The Citadel in the Old City of Jerusalem looking toward the Tower of David. We kept saying to each other, “I wonder where all the people are.” It turns out it was Shabbat and Ramadan, though that didn’t entirely answer our question.
View of The Dome of the Rock
During our explorations, we found ourselves in the Old City Market along with hundreds of Muslims, Christians, Jews and tourists speaking German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, English and those were only the languages I could identify. It turns out we were on the Via Dolorosa, the path Christ is said to have taken to his crucifixion.
Mountains of Spice,
and yes, even bras, but look how colorful they are and so beautifully arranged.
We went to the Church Of the Holy Sepulchre & The Chapel of St. Helena where we descended this…
leading to a massive cistern. A tour guide was telling her group that the water was potable, though I remained dubious, having had too many run-ins with Giardia to last me a lifetime.
On we ventured to so many sites I’d have to pull out the guide-book to recite them all. We sat at the entrance or was it the exit of Damascus Gate and reviewed where we were and what we still wanted to see. We plunged back down into the depths of the market place, emerging out into the sunlight to visit the wailing wall, where I placed my hands against the giant stone slabs amidst tiny notes stuffed into its crevices, women on either side of me rocked, prayed, muttered, moaned and wept. It was impossible not to feel the power of humility in this ancient, beautiful and complex place.
We ended the day by sitting at an outdoor café and eating falafel.
I turned to Richard as we waited for our food to arrive and said, “I’m hungry. Do you realize we haven’t eaten anything today?”
To which he replied, “I falafel” (feel awful) before slapping his knee and doubling over in laughter at his own cleverness.
We spent the morning at the Holocaust Museum. Words do not describe.. it is a powerful and painful reminder of what humans are capable of.
We drove to Masada where we roamed a fortress built on a barren mountaintop in a part of the world that gets barely one inch of rainfall throughout an entire year, during the 1st, possibly 2nd Century and further added to by Herod intent on making it into his “summer palace” complete with cisterns, hot baths, beautifully decorated walls where one can still see the frescoes, mosaic floors all overlooking this expanse of arid land with the Dead Sea and Jordan just beyond.
and this wall…
On the way back to Jerusalem we drove to the Dead Sea where we swam or rather floated because of the heaviness of the salt water.
Salt encrusted rocks on the shore of the Dead Sea
Meanwhile, Jackie has sent me a daily update of Emma’s adventures while we are away. Emma saying – “Cheese”