Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jerusalem

After London we flew into Cairo. We were there for about a day and then took a LONG bus ride from Cairo to the Taba border, walked across the border and then hopped on another bus that took us to Jerusalem. I decided to do the Israel pictures first so I could keep the Egypt stuff all together. The actual city of Jerusalem is HUGE! I was pretty intimidated when we drove up thinking we'd never find our way around, but we took a taxi to the old city where we stayed most of the time. That's a lot smaller and more manageable and had most of the stuff we wanted to see.
Our first order of business was to find somewhere to stay. We'd researched some places via our Lonely planet travel book and the Internet. We ended up staying at the first place we went to - the Citadel Youth Hostel. It was awesome. It was almost like a cave. There were several dorm type rooms available. We had one of the employees show us around.
He took us up several flights of stairs to the balcony. He said it was an option to sleep up on the balcony. They had foam mattresses, blankets, and pillows so we decided to do that. We were excited to sleep outside because it was so pleasant in the nights and evenings. This picture is a view of the dome of the rock from our "room."
I don't think I've said yet that we met Katherine Thom in Egypt and she was our travel companion throughout the rest of our journey. Here she is with Susannah sitting on our accomodations. We loved that place minus the yucky blankets and the bell towers ringing and calls to prayer being broadcast across the city very early in the morning! :)
One of the staples in the Middle East is pita bread. Inside these ones we have meat with tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and some yummy red sauce. They were delicious.
The Via Dolorosa is supposedly the path that Jesus walked through the city when he was carrying his cross to Golgotha. There were lots of these signs in the old city.
The first real historic place we went to in Jerusalem was just outside the city - Gethsemane. It was actually a Sunday. It was really neat to just sit and ponder there. It was very peaceful. One of the trees in that particular garden has been dated back to at least 2000 years ago.
This is the first installment of my "hymn book pictures." I got the idea from Katherine who had taken a picture in Greece facing the Acropolis with her Bible open to Paul's account of what happened there. I loved her picture (She had gone to Greece just before Egypt when we were in London) so I had to try it out with my mini hymn book.
After we left the Garden, we headed up toward the BYU Jerusalem Center. I took this picture of the old city from a lookout right by the BYU center.
It was closed to visitors that day. They usually have Sunday night concerts, but they were having some sort of meeting so we didn't get to go inside. We found out later that the "meeting" was a special fireside with Elder Neuenschwander. Dang!
I like this view of the wailing wall. The city is divided into 4 quarters. Right now the Muslims have the Dome of the Rock and only Muslims can go inside. This wall is the closest the Jews can get to the "temple." They were praying here and there was also some singing and a few ceremonies going on.
We went through security and were allowed to go to Temple Mount which let us go all around the Dome of the Rock. We were not allowed to bring our Bibles even on the grounds. We had to hide them in some bushes!
Susannah got a bit artistic with this shot. She could see the reflection of the Dome in my sunglasses. I think it looks cool.
There were lots of arches and "gazebo" type things around the Dome. It was all beautifully tiled.
We went outside the walls opposite the Garden of Gethsemane to this next site. This is Golgotha or skull rock where it is thought that Christ was crucified. There is a big bus depot right at the base of it so it's a little noisier at this site.
Here's my hymn book picture number 2.
The Garden Tomb is actually just a few feet from Golgotha. They're in the same park area. The tomb and the area surrounding were beautiful. Even though it was very close to the buses, it was very quiet and peaceful there.
I took this shot from inside the tomb out. There was a wooden sign in there that said, "He is not here, He is Risen."
Here's my last hymn book picture. I think this one is my favorite.
We also visited Bethlehem while we were there. We stopped to take this picture in one of the courtyards of the Church of the Nativity. This is one of our favorite pictures from the entire trip.
This is the front of the Church of the Nativity. I actually didn't take pictures of the supposed birthplace of Christ. It was very crowded in there and was decorated VERY ornately. I didn't love what they'd done to it. Katherine took a few which I may upload later. We weren't in Bethlehem very long. We just went to this church and then bought some olive wood nativity sets and things.
Our last morning in Jerusalem, we climbed the Mount of Olives. It was quite a steep little hike. My calf muscles were very sore the next day. I loved the view. There was a huge cemetery as you can see. It's a Jewish burial ground. The closer to the top, the more expensive the plots. They want to be close for when the prophesied Messiah appears on the Mount of Olives. I absolutely LOVED Jerusalem!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you eat at the Olive Garden?

Jennifer said...

Those Pictures are amazing. I love your favorite one as well. It's probably my favorite. What an awesome experience!

Bushmwc said...

I've always wanted to go. What a great experience. I love your "artistic" photos! You are welcome to visit anytime! Wendy