Our last morning in Israel…
Today, breakfast is simpler because it’s Shabbat. No fresh squeezed juice or omelets made to order. We pack up and load everything onto the bus one last time.
One more adventure in the Old City….a walk along the top of the wall in the Armenian section.
The view is spectacular from up here and I can appreciate it much more now that we have visited many sites. It feels good to have perspective…which I didn’t have that first morning in Jerusalem when we stood on the Mount of Olives.
Nabil was born in the Old City and lived his whole life here until a few years ago. As we walk along, I ask him if he was free to roam and play as a child and he smiles as he answers. Yes, he could run around with his friends where ever he wished…they just had to be home by 8. If they were late and the house was locked, he would have to find another place to sleep. He and his young playmates would look for sneaky ways to get up on the wall without buying a ticket and they would run and skip to their hearts content!
They were careful to only run in the walkway or along the inner wall, not on the outside where you would have to jump over each open place. He tells us the guards sometimes chased them but they never caught them!
This was one of the stairways he used as a child. It has since been gated off. Probably to keep kids off the wall, I’m guessing 🙂
It’s a wonderful walk and I wish we could do the whole thing!
Climbing down again, it’s only a short walk to the Cardo from the Roman-Byzantine era.
This would have been Main Street in Jesus’ time. In another area a painting on the wall shows what the busy street might have looked like then.
We can’t see more of the Cardo because it is closed for Shabbat, as is every shop in the Jewish Quarter.
As we walk out of the Old City for the last time, Nabil stops by one little shop and tells us, “Last shopping…5 minutes”. We beg for 10. After all, we’re experts by now at bartering. Why not barter for time too? I see a nativity set. I’ve seen several since buying mine and they’re all nicer. My people look kind of like Egyptians and their faces are sort of weird. But I’ll always have good memories of buying it and that’s the main thing!
One more coffee mug…we will have a nice selection when I get home. We can drink our coffee and reflect on this place…looking forward to the New Jerusalem <3
Leaving the highlands behind, our bus takes us through the Jerusalem forests and on to the shfela, or the slopes of the lowlands.
Cars look funny driving on these very old-fashioned looking streets.
We read in I Samuel (or Sam-well, as Nabil says). This valley, where David fought Goliath, is small and it’s easy to see the hills on both sides where the two armies would have camped. We drive right across the brook, now dry, where the young David would have picked up his stones.
A roadside stand is serving Druze bread, a flat bread spread either with nutella or cream cheese and spice and grilled on what looks like the top of a very dirty and well used wood stove top. It’s a fun cultural experience and the bite I try is good.
Molly needs something healthy to eat so she and I sneak into a coffee shop when we make a WC stop where she gets a carrot juice and her daily coffee.
Jaffa~ (Or Joppa)
In 1000 BC Solomon brought cedar wood through this port for building the Temple. “And we will cut all the cedar logs that you need and float them as rafts by sea down to Joppa. You can then take them up to Jerusalem “. II Chronicles 2:16
Simon the Tanner lived here and Peter was in this town when God gave him the vision that led him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.
Not to forget Jonah! He may have stood on this very sand I am standing on, heart pounding, adrenaline racing, wanting to get OUT of here ASAP. Just get me on a ship to Tarshish and I’ll be away from the presence of the Lord……out from under this annoying conviction. In Tarshish I can shake it off. Jonah 1:3
Sigh. I can relate sometimes. I may not jump on a literal ship but I do sometimes jump ship. Or want to. Or ignore God’s gentle prodding, secretly hoping it will stop.
Anyway. I like thinking about Jonah on this beach.
Megan, Heather and I are talking to a woman who was raised Southern Baptist but moved to Israel and converted to Judaism. We have met so many interesting people on this trip from different faiths and a variety of countries.
Unlike in Jerusalem, this beautiful town on the Mediterranean Sea is busy on a Saturday. Lot’s of Israelis from Tel Aviv come here because the Arab shops are open on Saturday. In this pictures you can see two soldiers…a visible presence in most of the places we visit.
We are free to roam around for a couple of hours, then meet at a nice seafood restaurant for dinner. The food choices are St. Peter’s fish, a fancy word for Octopus, Lamb, or Chicken and Lamb Shish Kabob.
The Lamb is good. I try the Octopus because I am brave and want to fully experience life. It’s awful but if you like shrimp you might like it…kind of the same texture.
On the way to the airport a few share thoughts about the trip or words of appreciation to Nabil, Wyatt & Gail, and Lloyd and Opal. Ihab, our driver, left us yesterday. We have a long wait at the airport…nearly 5 hours….but we are content to rest 🙂 .
I lose count but my passport is checked either 6 or 7 times. After clearing security I buy a water bottle and the clerk scans my passport *and* boarding pass before I can pay. Carry on’s not only go through normal security but are re-checked by hand at the gate. No lack of security in Israel.
I forgot to mention….the Jewish holiday of Purim is this weekend. People dress up for this holiday much like Americans do for Halloween. We see lots of costumes and some decor around town.