Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The LONGEST day ever

Day 1ish.  Oh my goodness this has been a long trip already.  Let's start with yesterday.
We bummed around all morning.  We had lunch.  It was a Tuesday.  We abandoned our dogs and went to the airport.  Normal stuff at this point, we checked in, went through security, bathrooms, food, really good burgers and shakes.  Then it was different.  Apparently, when you fly to Israel the waiting area is separate from everyone else.  They also check your passports and tickets again, and then again when you board the plane.  Hmm, makes sense I just didn't know that before.  10.5 hours, 2 movies (out of 195 available), 3-5 hours of sleep (depending on who you ask), dinner, and breakfast.  Later, we arrived in Tel Aviv.  Danny, our tour guide for the trip met us at the airport, drove to Jerusalem, and took us to check in at our hotel.  Then the trip started.

It was 11am (4am body time) and we had less than 5 hours of sleep and we were walking towards the Old City of Jerusalem.  We walked down Mamila St (shopping which we DID NOT do) towards the Japha Gate.  We bought an Israeli bagel - oval not circular and tastes differently better than US bagels.  Then we walked through the Shouk.  Where to start with the Shouk?  It is a cobble stone group of streets with small stores on either side.  The street is maybe 10-15 feet wide.  The shops are about the size of a good walk-in closet.  It is ancient also.  It is the old market now filled with everything from tourist crap to leather shoes, spices, and I also saw chicken wire there.  It was a market; it is still the market.  We walked through the Shouk on the way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  This is the spot where it is believed that Jesus was crucified and buried.  Every denomination of Christianity (except the Protestants) has a different part of the church they are in control of.  I think the Armenian's may have it best because they have control of what they think is the actual tomb.

Onwards, towards and past the Western Wall of the Temple Mount and on to the City of David, where they believe that King David lived.  This is the part where I started to lose it.  It was hot as hell and we hadn't eaten much.  In fact I don't remember having eaten lunch at all. Anyway, back to the story.  We walked over and through some ruins from King David's time period to an underground tunnel.  It was the water system from way back when and because the city was going to be attacked, they dug a tunnel to move the water inside the walls.  Two teams dug from opposing ends and actually met in the middle.  Crazy accurate.  In the middle there are some crazy right and left turns to help them meet.  I was better during this walk because it was both underground (cooler) and in the water at least to our ankles and at one point to our knees (wonderful). 

Then we taxied back to the hotel for a happy hour (because our luggage was kind of missing - in that they never brought it up to our room) and a shower. We walked to Ben Yehuda street to show Matt and look in the windows and then decided to walk towards the Old City for dinner.  We walked and walked and walked and couldn't figure out why we were not there yet.  We walked all the way to the windmill and then I broke down in tears from exhaustion and hunger.  Full on crying.  No screaming, that would have taken more energy.  Tears streaming down my face exhaustion.  Dinner.  I began to talk again.  We found out today that someone was turned around and didn't realize just how close we were if we had walked back down instead of across.  Oh well.  Taxi home.  Slept 11 hours.

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