Another full day! Bill and I feel like we have definitely gotten our money’s worth on this trip.
We started at the Wailing Wall (The Jews call it the Western Wall) this morning. It wasn’t what I expected – although I’m not quite sure what I expected. We were there before 8 a.m. and it wasn’t crowded at all. Kathy told me that at times you can’t get near the wall b/c of the crowds. We went way down into the Temple Mount – this is the place with the HUGE boulder that is all one piece that we’ve heard Craig talk about before. There was a “tour guide class” ahead of us that slowed us down quite a bit until Hezi finally moved us around them. Tourism is “the thing” around here. Gabrielle told us yesterday (was it only yesterday?) in Bethlehem that tourism is the ONLY industry in Bethlehem when I questioned her why there seemed to be so many healthy, young men just loitering around. If you don’t work in tourism of some sort, you basically don’t work.
We walked 2 stations of the Via Delorosa – the only 2 that they are certain Christ walked. And, of course, there were the peddlers……
At the Pool of Bethesda, Craig talked to us from John 5. We walked into a smallish church there that’s name escapes me right now, that had great acoustics and sang “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” A African group came in behind us and sang “I Surrender All.” Quite beautiful. I hear last trip Roy Carr sang for the group in that church – wish I could have heard that there!
We walked through some more tunnels where they are excavating the City of David – we did a lot of tunnels today. Our favorite tunnel was Hezekiah’s tunnel. Now that was fun! Craig read us the story (from II Kings 8 ?? – I need to look it up again).There was some initial concern that the water would be really freezing, that Bill would be too claustrophobic to enjoy it, etc., but we had none of that. The water was cool, but not uncomfortably so and was really never over my knees. It was tight in some places, but the whole thing was just so interesting that Bill couldn’t help but enjoy himself. We had to buy little flashlights b/c we accidently left ours on the bus. I won’t go into detail here, but I will pass along this one piece of advice: Only listen to Lois J. about certain things involving walking through the tunnel if you are on the shorter side, like her. That’s all I’m saying…….
We drove past Gehanna. Not much to see that I remember. We had a very good lunch at Rama Rachel Kibbutz. If I remember right, that kibbutz is one honoring Rachel.
We spent a sobering couple of hours at Yad Vashem, the Israeli memorial for victims of the Holocaust. There was a large group of young Israeli soldiers going through the museum at the same time we were. There is also a simple but moving children’s memorial for the one and a half million children that were lost during the Holocaust. There are 5 candles surrounded by 2 solid walls of mirrors that dimly light a large room. Several kid’s pictures are on the wall and all one and a half million of the kid’s names, ages, and country of birth are read over and over in 3 languages – English, Yiddish and Hebrew.
The bus dropped some of us off to do some more shopping in the Old City (same place we were last night). Becca – we found your sandals and have a story to go with them. The moral of the story is when Craig tells you to ask Shabon first, you should ask Shabon first.
Back at the hotel we enjoyed a leisurely supper. One of the best things about this trip has been getting to know some of the people we’ve gone to church with for a while better.
Well, I could go on, but I’ve hit the highlights and I’m tired so I’m going to quit and go to bed. In the morning we pack and head out to see a few more sights – I think one of them is the garden tomb and I think we have communion there – and later to Tel Aviv and then home. This probably won’t get posted until tomorrow……..
This has truly been a trip of a lifetime. Both Bill and I are glad we’ve done this blog even if nobody reads it. We have done SO MUCH and seen SO MUCH, there is no way we would have remembered it, if we hadn’t written at least some of it down. We’re so glad we came. We’ll be glad to get home. Hope to see you all soon!