"By the sea, by the sea, by the beautiful sea..."
Who goes to Caesarea to see ruins of the ancient Roman city and then takes a boat out into the midst of one of three major sailing events in the country?
We walked upon ancient and worn stone pathways and mosaics surrounded by ancient stone walls which formed stables, homes, baths, public latrines and taverns, even a stone vault dedicated to the Persian god Mithra.
King Herod's Hippodrome is where horse and chariot races and gladiator games were held. This is also a place where Christian and Jewish prisoners were forced to fight to their deaths as gladiators themselves, or as prey for wild beasts. And all within view of the beautiful blue Mediterranean Sea.
We spent about 2 hours in Caesarea, then were invited on a boat ride in a pontoon-type boat called a RIB-craft which took us out into the sea to watch the sailboat races. Weaving in and out of the different sailboats or running alongside them was the most amazing thing I've ever done. It was like we were a part of the race. Sitting pommel-horse style holding on to handles on the seats in front of us as well as gripping with our legs. It was over way too soon.
After a bite to eat at one of Caesarea's restaurants, a little shopping and a dip of our toes in the Mediterranean, we headed back to Jerusalem
A little wine, bread and fellowship at our neighbors, the Knudson's and the Gish's, in Apartment 2, we now line up for the shower to wash off the sea and then to bed. Another full day comes to an end.
Father says "Look over my city". I look. The city of Jerusalem. His city has already woken up. I see the sun rising, washing across the stone upon stone buildings. Illuminating. Bringing light, birthing light, through windows into the hearts of homes like he shines His light into us, illuminating our hearts of stone.
The light of His Son. His Son Rise. His Son Rises over His city. He says, "I will come. I will do what I say I will do. I will do what I say I will do."
Early morning street-sweepers, delivery trucks and construction jack hammers rattle their wake up calls through our walls, shake us, urge us to close our natural eyes, to see with our spiritual eyes.
This nitty-gritty city. Indeed, this land, strives not just to stay alive, but to thrive, to shine the brightest light it possesses to illuminate the world.
He calls from the roof tops of His city. He whistles for his children. All who have ears to hear let them hear. I say to you, all who have ears to hear, let them hear.
What a crazy time the last few days have been. After mostly recovering from a sinus infection, I feel almost human. I haven't done much the last day and a half, just laid around while the rest of the gang had various events they planned to attend.
Yesterday, Wednesday, Zel (zsewist.blogspot.com) and the Knudson's and Gish's went on a tour of the Old City with Hanoch Young; Ron (galuteron.wordpress.com) attended the priestly blessings at the Western Wall, all the while Julia (anotheradventureintheland.wordpress.com) and I hung around the apartment and did laundry. I must say it was nice to have a down day to recover a bit.
Today, Thursday, Ron marched in the Parade of Nations, bringing up the end of a very long line, while Julia and I stood along the curb, amazed at every sight.
The Parade of Nations is a yearly event in which people of nations from around the world gather to show their love and support for Israel and her people. Just a few that I can remember: Argentina, Norway, Ireland, Estonia, Britain, the Netherlands, Thailand, China, Fiji, Canada, Sweden, and I can't forget The Delegation of the Gypsy Nation of Hungary. There were many more countries represented totaling several thousand marching in the parade. Some dressed in their native costumes, some carrying flags of all colors, banners, tambourines, horns, guitars and some singing Israeli songs.
The crowds of people would press in toward the middle of the street, squeezing the marchers into a single-file line while little children would dash through the crowd to grab miniature flags and other handouts. Police on motorcycles cruised by pushing back the crowds, the crowds pushing back in as soon as they'd scoot away. Israelis standing on the sidelines would shake the participants hands and thank them for coming and marching to show support for Israel.
When I think about the spectacular display of beauty I witnessed today, it's incredible to see such a diverse world of people all in one place.
Don't forget to check out my traveling partners blogs, I think they are posting pictures and videos.
Along cobblestone paths, we wind our way through alleys and courtyards throughout our neighborhood, beauty and potential beauty around each corner. Stone building upon stone building this area is built. The architecture is one of my favorite things about this land.
Here are more photos of our neighborhood...
A famous and favorite shopping area for locals and tourists. Starting early afternoon on Friday, most shops close for the Sabbath and the streets are dark. Come sundown most everyone starts opening up and gradually shoppers begin to arrive until the streets are again packed.
Yesterday evening our tour-guide/friend, MacKenzie Gish, took us on a little walking tour around her old stomping grounds. She had the exciting priviledge of living in Jerusalem for 2 years during a two year volunteer stint with Bridges for Peace. Her apartment was around the corner from Ben Yehuda St., so she knew all about the area. For her it was fun to see it all again and share it with us.
Here are some pictures.
The apartment we are staying in is located in a neighborhood call Nachlaot. It's a good 20 minute walk from the Old City of Jerusalem. It's a mixed area with very religious families alongside artists and other secular folks.
Here are some pictures of our neighborhood and surrounding areas.
Sometimes a picture is all that is needed to express an adventure...
Here are some photos of the shuk we've been visiting. Seems we've been here about half of our time. It's one busy place. Throngs of people all pushing their way through to the vendors to purchase their goods. Those who are pushiest get the service.
Folks here don't seem to mind bumping into you, and sometimes, maybe, they'll say "shlika", or excuse me.
It's much less crowded to shop early in the morning, especially since everything starts to close down by early afternoon in preparation for Shabbat and High Holy Days, like the first and last days of Sukkot, which starts this evening, Sunday, through tomorrow evening.
Well, we passed the night. More like, we passed out last night. Well, for me, until 4AM, when I woke up hot and hungry. Too much information? No, but seriously, our precious air conditioner had shut off during the night so the room got too warm and I woke up. For some reason I was hungry... must be because I can't remember at all what, or if, I ate dinner last night.
So, anyway, today was shuk shopping day, aka Mahane Yehuda, which I think means, Jewish Market. We needed to pick up provisions for Sabbath starting this evening until tomorrow evening, for both ourselves and the young families coming in about midnight tonight.
Most of the shopping areas begin closing early afternoon in preparation for Sabbath, so we needed to get out fairly early. We thought 10AM would be a good time. Well, I don't know what I expected but the place was as packed out as it could get. Ladies, men and children with rolling carts - smart - all pushing their way to vendor tables displaying everything from fragrant teas, to fresh meats, halvah (a cakey spread made from sesame seeds), fresh fruits and veggies, flowers, coffee, all sorts of olives and so much more. And we only made a very tiny dent in what's available.
It must have been the hot, close quarters, the crowd, jet-lag and the cigarette smoke all combined but I got very dizzy, and was afraid I was going to pass out. That is so not like me. So, like the buddies they are, Ron, Zel and Julia, pressed on to complete our shopping while I sat on a bench in a nearby square and let the cool-ish breeze settle me down.
When I can get my technology cooperating I'll post photos of our shuk experience. It's very entertaining so I'm sure we'll go back.
That's what the sign said at Ben Gurion airport. After the long flight from Toronto to Tel Aviv, working our way through the airport, customs, and baggage pick up, we made our way outside to catch the sh'rutt(sp?) up to Jerusalem, about an hour's drive.
Our apartment host, Edan, greeted and escorted us through the alley to the space we'd living in for the next week and a half. After helping us huff our luggage up the two flights of stairs to the third floor, he showed us around the place and mentioned that we would have to water the plants a couple of times during our stay. After settling in a bit, this didn't seem quite so unusual as it feels like we walked into someone's home during their vacation. See photos below of our apartment and the view from our windows and balcony.
Falling asleep last night to the voices in the courtyard below and the music spilling from the little restaurant down the alley... "I will sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously, the horse and rider thrown into the sea..." Abba reassures us. We feel safe. He is indeed in triumphant!
Here we are, Julia, Zelta, Ron and I, sitting in the airport waiting for our flight to Toronto. Distractions have been abundant, from changed airline flights to changed lodging, health issues and more...
But we've been called to go to Israel so we must answer. And watch how the Lord makes miracles and paves the way for us.
Our plane has arrived so I must make this short. Until next time...
Follow Julia at AnotherAdventureintheLand.wordpress.com,
and Zelta at zsewist.blogspot.com