So we were on the bus to Jerusalem. All of us were pretty exhausted from the plane but managing to stay awake. The sun was rising, which made the entire area very majestic and nice. A good introduction to the country.
First we went to a lookout spot where we could see the whole valley. Looked across at the old city, the famous gravesite mountain, a couple other mountains and towers, and just a brilliant site. We said the prayer for celebrating the event, then had wine and bread. Then had a lunch while sitting on the grass. (Really bad bagels, I didn’t eat mine).
Jerusalem, even at its first glance, is very interesting. There is an architectural uniformity that all buildings have to abide to, which is to be covered on the outside by a specific Jerusalem Limestone. As with Santa Fe, this feature really enforces a direct personality upon the entire city. There are also Israeli flags EVERYWHERE. People here are completely patriotic, which I find completely inspiring and beautiful. Things are also very very ancient, and all these people are living in a city that has existed for thousands of years. I also like the ravens, which are not entirely black but still just as witty.
We went into the old city, the Jewish Quarter, entering through the Zion Gate and making our way down the alleyways and pathways. The cobblestones there are so completely worn that in some places you can slip quite easily. There is visual worn and history embedded everywhere.
We got to a small terrace and saw the temple area with the Dome of the Rock, the mosque, and the Western Wall. Then we went to the South Wall to learn about archeology, the temple, and other things.
First we were shown a computer generated reconstruction of the temple. The woman presenting this used some sort of program that allowed her to go anywhere using the mouse, which was really cool.
Then we went to see a corny and hilarious movie that was dubbed in English with some ridiculous guy that looked like a Jewish Abraham Lincoln. Very funny, and moments like “What is this cup?”
Then we went out to look around the South Wall, which was pretty big and cool. THEY HAVE HONEYSUCKLE THERE!!! which I enjoyed. Saw the steps that led into the temple, and looked at a place where a market and street used to be.
Then we went to the Western Wall. What I didn’t expect but made sense was that they separated men and women who went to the wall. It was crowded, as expected, and very interesting. There were festive BarMitzvahs happening every couple minutes from this one gate at the left of the place, which was kind of cool. I left a small note.
Then walked around the Old City, had a pizza for lunch (which was eh, alright), and looked in a couple shops.
We looked at various ancient ruins. We were looking up at some window when a woman who was living there spontaneously invited us all up to her apartment. So all 40 of us crammed into her small living space and she talked to us about living in Israel, what she does, and all these things. She was really nice and invited us to come back sometime.
On the way out we saw some kids playing in a fountain and it was really cute.
We then took the bus to our next destination, which was a hotel a little while away. On the way there we saw a protest happening outside on the street, where students were blocking the road to make a statement against withdrawing from the Palestinian areas. We saw some guard smack a girl on the head and drag her off to a vehicle. Later when watching the news we saw the same protest going on. It was very interesting.
Got to the hotel, and explored around with Asof. Saw where things were, and then headed to dinner. Then went to a meeting which I think I fell asleep during. Michelle woke me up and I dragged myself upstairs to collapse into bed.