer this question. Reading back, I answered it way back on October 15th:

“In the words of Vicki Baum: To be a Jew, is a destiny.


Israel Jewish

How are you feeling… Now?

It’s said there are 5 stages of grief:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

They don’t have to come in order… and some of them don’t need to come at all… and yet, I am pretty confident in speaking for the vast majority of Jews in saying that over the past 23 days, we continue to cycle through all the stages.

I’m starting to wonder if denial ever went away. For years we’ve denied that things could be this bad, denied that we weren’t worried, denied that the mass slaughter of Jews could ever happen again.

It happened again only 23 days ago, and yet it feels like the next time, is due round any day.

At the weekend we watched thousands march through London. Holding worthless, ironic banners such as “Queers for Palestine” or “Ceasefire now”…

Yesterday we watched as a plane was ambushed on the runway, the terminal over run with hate, and Jewish people attacked as they got off the plane.

Then today I watched, as my phone lit up: “Ashkelon”, “Jerusalem”, “Gush Etzion”, “Rishon L’tzion”, “Nes Tziona”. I text my friends an empty message of hope “Stay Safe”, knowing they have no real choice in the hand they are dealt by the fall of an unguided rocket seeking to kill them.

I watched today the news of Shani Louk being pronounced dead following the identification of skull fragments. Once she was abducted, she was paraded around, and recorded while people spat on her and cheered.

…and then I watched the amazing news of Ori Megidish being rescued by the IDF and returned home. I watched her be reunited with her Grandma, and showered with sweets in a moment of pure joy, and then remembered there’s another 200+ still missing; A distant ex-colleague, a friend’s family, another friend’s family… Each Jew, everywhere in the world right now, feels like we have a finger, a toe, and arm or a leg missing, and it will will stay missing until each hostage comes home.

The video of Ori and her grandma hit me harder than expected. Because as a PEOPLE, the Jews have some strange traditions that have transcended geographies. One of my earliest memories is going to Synagogue with my grandma… and throwing sweets over the side of the gallery, downstairs onto the poor Bar Mitzvah boy who’d finished his reading.

As I watched the celebration, and the sweets and felt warm and fuzzy for a moment, I felt it quickly turn into a cold chill. I was only here watching that video thanks to the actions of Ori and those like her, who rushed TOWARD danger not knowing the peril ahead. Not knowing what would happen, what was lurking round the corner and if they would survive.

Without Ori and countless others, or if the dice had been rolled unfavourably for me that day, I too could have been woken up by machine gun fire instead of rocket interceptions. I too could have been taken hostage, I too could have been dead.

I’m someone who has been pro-ceasefire each and every time before, who has been angry each and every time before. I’ve bargained with my beliefs about the way to peace each and every time before, been depressed and I’ve accepted the fate of things each and every time before… But this time, I simply cannot and will not deny the fact that there is now NO SUCH THING as a ceasefire.

If there was such thing then we wouldn’t be here… because when I went to sleep in Tel Aviv on October 6th, there WAS a ceasefire.

If there was such thing, then there wouldn’t be 200+ hostages. There wouldn’t be 1400+, Maimed, raped, beheaded, cremated, killed.

The problem is not a ‘Ceasefire’ and an ‘End to the war’… because I don’t know a single Jew who WANTS war. The problem is deep rooted fundamental antisemitism, and a desire to KILL JEWS.

I’ve spoken to a number of Jewish or in their own words “Sort of Jew…ish” friends, acquaintances, work contacts, etc. who have all told me “I never realised how much of a link to my Jewishness I had and I am really feeling it now” or “I am shocked at how the events in Israel have made me feel, I didn’t think I had ANY connection and yet here I am worried about my own life”… We are ALL going through the 5 stages of grief. Each and every Jewish person, everywhere in the world.

Some say there are actually 7 stages of Grief, the last two are “reconstruction/working through” & “acceptance/hope;

Over 3,000 years, we’ve continually been reconstructing and working through. As a people, we’ve been persecuted continually throughout our history. From Biblical times because we wouldn’t worship idols, through the Roman destruction of the Jewish state… We were persecuted in the middle ages, the 14th and 16th century… We survived pogrom after pogrom, and then suffered the Holocaust (I note, there was no suggestion of asking Hitler for a Ceasefire from the Allies….?)
We miraculously survived the Holocaust and managed to start our own state, and from the moment, in fact from the moment BEFORE we declared our own state, the persecution continued.

I don’t think it would be unfair to suggest that in taking a macro view, the only persistent stage of grief we’ve seen as a people is acceptance/hope; but in the micro, right now, today, 23 days after the largest massacre of Jews since the holocaust, I know why I’m struggling to tell you how I feel… because my feelings of acceptance and hope are totally and utterly depleted.

So… how am I feeling?

Scared, worried, concerned, continually upset, emotionally overwhelmed, unsure what the future holds? Absolutely.

Not only am I sad right now that I’m lacking in hope… but I’m sad that I know now that nearly EVERY Jewish person has ‘run out’ of denial that things are ok.
I’m sad it took such horrors, but I guess, the unity in our lack of denial of the problem, is the way we’ll find our hope again… Because in the words of Golda Meir; “If we have to have a choice between being dead and pitied, and being alive with a bad image, we’d rather be alive and have the bad image.”

Israel Jewish

How are you feeling?

Given the number of times those words have presented themselves to me since arriving home in the early hours of Saturday morning, you’d think I might have an answer. Truth is, I don’t really know.

The last few days… and in fact the days since the 7th October feel surreal. Many times in the last week and a bit, I’ve felt like I’ve been having out of body experiences. I would find myself in the middle of doing something, something mundane like standing in a supermarket looking at empty shelves, and wondering if I was actually there.
To take Israeli slang a little literally in translation, there have been a number of times I have felt as if I have been living Chai B’seret (life in movie).

In an incredibly British moment this morning, a friend asked me how I was and without skipping a beat I replied “I’m okay”… and as the words left my mouth a feeling of dread came over me. A feeling stronger than the usual feeling of “I’m ok when I’m not”. Within a second, I doubled down on my Britishness with “Well, you know, as okay as I can be”.

I know I’m not alone. Every Jewish person I speak to feels the same. “I’ve not slept”, “I’ve not eaten”, “I can’t concentrate”. We’re all doing things to find short moments of light in the day, before rapidly realizing the horror and sadness from last week is still hanging over us.

There’s no easy way to comprehend the events of the last week; The largest loss of Jewish life since the holocaust. Jews still missing the the abyss of Gaza. Graphic photographs of those murdered in their homes or at a festival. Endless news, media and social media coverage of events and the sense of impending doom as friends and loved ones get called up to military service, knowing that with each war comes even more loss.

And as if this wasn’t enough, scenes of celebration and hatred around the world; ‘From the River to the Sea’ and ‘Khaybar Khaybar ya yahud’ being screamed on the streets. “Free Palestine” being daubed in Jewish areas and in the centre of cities. Jewish buildings and apartments where Jews live daubed with a Star of David, scenes reminiscent of the yellow stars of Nazi Germany.

It’s been a week and a day, and yet it feels like each and every day, the world is becoming a darker place to be a Jew.

As I left Charring Cross Station this afternoon and walked down Whitehall to attend a vigil for those missing and those we lost last week I noticed something different; Whitehall was different.

Whitehall, a reminder of the greatness of this country, large monuments to the sacrifices this country made for our freedom – in some cases, freedom for the UK, others for the world and for WW2, freedom for me as a Jew.

Greeting me at the end of Whitehall, as ever was Charles 1st on his horse. Only today, he was wearing a headscarf and holding a Palestinian flag.

As we continued along Whitehall, we passed a protest/vigil for Ukraine outside Downing Street. There, outside the residence of the UK’s Prime Minister and daubed along the wall; “Free Palestine”.

The girls in front of us stopped to take a selfie, smiling, two fingers up, “Victory”, as I walked on, scared, Israeli flag buried deep in my pocket.

Once on Parliament square inside the large police presence, a sense of relief washed over me… a little cry… followed by listening to the hallowing stories, the prayer for peace, and singing along with the songs of peace trying my best not to get choked up. I found friends I knew but hadn’t yet met and I just tried my best to make sense of what was going on because the truth is… it’s insanity.

For during that hour on the square, I once again felt like I was in a movie. The whole feeling was surreal, that in London, in 2023, I had to attend a vigil because over 1,000 Jews had been killed and another 200 kidnapped.

As the event finished we sang Hatikvah, not just the national anthem of Israel but literally ‘The Hope’… and yet the one thing it was clear that we were all struggling to find, was hope.

At first, I got choked up… the singing was quiet, everyone emotional struggling the same way, but as we sang the second line; “Nefesh Yehudi Ho’miya – The Jewish soul sings” – that’s exactly what happened.
We sang, we sang loud and proud. We sang the powerful words of Hatikvah; Our hope is not yet lost, It’s two thousand years old, to be a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.

As the event finished, I found distant family members I met for the first time earlier in the year, and we stood talking, before we packed away our flags and headed off.

Walking back to Charring Cross, we found those same words, daubed onto the Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office itself. “Free Palestine”. On the other side of the road, we saw one Israeli flag wearer surrounded by police while a group of people some with Palestinian flags looked to be ambushing them…. A reminder of the fragility of being a Jew.

These scenes and walking back past Charles 1st, unearthed a feeling of deep anger inside. Angry that in this day and age, of supposed enlightenment, we as humanity are not only celebrating mass murder, rape, dismemberment but allowing to be celebrated. The police should have removed the flag, the graffiti should have been removed and a single man with a flag shouldn’t need police protection.

The anger bubbled within me all the way home… until I remembered two things. Both the words of Hatikvah, and a quote I saw earlier this year: At the very start of ‘The Museum of the Jewish People’ in Tel Aviv;

To be a Jew, is a destiny.

Vicky Baum

A destiny. Everything happening for a reason. For us, as Jews, that reason just may well be a 2000 year old hope. A hope for safety and a hope for freedom.

So, to answer…. How do I feel? Angry, upset, guilty, tired, sad, anxious… all of the above? I don’t know. But what I do know is that these feelings won’t go away.

They may fade, they may bring us waves of sadness and upset (I’ve cried three times just writing this)… As Jews we have ALL been forever changed by the events of last Saturday…

We mourn together, we worry together, we cry, we sing we hope… and I guess, in one way or another, this is just another part of our destiny, to be Jews.

Israel Jewish Personal Religion Travel

Ein Li Eretz Aheret – I have no other land.

My heart is ALWAYS heavy in the departure lounge at Ben Gurion Airport. In fact, when I arrived on Sunday 1st October, and peered down into the giant bowl of departures before the happiness of the ramp, I felt a glimmer of sadness.
Sadness that I knew that in just 2 weeks time, I would be back, down there, around the fountain, waiting to leave.
I waxed lyrical before about how we as Jews never say “Goodbye” and only L’hitraot (See you again). Every time I’m here, I cry, I weep, and I stare out the window with sadness as the plane lifts off the ground, knowing I have a homeland of my people I can come back to.

I’ve a history of extending or trying to extend my stay, prolonging the time I’m in my homeland for. One more hummus, one more schwarma, one more walk along the tayelet (promenade) one more stroll down Sderot Rothschild (one of the central streets of Tel Aviv).

This time is different. Not just because I am here 4 days earlier than planned. But because my heart isn’t just heavy. My heart ACHES. It hurts. It’s screaming.

The tears started in the car from just south of Haifa. But truly, the tears started in Tel Aviv, early on Saturday morning, where distant missile interceptions woke me up… As I was coming to terms with the news, the sirens sounded, warning us of an incoming missile, jarring me fully awake as I moved quickly to the shelter.

The loss is unprecedented. The largest number of Jews lost since the holocaust. We are sad, we are scared, but we will not give up.

Amid the loss, the sadness, and the chaos, we managed to make a wedding for a friend; we were greeted by over a hundred members of the town who had come to take the place of the guests who couldn’t come, and celebrated a moment of sheer joy under a makeshift chuppah of a tallit that survived the holocaust belonging to the bride’s grandfather.

Yet as joyous as the joy was, my phone didn’t stop. People checking I was ok, and people informing me, of the suffering of my friends and their families. A friend’s best friend missing (now found murdered) another friend missing 5 of his family. Quicker than the way we hastily created joy at the wedding, all sense of joy vanished from my body. I was, not okay. and there was nothing I could to do change it. While usually the always happy one in a group…. I was broken. Just like the rest of Am Yisrael, I was not okay…

When we say the world is small, it’s even smaller for Jews… 6 degrees of separation is usually only 2 or 3. Everyone Jewish, and I mean EVERYONE knows someone impacted by this. As days go by, the number of those folk impacted is going to grow, and Jews worldwide will face even more pain. It sickens me to see Hamas terrorists on TV saying they didn’t kill civilians and that they were “just resisting.” There are folk on the internet celebrating the deaths.

I’m on a plane to Cyprus, to get me out of Israel and then on a plane from Cyprus to London. London where “Free Palestine” has been daubed on rail bridges in Jewish Areas, where pro-hamas rallies have taken place, where I never fully have felt safe to proudly, openly and outwadly be a Jew.

On the way to the airport, as ever, I found myself placing my Magen David (Star of David) back inside my shirt. Hiding away my identity. Concealing my Jewishness.
For 5km on the highway, I found myself fighting in my own head, over the right thing to do, Jewish and proud, or Jewish but hidden. In every generation, there’s been someone that tries to kill us – At the Passover seder each year we read: V’hi She Amda l’avotenu: “And this is what kept our fathers and what keeps us surviving. For, not only one arose and tried to destroy us, rather in every generation they try to destroy us, and the l-rd saves us from their hands.” This is a statement that is as true today as it has ever been over the last 2,000 years of our existence. We hurt now, we are sad but we are not defeated and we are strong.

About 5km north of Netanya, having passed 2 checkpoints in the road a numerous IDF vehicles, I noticed something. The municipality had been out and placed Israel flags in each of the lampposts. A reminder that this state is still here, is proudly Jewish and is going to prevail.

The scenes at the airport are unusual. Families queueing to check in with as much luggage as they can carry, parents with kids, dogs, cats… people wearing multiple layers of clothes. It’s reminiscent of pre-holocaust escape stories you’ve read in history books, or heard as testimony from survivors….

…and yet downstairs, in arrivals, you can hear the sound of a large number of people, filling the arrivals hall, singing their hearts out to welcome home soldiers, reservist and normal citizens, arriving on one of the few flights to land here today.

While I was sure of waiting until my original flight on Sunday to leave, the false alarm yesterday that had us in the Mamad (safe room) for over an hour, and the lack of sleep and high level of anxiety means I know, that in order to best serve Am Yisrael, I need to preserve my self.

The terrorists haven’t won by me leaving. The terrorists have lost. Because I will fight with all my might to spread the message of the massacres, share the stories of those killed and to celebrate the heroes both in the IDF and civilians who survived.

The terrorists haven’t won by me leaving, because they’ve strengthened my already strong identity. I will continue to speak out against the slander, the misinformation and the antisemitism.

The terrorists haven’t won by me leaving, I am not allowed to help directly in the efforts here. I don’t have an Israeli Passport/ID card so I can’t give my tech/cyber skills. But that doesn’t mean I can’t help from home… and most importantly it doesn’t mean I can’t start the process to become a citizen.

Israel is going to need us over the coming days, weeks, months and years. I am so goddamned proud of this small slice of land, the size of the state of New Jersey, surrounded by hostile neighbours, and while Aliyah may not be what I want to do for now, I will without a doubt be looking properly at how I can become a dual citizen… because After all;

Ein Li Erez Aheret –

I have no other land
Even if my land is burning.
Just a word in Hebrew pierces my veins, my soul, in a weak body, in a broken heart.
This is my home.
I will not stay silent because my country changed her face
I will not give up reminding her
And sing in her ears she will open her eyes.”

ADHD Personal

A stimulating day

What’s this? An out of cycle blog post? No holiday, no travel, and there’s a post?! What on earth is going on? Good question reader… today was a bit of a day… and I thought I could do with processing it by writing it down… and I did say to a colleague today that I don’t write on my blog enough… so here we go….

Today started like a fairly normal day – The alarm went off and I didn’t want to get out of bed… I was going to go into the office this morning, but slept really badly and decided I could benefit from a bit more sleep and no commute! (What a good choice!).

Today ended like a fairly normal (ish day…) I was the moderator for a panel chat at work celebrating Jewish American Heritage month. (The panellists were American!) – A great time was had by all!

The middle of the day however, was not your standard run-of-the-mill day.

Just gone midday, my mobile phone rang. A number I didn’t know. I answered. It’s the hospital. They’ve had a cancellation, could I come in… at 2pm… I checked the calendar and it worked! I made some lunch… Joined my 1pm call… took the dog out to the toilet and wandered up to the hospital!

I’d been referred to the ADHD clinic back in 2021. I had an inkling for a while… I was a bit erratic and fidgety as a child… struggled to concentrate during school and especially when revising for exams… and in the office used to struggle to stay at my desk all the time. (I love a wander!)

A random conversation with a colleague last year made me think that actually I did have something more than just being scatty and erratic and sometimes falling into deep periods of extreme focus… so I went to the GP who asked me a bunch of questions and referred me.

The wait was horrendous and I’d checked in with the hospital a number of times with no avail… and I’d just last week tried to contact them to find out what was going on and was waiting for a call back. Today’s call was just luck! (they didn’t have my message!)

And so, 4 hours after the phone rang, I was leaving the hospital with a diagnosis and a prescription for ADHD medication! Slightly surreal!

Tomorrow starts a new chapter I guess… I’m excited to see what happens and if I see improvement thanks to the stimulants! Hopefully I’ll write some updates… and I say hopefully… because I was supposed to keep up to date.. and.. look where that got me!

But also I hope to write some updates just in case someone reads them and hit helps them!

Until next time… I’m off to go make a cup of tea and get a reasonable night’s sleep – a new day starts tomorrow!

Istanbul Travel

Carry on up the Bosphorus…

… and getting scrubbed like a Sultan!

For the last time, Good Evening London, Good evening world, Istanbul Calling!

Today started with a “reasonable” wake up call which resulted in a slightly less busy breakfast room… After a quick breakfast, I hot footed it down to “Tunnel” – to make my way downhill to Karakoy to make it over the Galata Bridge and to the ferry port.

The ferry company in Istanbul offers a pretty much full day tour – 10:30-16:30 almost all the way up the Bosphorous Strait to the North Sea… All for the very pricey sum of 65 Turkish Lira…. or £2.70.

In the queue to get tickets I made friends with Karen and Ed from the USA (shoutout to you if you’re reading!), all thanks to a man attempting to silently push in the queue… I used my best being British and a very quiet tut to ensure he was not pushing in!

A pretty nice view from the Port of Eminonu.

The Bosphorus is BUSY – it’s a prime shipping lane from Russia and hundreds of ships per day pass through – 48,000 per year which is 3-4 times more than the Panama Canal or Suez Canal.

But there was also plenty of wildlife too… like this guy who kept flying alongside us…

As we sailed up the Bosphorus we passed lots of incredible buildings, mosques, palaces and all sorts….

Dolmabahçe Palace

Karen was, quite rightly obsessed with this MAHOOSIVE flag of Turkey up the hill…

Work decided to follow me…

There was genuinely LOADS to see from the boat

Rumeli Hisan
Not sure what this was but it looked cool…

When you reach the top of the Bosphorus, you dock at the tinest town – Anadolu Kavağı on the Asian Side, just south of the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge. Looking at the bridge now, I have found its the 5th tallest of any bridge in the world and is one of the widest!

Anadolu Kavağı is really a tiny town, where it turns out they don’t speak much English… Karen and Ed had an amazing book (a bit like lonely planet) which recommended a bakery – we thought we’d get something to see us through before we went on a short hike.

What unfolded in the bakery, I cannot do justice to explaining here, but involved frustrated language from both sides, lots of gesticulation and shouting of the word “Potertoy” which transpired to be… Potato. I had my eye on the single roll left there, but after much confusion and me shouting “ONE-ONE” whilst doing single digit hand gestures, Karen got her pastry, I got my roll and we set off.

The cabaret of the bakery, however was concluded with us all trying the rather large pot of Potertoy pastry and each of us concluding it was horrible! The single roll was lovely, and we all shared that!

We left the town and hiked up the hill through the military controlled zone (We’re asking no questions… cameras away) to Yoros Castle…. or at least the remains of it…

Some stones in the shape of a castle.

What was lacking in castle was certainly not lacking in view!

There I am between the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge bridge… Thanks Ed!
An artsy one…
The view south toward Istanbul!

Whilst hiking we made more friends with the most intriguing New Zealand couple, thanks the husband exclaiming “I don’t know about the Black sea… it looks blue to me!” – they have left New Zealand for a year, with no solid plans to basically travel the world with their son. Pretty incredible stuff and I’m sort of a little jealous!

Karen, Ed and I were hungry so decided to settle on a small waterfront Restaurant, looking over the boat so that we could keep an eye on things to ensure we didn’t miss it going back!

While the Restaurant had English menus, the staff did their best but did not really understand, causing another round of gesticulation and repeating… meanwhile I settled for, and managed to order a Fish… and we shared some surprisingly good chips before heading back to the boat.

After sailing back to Eminonu, we took a stroll uphill to the Grand Bazaar…. If I’m honest, it was actually a little overwhelming. Streets and streets of crap… I mean things… many shops selling the same stuff as you’ve seen all over Istanbul. I had a jaunt round before heading back to the hotel.

Questionable… We giggled.

From the hotel I got ready for my Hamam. I followed the instructions from the Hamam and got some swimming shorts ready, left most of my valuables in the hotel and headed out to get some food.

I got food in a great bar where there was an American lady and her husband playing guitar/singing. She cracked out the Kazoo and I was happy!

From the bar, I pottered a little bit before heading into the Hamam.

Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı

Kılıç Ali Paşa Hamamı is a renovated 16th century Hamam pretty much within the grounds of the neighbouring mosque.

Upon entering I was sent upstairs to a small changing room to remove all clothes… “No Underwears” the attendant reminded me – you wrap yourself in a peştamal – a sort of wrap, before heading back downstairs.

The Ceiling from the changing area…

Once downstairs, you are led into the Hamam. The warmth instantly hits you and the steamy air relaxes you… but it’s not as steamy as a steam room. You’re sat on warm marble against the wall, where you are washed from a fountain with a bowl. The water was a lovely temperature and it was a welcome warm up for what I was about to endure.

From the pre-wash, you are then led to a giant marble slab in the middle of the room. You lay out on your back to soften and relax for about 15-20 minutes. It’s warm and relaxing and I really took the time to unwind.

While lying there, the call to prayer started from the mosque next door and it really led me to relax even more, taking in the sounds, the ancient roof above me, and dreaming of what it would have been like here back when it was first built.

My daydreams were soon interrupted by my new friend Yasar, who came to take me to another warm marble bench for the scrubbing and bubbling.

I’m not even sure how to describe what happened next in words, but for the next 30 maybe even 40 minutes, Yasar and I got a little too acquainted for my liking… between the way he magically created endless bubbles from what looked like a pillow case, to the way he scrubbed nearly every inch of me with a bath mitt that felt a little like 80 grit sandpaper, we got close. We also established that I am tense, my back is a mess, I am VERY ticklish and that Yasar likes football… there was some connection to Hull City. (I’m still not entirely sure)

I was also reminded pretty boldly that my mobility and posture is actually pretty crappy and I hope this has kicked my butt into gear to take up something like Pilates back home!

After a the scrubbing was more bubbling washing and massaging including shampoo and my temples feel new… to the point I’m not sure I have ever been so clean in my entire life!

Yasar didn’t warn me that the final watering would be cold, which was quite the surprise! Once cold watered, Yasar wrapped me up like Sultan Steven the first and sent me out to sit in the lounge area on a sort of sofa bed to chill out.

I’m not sure this look will take off!

I chilled for a while before getting dressed, paying and wandering out back toward my hotel… As I stepped out I was a little awestruck by the beauty of this small mosque…

Sometimes small is beautiful!

I wandered up the super steep hill back toward the main road near where I am staying, where I had a little wander. It’s sort of like Denmark Street in London – LOADS of musical instrument shops, as well as shops selling knicknacks, clothes, turkish delight, etc.

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the size of the street dogs. There are street cats everywhere and a number of street dogs. While the cats are normal sized, the dogs are HUGE.

This is a pretty medium sized Chonk!

From the main street, I finally found some postcards, and made friends with the man in the shop called Tina – Tina, you’ve promised to send the postcard. Don’t let me down – the recipient is a huge fan of the blog. NO PRESSHA.

And with that, I think my time in Istanbul is pretty much complete. My flight out at 13:10 tomorrow means I will be leaving the hotel at about 10 to head to the airport (There are many question about how long it actually takes to get to Sabiha Gökçen airport so better be safe than sorry.)… I’m actually flying “Turkish Easyjet” – Pegasus Airlines, so am now off to pack, repack, measure and weigh my bags!!

Would I come back to Istanbul? 100% – while I feel like I’ve seen everything I have set out to see, it certainly strikes me as the sort of place you could come back to, see new things and enjoy old things again. I’m a fan for sure!

What next I hear you ask? Well, I have been a little sad this evening that I have not done anything official to commemorate Yom HaShoah – Holocaust memorial day… before I realised that the way I am commemorating this year is by flying to Israel! Not only do Am Yisrael Chai(the children of Israel live), but the Children of Israel thrive, and I’m super looking forward to another trip to Israel. I can’t think of a better way to commemorate the 6 million murdered by joining the 7 or so million living and thriving in our homeland for a few days!

It’s unlikely I’ll blog again from Israel, so until next time I’m somewhere new, thanks for joining me… and, I guess… Yalla Bye!

Istanbul Jewish Travel

Synagogues, Mosques, Churches and Palaces

…and lots of walking!

Welcome back to Istanbul (not Constantinople) part 2! I’m back in the rocking chair on the balcony writing for the second evening running…

The hot tub in the background features later in the day…

This morning began in the bustling breakfast room of the Hotel. There was pretty much anything and everything on display for perusal – not much fruit, but almost anything else you could imagine. I settled for a few slices of toast covered with honey I took from the honeycomb on the buffet (as you do)… a few pieces of traditional bread, and some Turkish Delight and nuts…. when in Turkey and all that!

There were no empty tables in the breakfast room so I ended up making friends with a very interesting Austrian lady who was here visiting “The bad parts of town”… she had family here, and she comes back regu larly… She also told me at the end of WW2, her father walked home to Austria from Poland once he escaped internment. She was not forthcoming with any more details so I did not push!

From Breakfast I wandered down to the Neve Shalom Synagogue and Jewish Museum. I learned all about how the Jews came to Istanbul following the Spanish expulsion – How they integrated, formed a unified community and how they have had a rich history here.

The Chandelier makes the shape of a Magen David

As someone who is incredibly Ashkenazi (Eastern European Jewish)… and by incredibly, I mean 99.7% according to my DNA test, many of the things about the Sephardi (Spanish) culture are interesting to me as they are similar, yet different.

Turkish Sephardi Torah Scrolls

While there are actually now both Sephardi and Ashkenazi Synagoges in Istanbul, a chance conversation showed me the similarities – I was in the foyer of the synagogue looking at the memorial to the two terrorist attacks that damaged the building and killed congregants and got talking to the people stood there.

One of the men, made Aliyah (Moved to Israel) when he was 14, but as a child this was his Synagogue. I don’t think he’d been back since he was a kid, (and was now in his late 50s) and was recalling stories to his family and friends (who also happened to be local Turkish jews)… he said that as a kid he used to go to Synagogue… sit with his dad, and then go upstairs to sit with his grandma to be shown off to all her friends and spoiled rotten with sweets…. We had the same story. <3

Neve Shalom from the Ladies Gallery

We also had an amazing conversation about the difference between being Jewish and practising and how special it was to be Jewish but it was mutually exclusive to being religious.

The Exerior… Note the hidden Chanukiah!

From Neve Shalom, I walked into a film set (literally) and ended up stumbling up the Camondo Stairs to get out the way – I didn’t get a photo in the panic!

From there I walked down to the Golden Horn, and walked accross the Galata Bridge again. This time, I wandered through the Egyptian Spice Market… I will be going back there tomorrow!

From the Spice market, I wandered over to the Topkapi Palace! (I had to look up how to write this, as in my head all day I’ve been saying Teppenyaki!!). Ordered to be built in 1459 by Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, and serving as the administrative center of the Ottoman Empire and the home to it’s sultans up until 1856, it’s a pretty impressive piece of work…

One of the buildings the sultan himself lived in
A fun reflective shot…
My new sofa arrives Tuesday…
Some of the painting was breath taking…
…and so were the tiles!
A wild me in the sultan’s drawing room!
Even more tile porn.
Interesting courtyard tile art!

From the Palace, I walked through the gardens down to the Hagia Irene – a greek orthodox church, Technically the second largest in Istanbul, which is now a museum.

By Museum it’s pretty much just a shell… the photos of inside were pretty unenthralling as most of the center was covered by fencing for what looked like building work, and nets collecting bird poop!

But a large cross was visible!

From the Hagia Irene, I wandered out and over to the Blue Mosque… which was closed…

Closed for Refurbishment…

So I wandered back over the square to the Hagia Sophia…

Not closed!

I got there just in time for the afternoon prayers…. there was a rush, and where I could go was a little limited, but all the same, I popped my shoes off and went inside.

It was breathtakingly huge…. and impressive… and just an incredible feat of engineering and art… Now when I said Hagia Irene was techincally the second largest Church… that was because Hagia Sophia was originally a church, that was converted to a mosque in 1943.

Guardian Angels on the ceiling…

From 1935 til 2020 Hagia Sophia was a museum however the current Turkish president changed the status back to mosque through a series of technicalities as a way to win over some of his more religious subjects…. This has resulted in some of the leftover church features being covered up…

Mary hides behind the white sheet…

While others are a little more difficult to hide…

I left Hagia Sophia, and headed back to the hotel. It was warm, I was warm, I wanted to chill out for a little bit before I headed out to dinner so thought I’d try the rooftop/balcony Jacuzzi.

This was not my finest hour. It transpires I was too long for the bath, so couldn’t find a comfy position whereby I was actually submerged in the water, and it also transpires the secluded rooftop balcony, was not as secluded as one might think when your neighbours appear on the actual roof of their building…

From a risqué bath, I headed out to dinner, via Taksim Square and yet another beautifully lit mosque

For dinner, I shlapped out to the only Kosher restaurant in Istanbul (that I could find)… I guess this is becoming a feature of this blog – “Eating in a questionable far flung Kosher Restaurant so you don’t have to”…

As it happens, good choices were made!

A proper Turkish in Turkey!

The guy in charge didn’t speak much English, I don’t speak any Turkish, so we settled on a combination of English and Hebrew… A good warmup for my next stop!

From Caffe Eden, I wandered down to get a view of the 15th of July Martyrs Bridge (Named after those who died in an attempted coup on the bridge)… and wow am I glad I did…

From the bridge, I took a wander back to the main road and just before hopping in a taxi, I accidentally stumbled upon another Synagogue to round the day off nicely!

I’m off to weigh my suitcase now to work out how much stuff I can buy at the Bazzar and spice market tomorrow… Early start – I’m off on a Cruise up the Bosphorus!

Istanbul Travel

It’s nobody’s business but the Turks!

Greetings reader old and new, and welcome to another set of ramblings bought to you by Steven while in a foreign land… This time, from Istanbul (no, not Constantinople).

Thanks to a lack of outbound companion voucher flights to Israel and a want to have come and visit for a while, I find myself writing while sat on a rocking chair on the balcony, listening to the call to prayer going on in the background.

This morning at an ungodly hour, I made my way to Heathrow, where I was soon to learn that the baggage carousels “Don’t start work” til 4.30, and the BA Lounge doesn’t open til 5.

"service currently unavailable" on the screens at heathrow

Once the bag was dropped and I was fed, we boarded the flight where I promptly tried my best to sleep. Having done so many Transatlantic flights last year, I found this one a little short (It was only about 3.5 hours!)… but then I had made it to Istanbul!

From the airport, I hopped into a taxi and headed to the hotel to dump my bag and have a little nap. Nap didn’t happen as the housekeeping team helped me to put the AC on for me to find out shortly later that it was only blowing hot as the cold is “off for the winter”.

Eventually, nap given up on, I put on some shorts and headed out to the Galata Tower. (Shorts were a MISTAKE, and would soon be replaced with trousers – spot the tourist!)

Galata Tower

Galata Tower was opened in 1349 and provides great views over the city of Istanbul and beyond. I’m not entirely convinced the Lifts containing floor to ceiling screens which panned across Istanbul during the ascent were original from 1349, but who am I to judge?

Views Views
More Views

While up the Galata Tower we were looking down on some form of rooftop studio… I wouldn’t be surprised if you see the footage on the Eurovision song contest entry for Tukey this year….

Inside the tower, on the way down was a collection of pots, pans an ornaments from Istanbul over the years, some of which were pretty cool!

Ancient Pots and Pans

The stairs were incredibly tight and I bumped my head a number of times but they made a great aesthetic and seemed more legit than the lifts…

My favourite exhibit in the collection however, was this….

From the Galata Tower, I started to walk down to the Golden Horn and snapped a photo of a street cat, who then turned around to star face on in the second attempt…

I walked down to the Atatürk Bridge and crossedt he Golden Horn, taking far to many photos of the train that stops halfway. (I might do something funky with them later on…)

Once on the other side of the Golden Horn, I wondered the streets a little – it’s very easy to just go for a wander and take in the endless market style shops and stalls and look at all the things you have no reason to buy… and some thing you want anyway!

I stopped for some dinner, before walking to the Basilica Cistern. The Basilica Cistern is the largest of the many underground cisterns in Istanbul for water storage, and dates back to the year 527!

It’s super beautiful so I will let the photos do the talking…

The lighting changes tone every few minutes revealing different aspects of the stone work…

Also, toward the back are two rather strange columns with carvings of Medusa!

The poor man in this photo thought he tried to help me by taking a similar photo of me… but my camera didn’t take the photo… I don’t speak Turkish, he doesn’t speak English and we had a hilarious non-language conversation… alas, no photo…
This particular column dates back to the end of the 4th Century!

I walked back toward the Golden Horn via the very pretty Gülhane Park, and took some photos of the lovely flowers, while locals partook in their Iftar meals in the grass…

My walk took me back past Yeni Cami, one of the lesser known but still incredibly pretty mosques (Dating back to the 17th Century)

I wandered across the Galata Bridge, looking at all the restaurants on the underside of the bridge (while the tram/road goes on top), before snapping this, ft. Moody sky…

Finally, I was lazy and went on the incredibly creatively named “Tunnel”. The second oldest underground train in the world (after the Tube!) with literally just two stops, it bought me nicely up to the hill by my hotel! (More on “Tunnel” to come, I’m sure!)

Right… I’m off to the giant indoor jacuzzi in my room (I’m not sure why it’s there… I didn’t book it.. but I’m embracing it…) and then bed because I’m shattered!

To be continued!

America Olympic National Park 2022 Travel

Climb Ev’ry Mountain*

I don’t want to question the artistic license used for the classic film the Sound of Music, but I do start to wonder what on this earth they feed the Nuns at that monastery if they think they can climb ‘Ev’ry Mountain’

Today, I climbed a mountain. *insert nun jokes about not making it a habit etc. here*..

Let me tell you, I’m not ready to climb another any time soon.

Whilst talking to some folk in the rain forest yesterday, I got the suggestion to do the Storm King Trail. Turns out “Storm King” is actually a mountain… and it’s Far-King Steep!

The day started with a leisurely drive down to lake crescent where I spritely hopped out the car, kitted out with the layers and rain protection and headed off down the paved track, under highway 101 toward Storm King.

About half a mile down the track, there is a sign for Storm King. At first, I thought it was a mistake. It pointed to some stumps and a muddy “path” that ran up the side of the hill.

It was no mistake.

The path was narrow, and steeeeep and relentless… but I appear to like a challenge so off I trolled up the mountain.

A steep and windy start…

The path wound round the edge of the foot of the forest. You could see the trees that had fallen and become nursery logs, giving life to other trees…

Nursery logs are fallen trees that become the root home for new trees – the rainforest floor is too dense to root straight in!

The path continued to be steep and was filled with switchback on switchback on switchback. Sometimes it was actually hard to tell where the path was going as it was so steep and unpredictable.

Eventually you noticed you were starting to reach the top of some of the trees…. some.

The top of some of the trees…

The sense of excitement was soon gone, when you realised you were simply at the foot of the next trees just further up the mountain!

More Trees…

More trees meant more switchbacks and more steep climbing.

One of the many steep switchbacks.

During one of the many breaks I took, I had the time to reflect on the happy, spunky liveliness my deer American counterparts. I’m stood there standing sweating like I was shaking hands with the sun, a hot mess barely able to breathe… while someone passes, uphill and manages to barely get out a wheeze but a happy wheeze of “Hey, How you doing?!!”. Same as you pal… same as you.

Eventually the ascent paid off, and we were given the most amazing view of Lake Crescent.

It’s so pretty!
Plandid or candid?

From the viewpoint, there is the option to go further. On the Non-Maintained trail… because I’d suffered so far, I decided I had to summit this damn thing.

I was in two minds, but looked at the folk up ahead and the folk coming down and decided if they could do it (pretty sure they were bus pass eligible) then so could I.

The path turned into rocks…

Rocky path…

And sometimes the rocks came with ropes…

Is this going uphill or downhill? 🙂

And other times there were no ropes and no paths.. and it was a bit of a scramble.

Errrrm what?

And then eventually I reached the peak… Worried how the view was going to be after all that work because we were in the clouds by now…

The last little bit to the very top of the summit…

At first, it was hazy…

Something down there? I’m literally in the cloud…

So we focussed on some wildlife shots:

Not sure what sorta bird this is…
Spot Alvin and/or his friends.

Eventually, having stood round for a little while, eaten some lunch, and patiently waited, watching the clouds ascend from the lake to the sky. (Literally I watched clouds grow…)…

The view cleared!

It also cleared enough for much clearer lake views.
You could see over the clouds out to the strait of Juan de Fuca!

Grand as the views were, we all know the old saying… what goes up… must come down… and as I started to descend, the clouds did too… gentle rain to cool you down.

Let me tell you, the burn going downhill is just as bad as the burn going uphill!

Eventually, I made it back to the trailhead path, and decided… I’d walked so far, I’d take the short stroll to the Marymere Falls… I’m glad I did!

Pretty impressive!
Got a bit arty.

From Storm King, I decided to race on down to Rialto Beach (about an hour’s drive) to try and see the stacks and, to take the stroll along the beach up to the Hole in the Wall.

Sadly, on arrival, not only was it high tide… but the heavens decided to drop a storm.

The huge waves, flat stones and and uprooted trees were super cool, but I was soaked through from about 15 mins of being outside!

Crazy uprooted trees…
Crazy Waves!
I did an artsy flat stone thing.

From Rialto, I headed back to Port Angeles, where I had the most delicious pizza!

Tomorrow is the last day before a week of work in Seattle.. I’m not quite sure yet where I’m going stop on the way back to the city, but I do know the first stop for me right now, before bed is the whirlpool to undo some of the aches of the day!