2 Adults, 3 boys, 365 Days of Adventure
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Jerusalem

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Jen had booked a private tour of Jerusalem online and unlike the other cities we hadn’t gotten any recommendations for the company that we were using so it was a bit of a crap shoot on whether our guide would be any good. We figured no matter what it would be better than getting on a tour bus with 50 other people (and less expensive too!) Our guide, Mier, met us at the port and we knew right away that we were in for an interesting day. He was probably 70 years old, sprayed saliva as he spoke in a heavy accent and wore a half tucked in shirt and a old baseball cap that was tilted to one side. He was a mess.

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The ride from Ashdod to Jerusalem was about as nerve racking as they get. He seemed to be incapable of speaking and looking at the road at the same time. He was constantly looking in the mirror and every time he looked back he would slow down and veer out of his lane. We tried to get him to stop talking just so we would arrive in one piece!

For all his idiosyncrasies he did seem to possess a good knowledge of the city and was fully versed on the history of Israel. He had a habit of quizzing us constantly which was somewhat embarrassing because we never knew the answer. That is except for Keeks who when Meir asked somewhat obscurely “what happened in 76 A.D.” replied “The Romans destroyed Jerusalem?” Looks like all the effort Jennifer has been putting into history lessons is paying off.

Jerusalem is an amazing place. I really didn’t know what to expect when we got there as I don’t recall ever seeing pictures of the city and knew very little about its history (unlike Keeks). I guess I expected it to be more modern looking – it’s a young country right? Instead we found a medieval walled city steeped in history and seething with people.

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Our first stop was Mt. Olive for a view of the Old City and the graveyards. Then we headed off to the Holocaust Memorial. We didn’t visit the museum because we thought it would be too heavy for the kids but we did walk around all of the outside memorials. We were especially impressed and touched by the children’s memorial which was designed as a hall of mirrors that reflected the flames of five candles that were in its center into 1.5 million points of light (to represent the 1.5 million Jewish children killed by the Nazis). It was both breathtaking and heartbreaking at the same time.

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We then headed to the Old City to see the Wailing Wall and the stations of the cross. Seeing the juxtaposition of so many of the most sacred sights of the three of the worlds most important religions really brought home why Jerusalem is such at such a pivotal point in the Middle East.

It was pouring while we were walking through the old city and we had the bad luck of being there at the same time as all of the group tours from the Equinox. The streets were crowded with hundreds of people, all holding umbrellas and listening to their guides speak through earbuds which dangled from their ears. We really couldn’t see anything so after an overpriced, but excellent, middle eastern feast at a hole in the wall restaurant we decided to call it a day and head back. When we exited the old city we were greeted by the most magnificent rainbow that came down right on the top of Mt. Olive – BEAUTIFUL.

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Being in Jersulem was a great experience and I’m really glad we went. This is especially true because the day was packed with so much great education for the kids (and for us).

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