I slept OK, but the bed is really hard. Emile said I snored some but I couldn’t find my nasal strips. Found them today so hope tonight is better. Woke up at 5 AM so I could call Jana at home about 9 PM. Talked to her for about 8 minutes in hotel lobby. Watched the sun rise from the courtyard and took a few pictures for
Facebook. Went back to the room, Emile still sleeping. Checked Facebook and email, then went to breakfast. Emile met me there. Had omelet, salad, and fruit for breakfast. Juices were good and fresh. Wrote some in journal and watched people. There seems to be people from all over the world here, Russians, Hebrews, Americans, Orientals, and many other nationalities. Very interesting to see the variety of people.
Returned to the room about 9. Shaved, brushed teeth, packed the backpack and camera. Ready to go for the day. We walked down St. George street toward the Old City. We stopped for a few minutes at St. George Anglican church. They had a beautiful pipe organ and a baptistry cover that lifts to the ceiling via a counter weight- very cool. We walked down St. George St. past the British and US consulate and
arrived at the Damascus Gate. Damascus gate was impressive stone, very
sturdy and thick. Walked through the bazaar and bought a falafel. It was good- almost like a flavored cornbread mixed with vegetables then stuffed in a pita. Spent more time in the bazaar but only bought the Hebrew LSU shirt. Walked out the New Gate, then in through the Jaffa Gate. Exchanged some money then went to the church of the Holy Sepulcher.
The Stone of Unction where they laid Jesus’ body, is the first thing when you walk in the doors. Knelt down and touched it. Then up some steep stairs to place where Jesus’ cross was in the ground. The stone was encased in glass and I had to approach the hole on my knees on the stone. Ouch! The stone was hollowed out where so many people had come to kneel and pray where Jesus was crucified. Then went down the stairs to a hollowed out cave from
the Herodian era that seemed typical of the place where Jesus was laid. Also shows that this site was a cemetery. Is it the correct tomb? Who knows, only God. But it gives one some idea of what it might have looked like. Skipped the little room in the center of the church that is supposed to be the tomb of Jesus. People were piling in like crazy and the line was long. Hope to go back early before we leave to beat the crowds. The church was very ornate, but the light streaming in above the tomb was very nice. But it did not feel “holy” as I expected. It felt more like a tourist site. It was very noisy with all the people inside the church and the stone walls. But I was reminded
of how many people follow Jesus- so many different nationalities and languages were there.
Stopped at a cafe for juice. Had lemonade with mint. Very good and cool but
kind of expensive at 20 shekels (almost $5 US). From there, we went to the Western Wall. Got some good pictures from an observation point looking at the wall and the Dome of the Rock. Had to go through security again to get to the Western Wall. Went and prayed at the wall. Very moving. This site felt
holy, reverent, respectful. But it was very hot, over 90 degrees F, in the bright sun, so we didn’t stay too long. Rested a bit, then walked back passing some of the stations of the cross on the Via Dolorosa. The stations are quite understated, just a roman numeral as a marker. Got back to the room about 3 PM. Tired. Hands and feet swollen. Rested until 6, then ate supper about 6:30. Wandered down to corner store to get drinks for Emile. Sat in lobby and talked and people watched until about 9. Got in bed about 10 PM. Busy day today with the first day of touring coming tomorrow, April 30. Weather was hot today, over 90 degrees, especially hot and sunny at the Western Wall.
See more pictures from Wednesday, April 29 on my facebook page here Pictures from Wednesday, April 29, 2015