Email from Israel #5 (final)
Jerusalem Travel Blog› entry 13 of 13 › view all entries
SO it is 5pm here in Jerusalem, and I am reading and sending my last emails from Israel before I begin the journey back.
A group of Christian pilgrams just passed outside the internet cafe and gave some chants or something at the 8th station of the cross, just outside. And all my neighbours here at adjacent computers are speaking in Arabic.
I've learned a few things from the trip here, many of which I think I will need much time to digest. In all, this experience has been and is wonderful.
I know now though to travel with FEWER books and clothes, and DEFINITELY do not leave the iPod at home...it could have been so easy to use an outlet adapter to keep it charged up and listen to my music at will.
True, these highly inflated prices are still low by US standards, but 2-3 times more than they could have been. Oh well.
Yesterday, I walked out of the Old City, across Central West Jerusalem...and through a gorgeous residential area (Rechavia) and park to the Israel Museum. Got there at 10am...and left there at about 16.30. I did two tours...a "highlights" tour of the museum artifacts, and then a tour of the Shrine of the Book (where some portion of some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are on display). Also I explored the collections and grounds on my own before heading back...so much walking, and I was exhausted.
Today, I woke up.
People who are engaged in tourism (sites, shops, etc) are SO appreciative that tourism is starting a come-back.
Today's group for the Old CIty tour was small...myself, two from England, and two guys from Gujarat (India). Now the amazing thing was that these two are not Jewish rather Hindu, but are here in Israel for a volunteer kibbutz program. They had such an interest in Israel...all parts of it.
Now, one other lesson I learned...I will not stay in the Old City again. It is too loud...you constantly hear the banging of church bells, but these are not pretty sounding like in Europe. Rather they sound like big, loud, out-of-tune Chinese gongs...going off in quantities (if you can imagine that!).
OK...well, it has been a lot of fun to swap emails when here.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) I begin my journey home...in steps. I might check internet one more time, then grab breakfast...then check-out and head to bus #20 just outside Jaffa Gate to the central bus station...there I will browse some shops perhaps, then take a bus to the Ben Gurion airport. Then off to London for overnight before continuing on to JFK.
One thing I did not point out, I think...During the volunteer program, in the first week....we spent an evening doing sort of army drills (hitting the deck, crawling, etc)...afterward, there was a ceremony where we got our "officer" epaulets...but before this ceremony started, our "counselors" light two candles...and started the evening to pay respects to the victims of the first of the recent hurricanes in the US...very touching.
Well, I did take a number of pictures here -it seems like not so many, but I think it'll give you some idea of what I saw. I don't know that i could share with you exactly what I feel here though...some of you are too closed off for that, and that's fine...but I do look forward to telling you all of this trip next time we see each other.