Just returned from the “young folks” post-dinner adventure. It is impossible to wear them out – so I give it one more shot after dinner. I need to discover some new night-life places, though. It was another fabulous day. I think it rained quite a bit overnight, though you couldn’t prove it from me! Andre did say that he got a report that three buses of Brits got stuck in their buses all night down by the Dead Sea. The wadis are pretty serious down there – but most of the time we don’t believe it. All night in a bus would take to make you a believer however. So glad that wasn’t us. I think we just about all are glad about that!
It was raining a little in the morning. Umbrellas were out as we walked out the Jaffa Gate to our waiting bus. It was not far and it was a nice way to start the day. We had to then go and pick up Andre from his hotel. Or course, left alone in the bus, I took over the driver’s seat and Sharm took over the guide’s seat. We won’t get left in a bus along ever again.
We adjust the program for today because of the rain. Walking down the Palm Sunday road on the Mt. of Olives, just might not be much fun in the rain. We slipped into museum mode, probably with a lot of other groups as well.
Our first stop was across modern Jerusalem to Yad Vashem. It was cloudy, but it wasn’t raining. We had a reservation for tomorrow, so we had to go in individually. But we saw the main points of interest, the memorial, children’s memorial, and then the museum. It was actually a very nice visit. Some thought it too long. Some thought it too short. It is very powerful, however, no matter what your opinion.
Andre was then able to juggle our reservation at the Garden Tomb – and moved it to later in the day, so that we would not have to rush through the Israel Museum. We headed there next, with a quick stop for lunch in their mini-cafeteria. It wasn’t bad though. Soon we were off to the model of first century Jerusalem. This is two trips in a row that my memory will be of a chilly visit to that large model. It really does help us put together in our minds what we have just walked through in the Old City. It’s a great item for the itinerary.
The Shrine of the Book is next. There are interesting exhibits featuring the Essenes and their lifestyle – and then the copies of the documents found in 1947. It’s always a great half hour stop.
Then to the museum, which was a really great stop. The clouds darkened – and as we were inside, we could hear and see the rain, but by the time we were done, it was gone. And gone for the day.
We all enjoyed the museum greatly. Andre walked us through the highlights – which was a great help. There was an altar from Beersheba. Burial chambers from the Philistines. The stone found at Tel Dan which bears the only extra-biblical proof that there was a King David….it says “from the house of David.” The ossuary of Caiphas. Lots of items from Hazor and Marj’s favorite mosaic (which once graced the cover of BAR) from Beit Shean. It was time very well spent.
Back to the bus (still no rain, but I’ve already spoiled the rain-drama). Off to the City of David and a tour of the tunnels and water systems built by the Canaanites and then Hezekiah. It was a very interesting tour, with but one problem. The only way out now is either through the wet tunnel (Hezekiah’s) or the dry tunnel. Five minutes of narrow grade torture for us claustrophobics. The “movie” at the bottom of the water reservoirs is really quite interesting and dramatic. It is well done. But after that it is time to descend to one of two tunnels. I had assumed we could escape through an exit door. Not a chance. I have since heard it is only like 2 minutes through the dry tunnel (Andre said 5). It is pretty narrow and by then I had had enough – as did four others.
But the only way to daylight to the travel back on the same route we had just come. Ugh. But there were no other options. Really?
We trekked back, only to discover that we had fought only half the battle. To get down to the bus at the Pool of Siloam, we had to trek back up to the top of the City of David – then down a rather steep and sometimes treacherous cobblestone road to the bottom. We made it to the Pool of Siloam just before those who were coming out of Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Yikes.
But those who came out of the tunnel loved it. I mean really loved it, bloody head and all. Someone needs to teach Ken how to duck. But I got pictures of them each exiting the tunnel which was great.
Back to the bus and on to the Garden Tomb. Traffic was bad, but not horrible.
We had a tour guide from Dallas, Texas at the Garden Tomb. Really? I missed the British accent – but he did a great job on the tour. He comes to Jerusalem for 3 months every year and guides at the Garden Tomb. Of course he said….all I have to do is apply! Really?
We had to rush our Lord’s Supper a bit, it was soon to be closing time. I didn’t get any shopping time in their fabulous bookstore. So I kept my money for another day I guess.
Back to the hotel. We dropped off Andre, and we got out at the New Gate – just a hop from our hotel. It was now close to or after 6 pm I think. Uploaded pix to the website then headed for dinner. Beef or chicken. A delicious egg plant and sesame dip – but the usual salads and stuff. It was fine.
After dinner, I headed out with Jeff, Erik, Seanna, and Kelly to walk the modern mall across the street from the Jaffa Gate. We walked through the lobby of David’s Citadel. Talked a bit – then headed back. After dinner adventures are great and very stimulating. But it just means a late night for me when I don’t get much done before dinner. The Facebook pictures are uploading still (it’s been a couple of hours now), but if I stop them, I’m afraid I will lose all the tags and things. Ugh. I’m going to have to do something tho. And….I still have a Back Page to do. Oh boy.
Tomorrow looks to be great – we will start out walking again. Church of the Holy Sepulcher (ugh), Jewish Quarter, Mt. Zion, Mt of Olives….and who knows what all is in store. Does it matter? We are in Jerusalem!