You'd think that I was in Jerusalem for days with all the photos I took instead of just a few hours! These are just a few of the hundreds that I took.
Let's continue through the Arab market in the Old City...
The color of that cauliflower is pretty shocking!
Oh, I wanted to try that baklava!
This was an interesting contrast!
There seemed to be a very heated discussion with this woman about the pita bread. I sneaked a quick photo as we walked by.
We went to an Arab cafe in the market for me to try the knafe, a cheese pastry soaked in a super sweet, sugar-based syrup. They make it in a huge pan and sprinkle fresh pistachios on the top.
It was fun to watch the show of them cutting the pieces out of the pan. Jab, jab, jab, scoop and onto the plate!
I also tried the Arab coffee but it was sooo strong that I could only take a few sips. It has a spicy taste.
We shared a few plates of the knafe - I could only take a couple bites. It is so sweet that it hurts your teeth! We were the only non-Arabs in this cafe and we sure stood out! :) Groups of people came in and got their knafe and coffee and left. It seems to be an afternoon tradition.
Back out in the market, there was lots of gummi candy at this booth...
How about those strawberries! I pictured someone taking one from the bottom and the whole pile tumbling down!
There were Israeli security forces around...
Are you noticing the cameras in just about every photo?
The market area just goes on and on, up and down and in and out. I can't imagine living here! There are tons of people living in this maze of buildings.
Netanella and I touched this spot in the wall that is said to have the imprint of Jesus' hand where He rested it when He was carrying His cross.
We saw more Palestinian t-shirts (like this baby onesie) in the Arab market...
This is another photo that I didn't realize what I was capturing with my camera... I think our security guard is checking out the Israeli soldiers and vice versa!
Our last stop in the Old City was the Western Wall or the Wailing Wall, as some people call it. There was very tight security with metal detectors and all to enter this area.
It was a much larger area than I expected... that elevated walkway that goes up to the wall is the entrance to the Temple Mount on the other side of the wall. "The entire area that is currently the Western Wall plaza was filled with low buildings when Israel liberated the area during the Six Day War of June 1967, and was later cleared away" (copied from another website.)
The wall is huge! The plaza area in front of it is separated by a wall between the men's and women's sides...
Here is a little information about the wall from the Western Wall website:
"When Rome destroyed the Second Temple in 70 C.E., only one outer wall remained standing. The Romans probably would have destroyed that wall as well, but it must have seemed too insignificant to them; it was not even part of the Temple itself, just an outer wall surrounding the Temple Mount. For the Jews, however, this remnant of what was the most sacred building in the Jewish world quickly became the holiest spot in Jewish life. Throughout the centuries Jews from throughout the world made the difficult pilgrimage to Palestine, and immediately headed for the Kotel ha-Ma'aravi (the Western Wall) to thank God. The prayers offered at the Kotel were so heartfelt that gentiles began calling the site the “Wailing Wall.” This undignified name never won a wide following among traditional Jews; the term “Wailing Wall” is not used in Hebrew.
The Western Wall was subjected to far worse than semantic indignities. During the more than one thousand years Jerusalem was under Muslim rule, the Arabs often used the Wall as a garbage dump, so as to humiliate the Jews who visited it.
For nineteen years, from 1948 to 1967, the Kotel was under Jordanian rule. Although the Jordanians had signed an armistice agreement in 1949 guaranteeing Jews the right to visit the Wall, not one Israeli Jew was ever permitted to do so. One of the first to reach the Kotel in the 1967 Six-Day War was Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, who helped revive a traditional Jewish custom by inserting a written petition into its cracks. It was later revealed that Dayan's prayer was that a lasting peace "descend upon the House of Israel."
You can see the little pieces of paper wedged into the cracks and tiny holes in the stones. I was told that they are cleaned out regularly and burned to make room for more.
You can see a tiny glimpse of the Muslim Dome of the Rock beyond the wall in the next photo.
Evening was descending as we left the city out the Dung Gate and took taxis back to our cars.
That evening we had a very special treat! We went to an Israeli home in Jerusalem for a beautiful meal. Netanella's friends Alon and Chen Koren open their home regularly for people to come and share a communal meal together through a website called Eat With. They are a darling couple and so friendly and hospitable.
The food was delicious! We were so full!
Believe it or not, I didn't even try dessert - I felt like I would pass out if I did!
They had cute, little pink boxes with a chocolate treat inside for us to take home with us.
I did get to stop into a Pandora store in Jerusalem to get a charm - this olive tree was perfect. Along with the olive tree, it also has a tiny charm that says "family". I thought that was so appropriate because throughout this whole trip everyone made me feel like family - and I know that family is THE most important thing to them!
It was a day I will never forget - to get a glimpse of a place to special to me - I can't even describe the feeling. Thank you again to all the girls and guys who came along and shared this adventure with me! xoxo