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Jerusalem - Powerfully Multipolar

Jerusalem - Powerfully Multipolar

Indeed, isn't a place nothing but its people? If so, I would say, Jerusalem has a multiple personality disorder!

While in Tel Aviv, I perceived a frenzied energy that served as a the steam outlet of all that pent up tension, here life was rather unremarkably normal on the surface. Despite the looming presence of the Western Wall and all its emotions, that even as an utter outsider with no ties, I was overwhelmed by! One of the defining moments of my trip to the country was at the Western Wall.

As I walked to the wall, at one point, I felt overtaken by a dense wave of energy - an incredibly sad one. And, I found myself uncontrollably crying, tears streaming down my cheeks without control, even as my brain was trying to make sense of what was happening.

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The majestic red mountains. I had just summited them. I did not tame them, nay, I had simply monkeyed up and perched on top.

I had neither conquered nor had been conquered. 

As I sat atop the ‘dune’ in bliss, from the physical effort of getting there, I felt the breeze caressing my face, my mind emptying and a strange stirring within, the beginning of a release. I cycled back downhill. Wings took shape. Where once they had been tied down by circumstances, they hesitantly spread out and I learnt to fly, once again.

The mountains speak to you, you’ll see, they said. The desert is a fountain of life, they said. Take a trip alone, they said. You will find yourself and come back with new understanding, they said.
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{walk} New York : Gowanus and Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

{walk} New York : Gowanus and Cobble Hill, Brooklyn

I share a few photos of a little area called Gowanus and Cobble Hill in Brooklyn and where to eat recommendations, at the end of the post. Gowanus is an infamous canal that runs through part of Brooklyn, separating the neighborhoods of Park Slope and Carroll Gardens, both being the strongholds of well-heeled European immigrants since New York City was born. Cobble Hill runs along and offshoots from Smith Street that houses some amazing spots, a mix of the nomadic, charmed past of Brooklyn to the nuevo craft inspired and yoga centric present.

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The Duck in the Harbor + Friday Links


On the eve of the Memorial Day weekend, I think it is apt to talk about a city that is the hub of several divisions of the armed forces and primarily the Naval units - Norfolk, VA. I visited the place, last week, with a curiosity to find out what else the city had to offer other than officers' balls and military sexiness. This is my experience of the place.

Lets start with the logistics.

Getting to


is rather straightforward, a short hour flight away from New York City into a charmingly tiny airport. By that I do mean, there is little else to do in the airport other than pick up your bag and venture out ASAP. Which is good thing, because things get a lot better once outside.

Norfolk, VA
Norfolk, VA

For one, the weather is gorgeous, especially this time of year. Which, in retrospect, was the best time to visit. Not just to admire all the officers strutting in full regalia or their gorgeous wives in long gowns, but, that is always a plus. If you are single and looking to 'connect', perhaps not the greatest variety there to be honest. I only saw officers in tow. Ok, let's not be distracted and get down to business.

The weather - For May, when NYC was throwing silly tantrums and being narcissistic, Norfolk was gorgeous, sunny and just pleasant. Despite being that close to sea, there was none of that humidity characteristic of NYC in warmer weather. So, pretty hair all round. They also have monsoons. No, not those tropical showers we see up North or scattered thunder storms; just simply a massive opening of clouds of Biblical proportions, some flooding and some insta-pools. But very brief ones. As quickly as it came, the black clouds roll away making space for gorgeous clear skies and crisp sun. I saw both sides. It was lovely. And, nostalgic - reminded me of the monsoons in India.

Ok, now what do we have to do here. There are several attractions from the Maritime museum to the harbor cruise to the art festivals. Much like any other city that is building itself out to be more than a one-ship pony (haha pun intended), Norfolk has capitalized on the nature and culture of its denizens, namely retired army personnel who are more than normally well travelled and well heeled. Yet, it is also somewhat diverse in its ethnicity and demographics, again, in part due the melting pot nature of the armed forces. So, there is a bit of something for everyone.

Norfolk, VA

But, I am going to tell you my absolutely favorite place in the city. One that surprised me and stays with me even now. The Chrysler Museum of Art. Before, you let a huge sigh about yet another museum, hear me on why. First, it is free admission. Yes, really! Perhaps the only institution other than the Smithsonian that allow equal entrance to all, rich and poor. In a much smaller town where you would imagine, admission revenues are nothing to be sneezed about. And, that is saying something to the Mets and MOMAs.

The Chrysler museum, carries one of the largest collections of glass works in the country, most of it donated by Mr. Chrysler (who was married to a lady from Norfolk and hence was feeling particularly generous to them, and housed in a lovely building that has been recently renovated to show case the pieces better. Although glass is the pride and joy of the museum, for me personally, it was the eclectic nature and hidden gems housed within as you time travel through art. My favorite piece is Idelle Weber's Muchkins I, II, and III. I had never heard of her before and now I am head over heels in awe of the woman! For sticking to her work when recognition in her time was strongly in favor of the male artists. If anyone knows how to contact her, I beg you, share!!!!

Norfolk, VA

So, yes, that is my piece de resistance of the place! Also, at the moment, they have on display the worldly and globe trotting

Rubber Duck by Florentijn Hofman

. Although, I never grew up with rubber duckies in my tub, for lack of having a tub, I can somewhat grasp, the relatability of the rubber duck in most people (who grew up with tubs) minds. So, if you want to play peekaboo with a larger than life size water toy, it's definitely your thing.

Ok, lets talk food. Obviously, you all know the place is all about seafood. Chesapeake Bay is a stone's throw away. I hear, crabs there are particularly delicious. During my stay I tasted some shellfish, which, are now in season, and it was indeed tasty, although it did not blow my mind away. Two high points of my eating time here were the fresh local tomato and She crab soup at

Todd Jurich's Bistro

and the delectable Bolivian influenced cuisine of

Luna Maya

. Also, another place to stop by because you are there is


, reputed to have invented the waffle cone at a Coney Island expo eons ago! And, if you go in Flounder season, then you must have the dish of the locals - Flounder stuffed with Blue Crab.

That's it folks! Have a great Memorial Weekend and I leave you with a few links if you are still grasping for inspiration!




, I want to kick of the festivities and

this one

later in the night when I am no longer worried about how much sugar I have consumed.

If you are looking for a gluten free vegan option, try

these burgers


This appetizer

is always a crowd pleaser, I guarantee! At BBqs, picnics or dinner parties.

You really must make

these brownies


I will be reading




book this weekend.


Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK