Day #5 of our Epic Trip to Italy and Israel with the Museum of the Bible was our first full day in Israel. We left early in the morning to head to the Mount of Olives.
It was cold and windy and I was SO glad I had brought layers to wear that day, even though it was supposed to get really hot.
From the Mount of Olives, we had an incredible view of the city. It was breath-taking, surreal, and overwhelming.
We then walked to the Garden of Gesthemane and went in a church right next to it. Then, we took the bus to get the view from the opposite side.
It felt so humbling to be walking in the ancient pathways of where so many incredible and world-changing events took place. It made me feel so small in contrast to how big this world is.
It’s good to be reminded of your smallness.
I was excited to find a tourist shop that sold Cafe Lattes and took American dollars. I hadn’t been able to exchange any money (yet) and so it was exciting to finally find a place that would take my dollars and give me shekels back. Plus, I really wanted to be able to bring some shekels back for my kids!
While we were out walking, we saw this. The Israelis told us it was where “they put the bombs when they find them.”
After that, we walked underground to explore Hezekiah’s waterway. It was pretty fascinating! Many of the groups were actually taking the wet tunnels — where I guess you would actually wade in water that’s up to a few feet deep!
We took the dry tunnel but got to feel some of the water in one of the sections (see above) and it was SO cold that I was very glad we were not taking the wet tunnel!
Our guide had told us at the beginning that there would be a few sections where it was a tight squeeze. Well, he wasn’t kidding!
We explored the drainage tunnels underneath the Old City and it was quite the adventure… in fact, it felt like we were never going to make it back above ground again. The tunnels just kept going and going and going and going! (See more pictures here and here and here.)
We finally made it above ground to this beautiful view!
After that, we headed to lunch where I ate fish that still had eyes and teeth intact… that was a first! 🙂
And then we took to the bus to the Israeli Antiquities Authority. This is a warehouse where they store thousands and thousands and thousands of artifacts that they loan out to various museums.
Our last stop was at a winery for a tour and then a beautiful dinner! We quickly discovered that Israelis know how to put on a very, very big spread of food. The appetizers alone are enough to fill you up. And then there are usually two entrees, more appetizers, bread, and dessert!
Gratefully, we were doing a LOT of walking to make up for all the calories we were consuming. I decided that I was going to eat all. the. things. Or, well, at least try as many different foods as possible. Because this might be the only time I’d be in Israel and I wanted to get the full experience!
To be continued tomorrow…