12 November 2008

The Falafel Excursion

Here is a run-down of our trip to Jerusalem. I have a complete 7-page saga if you really want to read about everything (well, almost) that we experienced. I would be happy to email out my complete diatribe to anyone interested!! LOL

Day 1:
~Crossed the border, took about 2 hours using the Allenby Bridge. Took a taxi from the bridge to Jerusalem, $100
~Visited the Israel Museum, the main exhibit was closed. Saw the impressive model of Old Jerusalem during Second Temple Period and the Dead Sea Scrolls ~Visited the Bible Lands Museum. There were a lot of ancient official seals & cylindrical seals; organized into 20 different eras of Israel's history
~Took a taxi tour of Mt Scopus (saw Jerusalem Center) and Mt Olives. Viewed sunset from a vantage point above the Jewish Cemetary facing the Old City. Courtenay tried to kiss a camel. ~Dined at Dad's favorite restaurant, Olive & Fish; had gelato for dessert; bought a widow's mite necklace pendant. Day 2:

~Wierd breakfast, we sat down with a group of Russian Orthodox Catholics. The spread included: spaghetti, salmon, tuna salad, cheese, bread, potatoes, eggs, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, and a lot of hummus type spreads.

~Visited the Western/Wailing Wall, separated into men and women's sections. Stuffed a prayer into the wall. Took an awesome tour of the Temple Wall Tunnel, walking 2 stories underground along the original temple walls.
~Spent several informative hours at the Davidson Archealogical Center located on the South-Western corner of the temple mount. Rented cool audio tour, viewed an awesome digitized recreation of the ruins, touched the Hulda Gates. ~Dined on Shawerma, complete with florescent pink cauliflower and Fanta in a bottle ~Walked to St Anne's Church (mother of Mary). Church had awesome acoustics. Next to the church are the Pools of Bethesda, where Christ healed the paralytic. Was the most peaceful part of our day. ~Starting at St Stephen's Gate, followed the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepluchre. Passed the 14 stations of agony along the way. The Church was the very unusual! Built over the supposed site where Christ was cruxified, his body prepared, and where we was buried. Founded by Constantine's mother, Helena, who had a "vision." It was dark, full of chaotic noise, stuffed with incense, and the monks were pretty brutal.
~Justin let Courtenay and I shop for 2 blessed hours in the Muslim Quarter's Souq. I found a cool green rock and cute skirt. We munched on candy and dined on ice cream for dinner. Day 3:

~Learned Obama won the Presidency

~Courtenay was late, muddling our plans for the day. Her reason was good: she lost her camera or it was stolen the night before.

~Tried to catch 4 taxis, all refused us entrance because we were going to the Dung Gate, closest to the Wailing Wall. Finally a Jewish taxi came by and took us there

~Stood in line to see the Temple Mount (Dome of the Rock), refused entry to ME...because I was immodestly dressed. Whatever. Guards tried to sell us scarves for $20 per scarf (normally $5), then they told Courtenay she needed to cover her legs. What a bunch of bologna!
~Searched out cheaper scarves just in time for the Temple Mount to close until after 1 pm.

~Saw the Garden of Gethesamne, the Church of All Nations, Mary's Grotto, and a cool chuch set on Mt Olives. The view where supposedly where Christ lamented over his city, "O Jerusalem!" Very peaceful.
~Rambled through the Jewish Quarter and saw the old Cardo

~Toured the Whol Museum of a huge preserved Pharasiee's home
~Saw a 3 million dollar gold menorah

~Walked to the citadel, browsed through a cool museum in the turrets of the citadel on the history of Jerusalem. Very awesome.
~Ate ice cream to console Courtenay's broken heart over her camera
~Walked the Old City wall's ramparts, not recommendable. Saw a lot of trash normally hidden behind the walls from street level
~Circumvented the outerwalls at ground level from the Dung Gate

~Visited the Garden Tomb & Golgatha. Much more believable this was the site of Christ's death and burial. The garden was amazingly peaceful especially with groups of tourists singing hymns.
~Courtenay and I tried to retrace our steps to ask about her camera. The merchant who sold her a pair of sandals actually had the camera and returned it to her! It was the miracle of the camera. I HAD to buy a pair of sandals from him too. LOL
~Dined at the Samara Restaurant, another of Dad's favorites.
~Saw a light show at the citadel. It was completely amazing!
Day 4:

~Arrived at Temple Mount by 8 am, modestly dressed, and part of a group of tourists. Finally saw the complex. The Dome of the Rock was magnificent, the tiles made it a sight to behold. A guard chastized Justin and I for trying to hug during a pictures: "no huggie, no huggie!"
~Saw the Golden Gate, where Christ will return in glory through. It was rocked over, as if a couple boulders would stop the Savior.

~Joined a tour group of the City of David. Saw a 3-d film about the original lay of the land and how it may have been colonnized. Saw recent excavations of a new tunnel supplying the palace of David with water. Walked through Hezekiah's Tunnel. Ended the tour at the Pool of Siloam.

~Caught a taxi at 1:00 pm, picked up luggage at hotel, and went to the border crossing~Were back in Amman by 4:30 pm.

As John would sagely say, our "dogs were barkin' " or our feet really hurt!

Note: My Mom said that on the second day, Amelia asked where Mommy and Daddy were. She told her we would be back in two days. Amelia knelt down by the fridge, folded her arms, closed her eyes, and babbled a prayer! That melted my heart!

Who Needs Sleep? No, You're Never Going To Get It

Phew! I meant to have this posted on Sunday but my computer is having issues downloading the pictures from our trip. We are so glad to be home. The best part was sleeping in our own beds! I think our whole house could fit inside mom's kitchen. It is also lonely to be back home. Amelia and I were getting used to all the hustle and bustle of having adults running around. Amelia is not sleeping very well. We expected that. However, I did not expect her to drop her naps. So far I caught the flu AND a nasty cold in less than 4 days. Yucky.

In order to help Amelia readjust to being home and most importantly sleeping in her bed we've pretty much stayed home since Saturday. This afternoon after an hour of crying instead of napping I went in and asked her if she wanted to take a nap on Mommy's bed. She was very interested in this proposition. I laid down next to her and closed my eyes, then asked her to close her eyes. She scrunched up her whole face trying to close her eyes. It was so, so cute. I need to remember to enjoy the journey because she will not be small for long. One thing I learned in Jerusalem is that taking consessions and negotiating is part of life. Amelia, I love your guts!