This morning left Tel Aviv and headed to Jerusalem. On the way, we stopped at Neot Kedumim (Oasis of Antiquity), a biblical landscape preserve, and each planted a tree so we’d leave a little of ourselves in Israel. We also saw a 1000+ year old cistern at that site. While we were hearing about wheat and barley and how it was processed in ancient times, a donkey wandered up. I ate a fruit off of a sycamore tree. It’s similar to a fig, but not as sweet. We also saw almond trees and caper bushes there.
As we got to Jerusalem, we passed by the Israeli Supreme Court and the Knesset, heavily fortified as you might imagine. Then through some Jewish neighborhoods on the way to a vantage point overlooking the old city. Then it was time for lunch. As you can see, the vegan isn’t suffering.
Next we passed through some Muslim neighborhoods with a lot of graffiti on our way to the Western Wall. I didn’t really have any profound experience at the Wall. As I touched it, I could feel that the stone had been smoothed by many, many thousands of people doing the very same thing. The connection with all of the other people who have touched it makes the Wall a living thing. Okay, I guess that was somewhat profound, just not emotional.
Next stop was the City of David where we explored Hezekiah’s Tunnel, built 2,700 years ago to protect Jerusalem’s water supply, the Gihon Spring, from the Assyrians. We actually climbed into the tunnel, anywhere from ankle to thigh deep with cold water, and followed it to where it originally ended in a pool. They have just recently discovered the original pool and are excavating it. We were able to see a part that has only been uncovered for about 3 months. Sadly, no pictures from inside because of all the water they had us leave everything on the bus.
On the way back to the hotel, we passed by Damascus Gate which, if the photo isn’t obvious, is controlled by the Muslims. Back at the hotel I ate and wrestled with the internets.