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It's time to say goodbye....

They say old soldiers never die, they just fade away...

It's been a blast from the very start, at times the stress was huge, the days were horrendous and the nights sleepless, but in the end Eurovision in Tel Aviv gets a 10/10 from me...

Thanks for everything, thanks to the readers, the viewers and most of all thanks to Andy for the opportunity all those years ago.

Much Love and peace out :-)

What's another year

Andy on Sat, 05/18/2019 - 23:50

It is again this time of the year. Eurovision is coming to its end and so is another season of ESCKAZ work. 18th season.

To start with, it was quite uncertain that there would be another season after Lisbon, but eventually, we gave it a go on the same level as we did in the previous years. It is getting harder and harder every year to keep up the work of the bilingual website, provided the EBU/Premier PR approach to the international websites, which nowadays are valued lower and get much fewer accreditations, than purely national, non-English projects made of people from one country. It is an extremely strange approach, which keeps slowly killing at least our work.

Anyway, we have done reasonably well, as Israel has provided us with a wonderful opportunity to enhance our specialization covering organization of the contest itself.

Tel Aviv has been a welcoming city and despite budget issues, the organizers have faced there were hardly any serious problems on the ground. Two major ones - prices in the city and transportation in Shabbat probably have nothing to do with Eurovision, but as a blossoming city for tourists, there will be a need for solutions found at the end.

Sadly, this time I had no opportunity to attend any concerts or musical shows due to their price - I miss going to Air Supply in wonderful Caesarea for example, or musicals in great Tel Aviv theatres. Besides Eurovision, I've been to two events - Memorial Day and Independence Day concerts on Rabin Square. The latter featured Transistor band singing songs of late Arik Einstein - a true legend of the Israeli music. I used a chance to visit his grave in Trumpeldor cemetery and pay a tribute to the legend.

Tel Aviv offered some great opportunities for tours - we went to the Dead Sea, and on our own visited Jerusalem and Haifa. Despite I was in Jerusalem two previous years (it's getting a good tradition) - it is a city that never fails to impress, and this time I've also visited Russian orthodox church of Alexander Nevsky (and also I visited later Russian church in Tel Aviv). I've also gone to Nalagaat centre for deaf and blind people, on which we have reported in one of the previous articles. I also went to Kabbalat Center and visited Baha'i Gardens with a tour - two religions and two completely different impressions, while Kabbalat left an impression of being a commercial venture aiming to get money from the devotees and sort of current pop fashion, Bahai one left an opinion of being very sincere and open.

My colleagues also throughout enjoyed the free dinners offered by Municipality and Eatwith project and some culinary tours. We have also walked around Tel Aviv with a wonderful Tel Aviv Greeter Lorna (sadly we've missed Safari and hot balloon opportunities due to being very busy). I had only 1 day to go to the beach, but it was very enjoyable, of course, and deeply missed since 2012 and Baku.

All in all, there hardly is anything to criticize: friendly security, hardly noticeable volunteers and helpful staff, amazing huge packed Eurovillage (apparently it reached 80,000 attendance this final night), nicely set up Euroclub and Eurocafe (with a bit late start of the performances though).

Complimentary boat trips are fun - Sailor Yacht Club, Jaffa

ESCKAZ.com played tourists today with the complimentary boat cruise from Jaffa Port courtesy of the Sailer Yacht Club Jaffa

https://www.facebook.com/sailoryachtclub/

Boat Trip - Sailor Yacht Club Jaffa

This was an amazing 2 hours on a boat that does daily trips in the Tel Aviv area - our Captain, Amit, was a perfect host and we felt so comfortable and welcomed, just like everywhere else in Israel. The port area of Jaffa is a really nice backdrop too, well worth a vitas and a day out, maybe lunch and then a small cruise to explore the Tel Aviv skyline from a different angle.

Boat Trip - Sailor Yacht Club Jaffa

The only scary moment was the every small entrance in and out of the historic harbour - it’s approximately 20m and takes real skill to navigate. The evidence of less skilled sailors is there for all to see with a crashed boat on the rocks

Highly recommended to take a trip there, and all the links you will need are below

Boat Trip - Sailor Yacht Club Jaffa

With Thanks to the Sailor Yacht Club

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g297749-d10847436-Revie…

+972 77-212-0366

Semi two predictions....after San Marino who know's what will happen...

Mike;
Moldova
Switzerland
Sweden
Austria
Croatia
Russia
Albania
The Netherlands
North Macedonia
Azerbaijan

Austria is borderline and could switch with Lithuania - though I would love to see Ireland do it!

Daniel;
Switzerland
Sweden
Russia
Albania
The Netherlands
North Macedonia
Azerbaijan
Malta
Moldova
Ireland

Norway could just make it but not sure who I would put out for that

Finally got around to doing the My Heritage thing

I'm super curious to know what they find out, but suspect that in the end it will probably be a mix of Celtic and Anglo-Saxon - but you never know

"Dear Michael,‎
Thank you for activating your MyHeritage DNA
If you haven't collected and mailed us your DNA sample yet, please follow the instructions (which are also included in your DNA kit).
You can track the status of your DNA kit. We’ll notify you by email when your DNA results are available. You can expect them in about 4 weeks from the moment our lab receives your DNA sample. Your results will include your Ethnicity Estimate, revealing your ethnic origins. We’ll also search for people whose DNA matches yours — your relatives — so you can connect with them and learn more about your family history together.
MyHeritage offers much more than DNA kits! We invite you to discover your family’s history by building your family tree and exploring our collection of 9.7 billion historical records. To help you get started with your family history journey, we’ve created a private family site for you on MyHeritage, in which you can build your own family tree.
Visit your family site and create your family tree. We highly recommend that you do this, while you wait for our lab to process your DNA results. Your DNA Matches will be easier to understand once you have a family tree.
Best regards,
The MyHeritage team"

Semi one predictions from Mike and Daniel (2019)

Mike;
Cyprus
Poland
Czech Republic
Hungary
Serbia
Belgium
Georgia
Australia
Iceland
Greece

Georgia "might" swap with Estonia, and Slovenia are in with a shot, but not sure who I would put out for them

Daniel;
Cyprus
Poland
Czech Republic
Serbia
Greece
Hungary
Belarus
Estonia
Belgium
Australia

Iceland could make it but again not sure who would then miss out.....

Surprisingly tough semi to call in the end....

ESCKAZ.com team day out in Jerusalem

Day trip to Jerusalem

ESCKAZ.com day out in Jerusalem

As we had a day off this year the team from ESCKAZ.com and some close friends decided to take a trip to Jerusalem to see the sights and take in the atmosphere - and also of course take the obligatory photo of the venue from 1999

ESCKAZ.com day out in Jerusalem

The day started by gathering at the Unicersity train station and taking a quick ride to the airport to change to the new shuttle train that connects Jerusalem and Tel Aviv - literally the whole journey took less than one hour and we were in the Old Town for Jerusalem

The first stop, right next to the train station was the venue from 1999, International Convention Center, obligatory pictures done, it was boarding the new light rail train to pass up to the Old Town…

Starting at one of the gates for the old city walls, our group meandered up through the old town to start the first stop of the tour, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre. While there were obviously queues to get into the Tomb area we decided to join the queue as we had several Orthodox Christians and Catholic Christians in our group. The experience was spiritual and we were so glad to go and finally do this - after many many years of wanting to go to Jerusalem

ESCKAZ.com day out in Jerusalem

Next stop for the Russian side of the team was a stop at the Russian Orthodox Church, Alexander Nevsky Church - they all got services said for friends and family back home and were super excited about that…

Via Dolorosa was up next, time to walk the street which Christ walked when he was carrying his Cross - we also found the place that he rested and stopped for a few moments there.

Temple Mount was closed for the day - it was a Muslim holy day - so we skipped that and passed straight to the Western Wall. Skull caps on we approached the wall and had a few moments there in contemplation - then it was food time!! And back to Tel Aviv in time for the Independence Day celebrations in Rabin Square

ESCKAZ.com day out in Jerusalem

Some photos are here if you would like to take some time to share our day with us..

Cocktail reception in Herzliya

Cocktail reception in Herzliya

Yesterday evening the City of Herzliya and the organisation of this year's Eurovision, KAN, hosted a cocktail reception in Herzliya Marina. All delegations were invited to take part in the welcome photo wall, and were treated to complimentary food and drink.

Cocktail reception in Herzliya

Tali Eshkoli and the Mayor of Herzliya gave welcome speeches and the audience were then given a concert by a local band who sang all the Israeli winning songs - and then the 4th placed singer from Eurovision 2005, Shiri Maimon performed

Cocktail reception in Herzliya

Cocktail reception in Herzliya