5 days *especially during the week of Passover and Easter* is truly not enough to experience Israel. My recent trip to the country was mostly unplanned, except for the fact that I had emailed a few Couchsurfers only days before leaving Cairo. It was probably for this reason that so many unexpected, insane, and unimaginable things happened on this adventure! I wouldn't have had it any other way.
My friend, Darren, flew from Poland to meet me and my other friend, Angela, in Jerusalem. From then on we were able to witness and experience so many things I never imagined I would be able to see. Going to Israel during this time proved to be interesting. During the first nights of Passover the streets were quiet, as I has expected, and the city of Jerusalem was almost like a ghost town. When we returned from a crazy day and a half in Tel Aviv, we found the streets were filled with a jovial and peaceful ambiance--a nice change.
I'll try to blog again later in the week about a specific frustrating experience, that goes along with the video I have posted at the bottom, regarding a recent interaction that Darren and I had at the Mosque in the Cairo Citadel. I'm still trying to piece together this puzzle and will need a few days before gathering my thoughts completely. Until then, here are some images as well as my garbled collection of happenings in Israel.
|Our first "sweet" experience in Israel. I loved the Hebrew writing!|
|The first evening in Jerusalem. The wailing wall at sunset was more empty than I had seen in other photos, however the women still had less space than men!|
|My prayer that I wrote. Technically we weren't supposed to put notes and prayers into the wall on this day since it was Passover, but I couldn't help myself!|
|The Dome of the Rock overlooking the Western Wall. The rays of sun reflecting on the dome were just beautiful. I really wish that I could have gone inside!|
|The Absalom Pillar, accompanied by rows and rows of graves. They are all separated of course--Christian, Jewish, and Muslim. This bit has always fascinated me and it was so interesting to see in person!|
|In the garden where Jesus prayed. These olive trees are thousands of years old! I didn't see any olives hiding in the branches...|
|I wish I knew how old these tombstones were! There's such history and controversy behind this site.|
|On the Ramparts Walk: I love when you see unexpected colors in unexpected places. These red poppies were a cheerful blessing during the hottest part of the day!|
|Venturing over the Muslim Quarter. I found it a bit ironic and more so exhausting that there was such a gorgeous view of the Dome of the Rock, but debris and carelessness laid directly underneath it.|
|We like to call this: The night of "Mike & Ikes." I'm not sure the name of this bar and am not sure what time we left. I am however sure that it was indeed a great and hilarious night, where we will not be forgotten any time soon!|
|My favorite lunch in Israel! This Denis fish was delicious and so were the 20 other side dishes that were served with it! A perfect departure gift from Tel Aviv.|
|Apparently the notes on the floor are prayers for luck. This small window is an exhibit for where the blood of Jesus Christ came trickling out of the mountain.|
|Inside of the church right before it closed. There was such an eerie silence here and the smell of incense was nicely overwhelming.|
|There were crosses deeply carved all along the walls in a few parts of the church. Again, I'm not sure how old they were or who did it...|
|Photo courtesy of Darren. :)|
This is before I lit a candle and said my Easter prayer.
|It's almost sickeningly humorous, this man looks like he is about to be sacrificed or crucified. We are being pushed, shoved, and prodded from every corner while we are trying to walk down the steps--inch by inch--to the holy cave.|
|It is said that this is the very spot where Jesus of Nazareth was born.|
|The graffiti continued for as far as we could see. We didn't want to bring attention to ourselves since there didn't seem to be any other tourists by the area that day. I especially liked this commentary though.|