Tag Archives: Jerusalem

Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, Israel

1/29 – We left our Cozy Flat this morning after breakfast, and walked back to the Jerusalem Bus Terminal, where we caught the 10am express bus 405. An hour later, we were in Tel Aviv.

We are staying at the Peer Guest House for one night, to put us in position to catch a morning flight tomorrow. This is a lovely guest house with rooms in different buildings, and a breakfast room that is open all day and night offering coffee, tea, and a variety of fresh fruit, breads and pastries. Our room was on the top floor, up a spiral staircase meant for folks without backpacks!

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What to do for our one afternoon in Tel Aviv? We were right down the street from the HaCarmel open market, so we started there. We ate lunch by strolling along, pointing to things that looked good to eat.

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The egg roll shaped things had spicy meat inside, and the corn dog shaped things were filled with mushrooms. Yum!

No doubt that anything on this table will make a delicious dessert. I’ll have one with pistachios and honey, please. br />
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And yes, I’d love a fruit smoothie, made to order!

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My mom is a fan of Halvah. You can get it in huge wheels here, in any flavor you like.

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Of course, there’s plenty of other stuff at the market too. What is that hot pink stuff?

Finished with lunch, we walked down to the beach. It had big pink hotels like Miami.

Sunbathers and surfers.image

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And old guys who feed pigeons.image

It was just the kind of relaxing afternoon we needed. In the morning, it’s off to the airport to fly back to Istanbul.

Jerusalem – the Old City

1/28 – In the morning, we walked through the Jaffa Gate into the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. image

I read a book about how crowded the Old City was, and was prepared for a crush of humanity. No crush – we strolled right in. image

What was the first thing we saw? A Christmas tree and Christmas streetlights! This is a holiday that just won’t quit.image

We are soon at the Church of the Holy Sepluchre, built over a temple to Aphrodite on the site where Jesus is believed to have been crucified. (Thanks again to the Emperor Constantine and his mom, St. Helena.) The church is a mix of Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian elements. The final stations of the cross of the Via Dolorosa are in this church. (The Via Dolorosa starts in the Islamic Quarter, and is a stone paved narrow street like all the others. Don’t know what I was expecting – a dirt road? A hill? Something outside the center of the city, I guess.) Outside is a chapel that marks where Jesus was stripped of his clothes.image

Just through the door is the Stone of Unction or Anointing, where Jesus’ body was laid when he was taken down from the cross.image

Here was the place of crucifixion.image

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We queued up to enter the tomb, a very dark, small space filled with gold, where you had to bend or kneel to enter. Only five people were allowed in at a time, and there was a priest standing outside keeping the line moving. image

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There is the stone at the place of crucifixion, and another stone in a glass case. Could one of them be the stone that was rolled away from the tomb? I wish there was more signage.imageimage

Here are some other images from the church. The walls are marked with small crosses by the pilgrims who traveled here.

I have to say that this church had lots of gold and glitter, but it did not feel like a holy place to me. Sometimes, all the tourists jostling with their Selfie Sticks just make me sad, although I am no better, trying to capture images for this blog. It was hard to imagine what these objects had to do with the Crucifixion. We actually left the church, bought a book (from a Muslim shopkeeper) to explain what we were seeing, then went back in and walked through again. There was no place to sit and contemplate, which I guess I missed.

We walked from the Christian quarter to the Jewish Quarter, to visit the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. We had to go through a metal detector and security check to enter. The sign said that God’s presence is always here. image

The area has separate entrances for men and women. There were a lot more women praying today.

A sign asked that heads be covered appropriately. I tied on my trusty headscarf, then realized the sign was for the men! A box of paper kippas was provided so the men could cover their heads. The women were bare-headed, reading from little books and rocking in prayer. Here you could sit or stand or touch the wall as the spirit moved you.

From where we stood at the Wall, we could see the Dome of the Rock in the Islamic Quarter. Unfortunately, the police were allowing Muslims only into the Islamic Quarter, as it was a time of prayer. image

In the Armenian Church in the Armenian Quarter, we saw another station of the cross where Jesus met his mother. Look at the imprint of sandals on the mosaic floor that mark the spot.image

We left the Old City through the Damascus Gate, and walked across town to see the Garden Tomb. image

The Garden Tomb is a site run by Evangelical Anglicans, that offers a different theory on where Jesus was crucified and buried. The land is thought to be the garden owned by Joseph of Arimathea. It sits within sight of the Hill of the Skull, thought to be Golgatha. The message was emphasized that it matters not where Jesus died, but WHY. There was a tomb carved from a cave, and a wine press. It felt more like a holy place to me. A peaceful, contemplative experience. I’m very glad we visited here.

On our way home, we saw a sign for an Ethiopian Church, so we removed our shoes and peeked in.image

A long day with many images to ponder.

Capernaum to Jerusalem, Israel

1/27 – We checked out of our room at Karei Desche, took a taxi to Tiberias, and caught the 10am bus to Jerusalem, a three hour ride.

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We shared the bus with many young Israeli soldiers in uniform, who ride for free. All 18 year olds serve in the military here; the girls for two years, and boys for three. It was a little unsettling to see kids with semi-automatic rifles slung over their shoulders on the bus.

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As we approached Jerusalem, the scenery turned from lush green to arid brown. (The bus windows were tinted blue.)

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We also saw our first camel by the side of the highway (sorry, not quick enough for a pic – you’ll have to take my word!)

We walked down the bustling, modern, and very clean streets, and I came across something I haven’t seen since Wisconsin. Wall art!imageimage

We are staying at a cozy flat advertised as A Cozy Flat in Jerusalem. The owner left us the key in a lockbox, and asked us to leave our payment on the kitchen table when we left. Very relaxed arrangement. Our flat is at Jaffa Center, a very upscale shopping district not far from the walls of the Old City. Although we were surrounded by shops, we couldn’t find a market to buy provisions for supper. When we finally asked, we were directed up the main street about 15 minutes walk, where we found a bustling open-air market.

Jim fixed us the best chicken soup ever.