Israel - Day 2

Whilst at work on my second day, I mentioned that something I was on the look out for in the markets was saffron. It’s incredibly expensive back in the UK, and I know it can be quite a bit cheaper in the Middle East. So a couple of the guys at work insisted they take me to one of the best markets not too far away - Mahane Yehuda.

If you are in the area, I really recommend to at least walk through this area. It’s not really for tourists, to me it seemed to be a market that all of the locals frequently use, so it’s very ‘authentic’. Unlike the market in the Old City, this one is mainly for produce, so anything from meats to fresh fruit and vegetables. It didn't take long to find a stall selling saffron (as well as every other spice imaginable!). 

I couldn't resist a quick walk around before heading back to work.

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After work, I planned to visit a particular location, but it was closed for the day. So at short notice I decided to head back into the Old City. I lost count how many photos I took in this exact alley, just like the say before, I arrived just as the sun was in the right position and low enough to be perfect.

This photo stood out to me, partly as this was one of the only photos where the alley wasn’t crammed with people! The amazing light on the steps, leading to the men at the top made this is definite keeper for me.

 
The markets can really be an assault on the eyes sometimes! With every available space packed with goods to buy.
 

When walking the streets, you often pass these groups of elderly men playing a variety of games, from cards to backgammon. They almost seem to be in their own little world, completely oblivious to the countless people and tourists walking past. I guess you get used to it after a while!

I walked though this archway on my previous day here and managed to take a photo of an elderly gentleman casually sitting on the side. This time, just as I was framing the photo again, a little girl walked past.

Of course I had no idea where she was coming from, or where she was going - but to me she made the photo worth it.

As I was leaving the Old City, the sun was again just about to set, creating an amazing colour on the wall themselves.

This was my view of the city as I enjoyed another delicious dinner, on top of the Mamilla Hotel.

A great ending to another great day in Jerusalem.

Israel - Day 1

Israel really is an underrated country. I'll admit I've only visited Tel Aviv and Jerusalem previously, but I'm sure there's far more to it than that. This was another trip to Jerusalem, having first visited there well over 3 years ago. 

I was there only for a week, but I was staying very close to the Old City and downtown area, so I hoped I could make the most of the evenings after work to explore and rediscover this amazing city.


All photos taken with a Fuji X-T1 and 23mm f/1.4 lens

After my first full day in the city, and after work, I was dropped back at my hotel and immediately changed and set out for the city. It was only a 15 minute walk or so to the outer walls of the Old City. In my typical fashion, I had no real plan or destination....just wandering wherever I can.

If you enter the city via the main Jaffa Gate, keep walking straight and you reach the start of the markets. You can't not be tempted in by these tiny narrow alleys, filled with everything you can imagine. Make sure you are ready to haggle for a bargain if you spot anything you want to buy, I was told many times they will charge 3 or 4x to tourists!

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After almost an hour of trying to find my way around the maze, I ended up back near the main gate - just as the sun was in its final moments.

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Bath

Bath is a truly unique city, but despite it being only an hour or so away from me, I'm ashamed to say I don't know it as well as I'd like. It's one of the those cities that you can just explore with no real plan, or set agenda. There's so many tiny lanes/alley ways to discover, with something hidden in each.

Naturally being in Summer (and in the UK), the weather was always going to be hit or miss. Luckily for this visit, the weather was perfect. Cloudy to being with, but ending the day with a perfect Summer's evening. 


All photos taken with a Fuji X-T1, 23mm f/1.4 or 10-24mm f/4 lens

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The Gainsborough Spa Bath Hotel

I had barely been back in the UK for a few hours from my overnight flight back from Doha, before I was on the train heading down to Bath for the weekend. I had been there a few times before, but only for quick visits, and I didn't get to see as much as I'd have liked. So this time my girlfriend and I were spending the weekend there.

I was in charge of sorting the hotel, and I stumbled across the Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel. Nestled right in the heart of the city, this hotel boasts the only naturally heated spa in the UK - fed by the same water that makes Bath so famous. It was quite simply amazing, and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking for a more luxurious/treat getaway.


The Spa

The spa was quite simply amazing. Unlike the other spas in Bath, this is only open to the hotel guests, so even when it's busy - it's pretty quiet. 

Despite still being pretty tired from my lack of sleep on the flight back home, I had to get up early to catch the spa when it was empty. It's such a beautiful and peaceful area to relax in, and my photos probably don't do it justice. 

It seems many other guests had the same idea, as barely five minutes after taking these shots, others were coming down for their morning relaxation.