First night in Jerusalem
Our first night in Jerusalem we took a walking tour of Mt. Zion. We basically never travel with guides or use a travel agent but for this particular trip we did. I just didn't know what to expect. I am very glad we had someone with us in Egypt and Jordan but not so sure it is necessary in Israel. Although last nights tour was pretty amazing and there is no doubt we would not have learned or did any of the special things we did without guidance.
We started at the Chamber of the Holocaust Museum where we each were served a glass of an amazing tea made of local herbs. Then we began our journey.
First stop was at an area where people believe King David was originally buried. Many candles and lights are left here. It was really beautiful. We then walked into the area where his actual tomb is afterward which is under going construction. Women to the left and men to the right with a curtain in between us both. The candles were much better.
Continued up to the top of one of the roofs to see the sparkling city of Jerusalem below. I loved how we got from place to place on the rooftops. Streets down below and in the middle including the rooftops. Many religions living inside the old city. You can actually feel the change when you walk from the Jewish area to the Christian area to the Armenian area to the Muslim area.
Our guide, who actually lived in the Old City for many years, took us into a beautiful garden surrounded by homes. We wandered through a few adjoining gardens. The sign in someones window that looks out into the garden read: the sound of little Jewish children playing is the most beautiful music in the world. It was like when you walk down the streets in Paris and happen to see a gate open where people live and the inside floor is the same as the street yet there is a tranquil garden in there or even an area where someone parks their car, you have glimpsed into something intimate, someone lives there. We got the same glimpse of life walking into the home gardens behind the streets of Old Jerusalem.
Eventually we made our way down the street that leads to the Western Wall. I wish I could have captured the aroma. From someones kitchen I could smell a chicken roasting. It smelled like walking into a Jewish Grandma's home for a family dinner. The connection between the smell of a chicken dinner and the wall that is thousands of years old as we were wandering around an area with so much history just brings you back right to the present and now.
Seeing the wall up close vs seeing it in so many pictures is quite powerful. The girls and I went to the womens area on the right and the boys went to the left. We each wrote something and put it in the wall. I am not really a spiritual person and not so sure I am a very religious person either and watching so many completely absorbed in prayer is hard to connect with or frankly understand. I am Jewish and my connection to my religion is something I definitely think about yet I am a reform Jew. Being here and seeing people in prayer and seeing the historical sights is something that will probably be something I think about for a very long time.