Backstage Travels

All the world's a stage…

Israel Day 3: Finally Jerusalem!

on January 7, 2014

Early wake up! …which was awesome with the jetlag… Oh well! Too excited! Now, I had to repack my bags. Apparently, I needed a bag with three sets of clothes, because I wasn’t getting access to my suitcase for 2 days. Fine, I can travel light.

First we have our Welcoming Ceremony, which we couldn’t do the night before because of our delayed flight. Little did we know, that this small flex in the schedule would foreshadow what was to come…*dun dun dunnn*

No. It was lovely. And our first look at Jerusalem in the daytime.

It really was breathtaking. The first moment that we were all like “Oh my G-d, we’re here.”

We said the Kiddish with some grape juice, and we were off to that city below.

We entered through the Zion Gate. At first, I thought I heard “Lion’s Gate,” and I’ve been reading the Game of Thrones series, so I was like “Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?” But then Shira said the name again. Anyway, look at it!

The wall is littered with bullet holes. Those bullets were taken out and melted to make this mezuzah:

We walked through the city a bit…
Then Shira told us to get in a single-file line, hold on to each other, and close our eyes. We did, and then we started walking. Shira played some music from a device. And then we were herded, still with our eyes closed, next to a fence. Then we got to open our eyes.
Our first glimpse at the Western/Wailing Wall. A wall broken and rebuilt, but still standing since the days of Old(est) Jerusalem. A wall that my ancestors have made pilgrimages to see or touch. A wall that’s been touched so many times by people of faith, that it’s discolored from about man-height, down.
And I didn’t feel anything. Well, not at first.
But then there was something. I knew I felt something…I just couldn’t pinpoint what it was… And that was the start of the thoughts I struggled with for the whole trip.
So we went down to the Wall.
Men and women were divided by this fence:
There were so many different kinds of people here: Tourists, ultra-religious, school kids…you name it.
They say that the Wall has no mortar. It’s being held together by people’s prayers. Figuratively and literally.
I put a prayer in, too!
There it is!
Then we went to The Jerusalem Archeological Park:
We talked about ate wafers. And talked about how old cities are like them, I guess. How there are layers upon layers of the same city, from different times. WAFERS!
We also learned a lot of history. Some of which I remember! Here are more pictures!
Actually, we used the wafer metaphor quite a lot. And you can see it in the Wall. The bottom stones are very large (and smooth, from thousands of years of people touching it), the middle ones are slightly smaller, due to being taken from the rubble of destroyed larger ones, and the top ones are smallest for that same reason.
Now there was one thing that kept distracting us for all our learning and touring and such… Cats. There were so many cats. Cutest vermin I’ve ever seen. I didn’t take any pictures of these cuties, but there are so many, there’s a Tumblr about them. Yes. Click it.
Then it was back in the bus. Some of us took the remaining paper from the Western Wall prayers (unused, we didn’t take anyone’s prayers!) and used it for a game. This game was popular for the whole trip ๐Ÿ™‚
We must have spent too much time in Jerusalem (probably because of the cats), because we were late for our 90 second ride on our camels. Thankfully, we got there in time.
These images courtesy of Rachel L., on Adam S.’s camera ๐Ÿ™‚
Then it started to rain. In the desert. It never rains in the desert…
Then we met with one of the men who runs the “traditional” Bedouin tent. We had a lovely dinner that I’m pretty sure included camel meat. Whatever, it was delicious.
Then there was a bonfire and bonding!
And apparently, (weird-tasting) marshmallows aren’t the only thing Israelis roast on a fire. There were potatoes for us as well. Only on potato was made though.
Photo courtesy of Adam S.
They enjoyed it. After an hour.
Then we went to our tent. To sleep.
Image courtesy ofย  Mirav
I actually had no problem with our sleeping arrangements. It probably helped that I was so exhausted from the day before to care where I was sleeping, as long as I had a blanket.
On of the Joshes (there were three) disagreed. The complaining, real or exaggerated, was one of the most entertaining moments on the whole trip. Things like pointing out that you could see dirt under the blankets on the floor (which were screwed in to the hard ground, by the way), mentioning that he has every right to exterminate bugs in his house, but what will the bugs to to him now that he’s sleeping in theirs, and our favorite: “I make too much money to have to sleep in a tent.”
I still fell dead asleep…

One response to “Israel Day 3: Finally Jerusalem!

  1. VisitSiena says:

    seems amazing ๐Ÿ™‚

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