Walking the ramparts of Jerusalem: North and West

On Friday September 11 we were at the ramparts, slightly after 9am, the time when they open. It appeared however that only the south east section was open. Because it was Friday, the holy day for the Muslims, the other part was closed. Doing that one tomorrow.

Looking West. The hotel in the centre is the King David Hotel.

Between us and the King David Hotel is the Biblical valley of Hinnom, where the Israelites sacrificed their children to the Moloch. Topheth was here, and it is therefore also called Topheth. Here a look down in this valley.

AnneRoos looking over the walls.

Looking East with the Mount of Olives just on the right, and the graves on this mount as well.

And a clearer view of the Mount of Olives.

The hill is covered by graves.

Jerusalem is surrounded by hills, and the city has sprawled out over them.

At the Dung gate we couldn't continue, so we walked back outside the walls, and entered again at Zion gate.

Pro life demonstrator shot because of his message

If an abortionist is shot, it's news. Because it can only indicate one thing: the right wing are all dangerous nuts, and it should be published widely. When a pro life demonstrator is shot, it is what? Not news. It's not in a newspaper near you. But luckily we don't depend on newspapers anymore.

Harlan Drake of Owosso, near Lansing, was arraigned on two counts of first-degree murder and other gun-related crimes. ... “The indication is that he had ill will … a grudge against these three individuals,” said Shiawassee County Prosecutor Randy Colbry. “The defendant was offended by the manner of Mr. Pouillon’s message.”

Jerusalem, walking in the old city

In shops in Jerusalem we saw a T-shirt with the slogan: "I walked my feet of in Jerusalem." And that's what we did. Jerusalem is best explored on foot, so we explored the old city on foot. Did we walk a lot!

On Thursday September 10 we started walking through the old city. We started at the Jaffa (Joppa) gate

Jerusalem is a large sprawling city. But its centre is the old city. The old city is divided into four quarters: Jewish, Armenian, Christian and Muslim. This is taken somewhere in the Jewish quarters.

At the "temple" wall:

The Via Dolorosa is in the old city as well. Supposedly the place where Simon of Cyrene was compelled to take over the cross. On the left you just see a portion of a cross that a large group of South Americans Catholics, our guess, were carrying around.

Catholics and their churches are everywhere in this city.

The old city is very interesting. All narrow streets. This is one of the bigger ones, just enough for one car;

One of the pools of Bethesda:

The Damascus gate, from inside the old city. This is the gate Paul went through to go Damascus.

And the Damascus gate from the outside.

According to travel books this is the most holiest place for Christianity: the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This is the supposed site of Golgotha. No hill can be seen anymore. The church on top of it is shared between the Greek Orthodox Church, the pope, the Eastern Orthodox the Armenian Apostolic and perhaps others.

The church inside was extremely nice, but the idolatry was just expelling us. People were kissing the supposed stone of anointing (where Joseph of Arimathea prepared the body of Jesus) etc. etc. Very sad.

So we went back to a place we were earlier, but which was closed between 12pm and 2pm: a hill that actually looks like Golgotha, and might have some similarities to what things actually looked like 2,000 years ago. But first a stop for some refreshing drinks, to get some new energy. I asked for a beer. As it was the Ramadan, it would upset the Muslims too much to see me drink beer, so I was asked to sit in the back of the store, and got the beer in a Pepsi bottle. The guy selling this was an Armenian...

The kids got banana with mango with some insistence from the shop owner. They actually liked it!

So we went to the Garden Tomb, located outside the current city walls, and it has a hill which looked like a skull as well. Currently only the eyes and the nose are visible.

There's also a tomb which is somewhat like tombs from that time.

The door is normally open, but we closed it so we could take this picture.

There's even a picture of a stone like they might have had in those times. The stone for Jesus' grave was probably larger and heavier than this one.

To be honest, I think the site of the church of the Holy Sepulchre is probably the site, but it doesn't look like anything of 2,000 years ago. But this site has some credentials, and certainly looks much more like things were 2,000 years ago.

And then it was time to go home, and take care of my blisters.

Jerusalem 1

In the afternoon of Wednesday September 9 we drove from Ein Gedi to Jerusalem. Close to Jerusalem, we noticed that we saw clouds! You don't see a cloud all day at Eilat or Ein Gedi, it's remarkable we actually noticed that we saw clouds again. Finding our hotel was a bit of an issue, but after driving around the old city, and asking around at various other hotels a couple of times, we finally found it. We didn't do a lot, but went to bed early, for an early start.

This is us on Thursday, in front of the Jaffa gate (the gate to Joppa).

And at the wailing wall, which most Jews consider the center of their religion unfortunately.

More photos next time.

Ein Gedi National Park, end of Day 1, and Day 2

Below three pictures taken when we were on our way back from Ein Gedi National Park, should have been part of the previous story.

The kids liked the springs so much, they wanted to go back another time. So we went early next morning: 8am at the gate (Wednesday September 9). We wanted to do a longer treck around the mountains. This is somewhat up. The white is the dead sea, because of the heat and sun it just fades away with a camera. In reality you don't see a lot either. The mountains of Jordan on the other side are hardly visible during the day.

We didn't go all the way to the top: according to the office you may only do this if you take 5 liter water per person... Halfway the mountain was hot enough though. Ida was just near collapse, but luckily we came to the Shulamit spring which Ida could let run over her back as much as possible. Refreshed we continued down to Dodim cave, a very unique cave. With cave we always think about a real cave in a rock, but perhaps the cave where David hid was more like this, a pool with a cave over it?

We climbed up again and went to the Ein Gedi spring. Just five minutes in this heat is already enough to scorch you! When we came at Ein Gedi springs, the water just feels so good. The pool was small:

As you can see, the boys enjoyed themselves!

A very nice place.

Synagoge

Ik heb nog wel veel te vertellen over de vorige dagen. Maar eerst iets tussendoor. Het is nu vrijdagavond en voor de Joden begint dan na zonsondergang de Sabbath. Ik had even aan een jongen gevraagd hoelaat de synagoge begint op vrijdagavond. Dus ook meteen na zonsondergang: ongeveer 18.30 uur. We merkten het al heel goed toen we om 5 uur de straat opgingen om eten te halen. Alles was superrustig (en dat in het drukke centrum van Jeruzalem) Alle winkels en eetgelegenheden waren gesloten, of waren bezig schoon te maken. Alleen de Macdonalds was nog open.........Dieuwe had wel zin om met mij mee naar de synagoge te gaan. Hij had als souveniertje al een keppeltje gekocht, dus dat was geen probleem. Vrouwen gaan ook netjes gekleed, met rokken over de knie en de armen bedekt, meestal ook het hoofd bedekt. Maar daar houd ook de vergelijking met kerkgang op.......We gingen naar de Great Jerusalem Synagogue. Op weg daarheen - 7 min. lopen van ons hotel hoorden we al dat de Sabbath begint: Iets over zessen klonk de bazuin door de stad. Je zag mensen nog snel even wat stoelen binnenzetten. Toen waren we al bij de synagoge. Dieuwe werd van mij gescheiden. Hij mocht met de mannen mee naar binnen, terwijl ik helemaal naar boven moest op de galerij. Ik kon alles zo wel goed zien. Naast me zat een Jodin en ik vroeg haar of ze ook een Bijbel in het Engels hadden. Die ging ze wel even voor me ophalen. Het was alleen geen OT, maar een heel formaliteiten/formulierenboek. We begonnen bij Psalm 145.

Voorin stond de Rabbi, met z'n rug naar de gemeente toe (de hele tijd, ongeveer 1 uur) Hij begon te reciteren en sommige mannen deden mee, anderen stonden heftig heen en weer te bewegen of aan hun lokken te draaien. Anderen liepen weer rond en begroeten elkaar. Het was een echte Jodenkerk :-)

Soms begon er een te zingen, wel heel prachtig. Andere keren zong iedereen, maar het klonk niet erg eensluidend. In het boek stond ook precies wat ze moesten doen: bij dit en dit woord moet je 3 stappen vooruit doen, 3 stappen achteruit en dan buigen. Ze staan ook constant te bewegen. Het is wel duidelijk waar Paulus op doelt als hij schrijft in 1 Timotheüs 4   Want de lichamelijke oefening is tot weinig nut; maar de godzaligheid is tot alle dingen nut, hebbende de belofte des tegenwoordigen en des toekomenden levens.

Dieuwe vond het ook wel een hele belevenis, maar was ook van mening dat het niet erg nuttig was. Hij heeft weer andere belevenissen, want hij zat tenslotte bij de mannen. Denk dat hij nog wel wat schrijft. Al met al hebben we nu een idee hoe het in de synagoge eraan toe gaat en dat zal in alle eeuwen misschien niet veel veranderd zijn.

Global warming: two competing views

Peter Sinclair: "One of the enduring myths of climate denialism is that global warming stopped sometime in the last decade."

Versus Professor Henrik Svensmark: "Last week, it was argued by Mojib Latif from the University of Kiel at the UN World Climate Conference in Geneva that cooling may continue through the next 10 to 20 years."

Ein Gedi National Park

After swimming in the Dead Sea it was already very hot, so the kids went back to their airconditioned rooms, while Ida and I went in our airconditioned car to the Ein Gedi kibbutz for some work. Ida really had to the laundry, I had to upload photos.

We were back quite late, perhaps 2pm or so and had lunch using the lunch provided by the Youth Hostel. Came with our take away yesterday evening, very useful. After we went to Ein Gedi National Park. It's basically a small valley between scorching rocks, with water supplied through underground channels from the Western side of the Judean desert. This creates a unique climate. There are waterfalls everywhere. The following photo shows the waterfalls, not the true depth unfortunately. But I reallly suggest you click on the picture and zoom in (zoom button in the bottom right corner) to see it in its full glory.

The park was home to some unique animals. Here the hyrax.

Their colour is very well adapted to the background:

The same for the ibexes (wild mountain goats). We could seem them trekking high up the hills, going up impossibly steep ascents.

But the big attraction are the springs and pools of course. You just can't believe how refreshing it is to get in one of those pools after having walked through possibly 55℃ in the burning sun.

So that's basically what we did: we went from pool to pool. The kids enjoyed themselves immensely.

There was even a natural slide in one of the pools.

The pool the kids liked most was the one where they could climb up and jump down.

Just before closing time we reached the last and largest spring, the David spring.

Israel, Jerusalem

We are currently in Israel as you probably know, been swimming a lot in nice warm water (great for refreshing).

Now we are in Jerusalem a beautiful city although quite busy. When we came here at around 4:30 P.M we went to our hotel and just relaxed. The next day we went to the old city, a completly different city to the new Jerusalem. Theres about 4 different "quarters": Jewish, Arabic, Aremanians and Orthodox Jews. These "quarters" have there own sphere about them, some are bustling with people while others are dead quite but nevertheless they are all nice to walk around. That day (Thursday) we did a lot of walking, so much that dad even got blisters. That night we had Felefa, pita bread stuffed we a lot of different things.

van Eilat naar de Dode Zee

Maandag verlieten we Eilat en wilden via Timna naar Ein Gedi rijden. Maar eerst nog een duik in de Rode Zee. We zijn om 6 uur opgestaan en hebben een flink stuk gezwommen. Het was nu nog niet zo heet, maar toch al wel warm. Je zag het koraal onder je en kleurige vissen. Het water is zo helder. Na 10 min zwemmen, dobberden we wat rond om de zon op te zien komen boven de bergen van Jordanie. Vanaf dat punt zagen we ook Egypte en Saoedi Arabie. Terug in de Shelter het brood gesneden wat we van de eigenaar gekregen hadden: Shabbatsbrood (zoeiets als de toonbroden??)

Berend en Anne Roos gingen de auto ophalen, een ruime Ford. Toen nog wat boodschappen gehaald, zoals 10 liter water voor onderweg. We gaan immers de Negev door.

De woestijn is zeker geen kale zandvlakte. Overal bergen, rotsformaties en af en toe een dadelplantage. Na een half uur sloegen we linksaf richting Timna. Voor je gevoel een weg regelrecht naar de bergen. Daar zijn oa kopermijnen van Salomo. Het is waar hij koper vandaan haalden en dat exporteerde vanuit een haven vlakbij Eilat.

We zagen veel prachtige rotsbogen, tunnels en pilaren. Het was ook erg stil, niemand behalve ons. Af en toen gingen we een uurtje lopen, maar dat was wel het langste wat je uit de auto kon doen. Het was een zinderende hitte. Voor elk uur in de woestijn moet je eigenlijk 1-2 liter water drinken. Het mooie van dit gebied was ook dat er een replica van de tabernakel is gebouwd. We kregen een rondleiding van een Joodse Christin. De hele tabernakel is op ware grootte gebouwd. Ze hebben voor een el 40 cm. aangehouden. Ook alle maten voor het brandofferaltaar en wierookvat ed. zijn correct. Je kunt je nu een beetje voorstellen hoe de Israelieten daar gestaan hebben (en ook dat ze de wolk nodig hadden!)

Smiddags richting En-Gedi gereden (plaats waar David en Saul waren, spelonk, maar ook waar Sodom en Gomorra lagen).

De tocht was prachtig, ook indrukwekkend vanwege het feit dat het vroeger een vruchtbare vlakte was (zo mooi dat Lot het koos) maar nu overheerst wordt door grote zoutvlaktes en kale rotsen. Je ruikt de sulfer. We kwamen ook langs Zoar, de bergen waarna Lot vluchtte. Je kunt je een klein beetje voorstellen hoe hij over de verwoeste vlakte heeft uitgekeken.

De jeugdherberg in En-Gedi was vlak aan de Dode Zee en op loopafstand van de En-Gedi Oase waar verschillende zoetwaterpoelen en watervallen zijn. Genoeg dus om 2 dagen door te brengen.

Swimming in the Dead Sea

We stayed in Ein Gedi for two days. It's even hotter here than in Eilat, just soring desert. In the morning it's ok (but still hot). Below sun rise over the Dead Sea on Tuesday, September 8.

Access to the Dead Sea was fairly close, only 2 minutes by car. This particular access point must be very popular given all the amenities.

Ida enjoyed it.

As did Anne Roos.

The water is actually clear.

The backdrop of where you swim.

The hotel is next to a national park with lots of wild goats, ibexes.

Who don't mind crossing the street.

Egypt and Israel

Hey all!

As you all know we have been to Egypt and we are in Israel now.

We left Holland on Wednesday the 2nd of September.  The flight took round about 4-5hrs. We arrived in Cairo, we got picked up from the ariport by some people that worked at the hostel we were staying in.

The next day we went outside to do something in Cairo, it was like you steped into another world! It was a very nice experience though.

Then we took the bus from Cairo to the border of Israel. It was one of the worst experiences I have every experienced because the bus driver got sick so we have to switch buses then 1min later that bus broke down so we had to switch bus's again then that bus broke down, so you get the point.

We crossed the border and then we entered Israel, it was like you stepped into the real world again. Eilat is a very nice city next to the Red Sea. One day we had a swim at 6'oclock in the moring and saw the sun rice above the Jordan mountains! My favourite place is Ein-Gedi which is at the Dead Sea and also has loads of fresh water springs. We spent all day walking parts of the desert and then cooling off in one of the springs. Today we went to the old city in Jerusalem, that was really nice we got to see the western wall. We also visited the garden tombe and Golgotha, which was pretty awesome.

To Ein Gedi

After Timna National Park we continued our journey towards the Dead Sea, and specifically Ein Gedi. Ein Gedi is known as Engedi in the King James. David lived in this area when he fled for Saul. At the south tip of the Dead Sea we could already clearly see an important industry here.

Somewhere from a top, towards the North East:

The water is really blue here.

And then we arrived at our apartment. Luckily we could get dinner at the hotel, there is basically nothing else here, no villages, no restaurants, no shopping.

And without air conditioning we couldn't survive here. At night it's still hot, probably still 36℃ or so.

Timna National Park

On Monday morning, September 7 we drove towards Engedi. On our way we stopped at Timna National Park. One of the reasons was that it had a replica of the tabernacle.

It's desert, surrounded by dry stoney hills, and all kinds of interesting rock formations.

The tabernacle isn't as large as perhaps imagined.

The replica is on true scale.

The altar, laver and tabernacle:

It was hot here, very, very, very hot. Luckily Mum and Dad could take cover on a platform on a small lake, while the kids still had enough energy to paddle a boat:

The next attraction were Solomon's Pillars:

Auke and Dieuwe had to go in as deep as possible:

But the burning heat had been a bit too much for AnneRoos:

Another attraction were ancient copper mines. The Egyptians had an extensive mining operation here. The visitor centre had a replica of a mine shaft. By this time AnneRoos had enough energy to make it up that shaft, to the roof of the building:

But the main reason we stopped here was the natural arch. Dieuwe is just walking towards it:

Again an attraction to great to resist.

I and Ida managed to get up as well, using a somewhat easier route.

The boys made it even further up.

This location place was completely deserted, we had it all to ourselves. We also visited the old mines, and the kids crept through a few of them. Interesting, but just walking here saps your energy, extremely hot. No idea how people could have survived in this heat.

And that ended our visit to Timna National Park. Up to the Dead Sea, and our hostel there.

Eilat

Crossing the border wasn't as big an affair as it sometimes seems to be. It was very quiet, we were basically the only persons. The only odd thing was that customs asks you what religion you are. And then we were in Eilat, known as one of the way stations of the Israelites. It's either about here, or an Arab village in Jordan, slightly more south.

We felt very sweaty after a day in the bus, so went first by taxi to the Shelter hostel, and then we walked down to the beach to have a swim. It was dark by now, but you could still make out that the water was very clear. Next day was Sunday. No churches here. There was a Bible study done by a Presbyterian pastor from the States. This was actually very sound. He talked aboud baptism by the Spirit and that, when asked if you had been baptised by the Spirit, this was code language for: have you spoken in tongues?

But he then want through all verses in the Bible, seven in total, which talked about baptism by the Spirit. Five of them are prophetic (i.e. it would happen in the future: Pentecost), one is historic: it had happened, and one was teaching on the subject: every believer is baptised by the Spirit when reborn. What believers should seek instead is being filled by the Spirit.

We had some interesting meetings with local people. We met a Jew who was the only one of a family, with wife and children very hostile.

On Sunday evening I read some parts from John Flavel's "Mystery of providence".

On Monday morning we woke up very early. We wanted to be in the Red Sea before sun rise. So at 6am I woke up the kids. Only Dieuwe didn't want to come, but both Auke and AnneRoos went with me and Ida. And we managed to be in the water before sun rise.

No photo of that of course, as we were in the water! Eilat has various beaches, but the main one is fairly small, and I suppose extremely busy during the day. This is looking West, the small sandy beach at this location is to the South, left of this picture.

This is the beach, taken a bit further back.

Then back to the hotel were we had breakfast. This is 07:34am in the morning. The sun rises quite fast here and it's already getting very hot. Temperatures are about 36℃ at this time of year. Amazingly hot.

After breakfast I went with AnneRoos to pickup our rental. This was a bit of a search as our booking said Shalom Plaza Hotel, but this appeared to have been renamed to Sea beach hotel. We have a very nice car, a brand-new Ford, fairly large, and comfortable. I also needed a new sim card for my USB stick. Got a Cellcom use-as-much-as-you-want per month one for just 150 shekels. Unfortunately this appeared not to work in my laptop when we went back to the hostel. I went back to the guy who sold me the card, and he suspected a sim lock. In Engedi I had internet access to confirm this, and this appeared the case. Bummer. I've requested a sim unlock code from Vodafone, which they supposedly will send in a few days. In the mean-time we just have poor internet access unfortunately.

Syndicate content