Saturday, October 24, 2015

Last Day

Like all good trips, there is both joy and sorrow in coming home. Our last day was a short one. First, a stop at the Garden Tomb to view an interesting tomb that was definitely NOT the tomb of Jesus, but the lovely gardens were a great place to celebrate the Lord's Supper.

Next to the Israel Museum. We visited three sections: The model of 1st C Jerusalem; a display of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the archaeological museum. Way too much to see for the short time we had.

Afternoon was free time. Some went back to the hotel. Others were dropped off at the Jaffa Gate of the Old City to do some shopping. They're not all back yet, so it remains to be seen how well this worked out. Personally, I hopped a city bus and went to the Damascus Gate. Got a 7NIS ($1.50) street falafel for lunch and went in to see a couple of old friends: Shabban at his Ali Baba shop and Eli Kouz (who has sold ceramics from his shop for 60 years). They either remember me every time I stop in or the lie about it really well (honestly, they do seem to know me, but I'm not sure how).

PS-If you ever wondered what was under those cover up clothes that many Arab women wear, just looking at the stall just inside the Damascus Gate in the Muslim Quarter may have you thinking twice.
There goes the "G" rating for my blog. We leave for our 5:20 AM flight home at midnight. At 2am Sunday is daylight savings time in Israel - fall back. For some reason no one will explain to me, our local tour company has us leaving WAAAAY too early. We'll be at the airport five hours before our flight. I have twice tried to talk the out of this folly. Pray for my patience. Very long day ahead.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 23, 2015

David's Day: His city and his great battle

A shorter day as we begin to wind down. First a visit to the City of David and a walk through the cold water of Hezekiah's Tunnel.

we stayed away from the Old City today, because sometimes Friday prayers on the Temple Mount can lead to unrest. But there were enough police staging to go into the city to invade Grenada.
We did a special lunch in a small town to the west named Abu Ghosh, well known for their food. It was fantastic!

The last part of the day was a visit to the Elah Valley, a place where Israel and the Philistines fought for control of the cities of the lower hills. Here we remembered the battle of David and Goliath and saw how the topography fit perfectly with the Biblical story. 

One final half-day of touring tomorrow. Then some free time and a 1 am run to the airport Sunday morning (ugh).

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Temple Mount and Jewish Quarter

Another long, but great day. Limited time for the blog, so we'll do the readers digest version.

First, we were lucky to get onto the Temple Mount: the site of the Jewish Temples and now two very ancient and important mosques to Muslims. We even got to see a Bar Mitzvah procession pass us.

We descended to the western edge of the temple wall to walk through a tunnel created to allow people to see the lowest courses of the massive temple mount platform that Herod built.

After this we walked down to the Western/Wailing Wall, with a few stops and a snack on the way. Today was a festive day for Bar Mitzvahs at the Wall and we got to watch several.

Next, we went to the southern end of the Temple to view remains of 1st century AD entrances, steps, and walkways that Jesus and the Disciples of the early church would have used - plus, this was probably the site of Peter's speech on the day of Pentecost.

Here is a lunch shot for my daughter, Ariana, and a dog store shot.

After lunch, we visited several remains of large homes in what would have been the 1st century AD upper city, almost certainly inhabited by Chief Temple Priest and wealthy Jews. We even visited a spot that may have been the house of Annas, where Jesus was questioned and Peter denied Jesus three times.  

Last, we took in a little of the new Jerusalem as we visit the Mahane Yehuda market in the New City, a favorite of locals to shop in.

A final editorial note. Personally, I think anyone should be able to pray and visit in any public spot they wish, which would include Jews visiting the Temple Mount. But with all the issues at the moment, now might not be the best time. As we left the Temple Mount through the Cotton Merchants Gate, I looked back and saw a group of Jews, escorted by an equal number of soldiers, followed by a group of Muslims who seemed to work on the Mount. Maybe this was some grand mission of peace, but no one looked all that happy. This night not be the best time to push the envelope.