Today I ditched my parents / sisters / grandfather / brother in law and nieces to spend the day with my favorite person, me. After 5 days with the rents, I needed a little space, and since it was pretty much a free day in Jerusalem (no real plans), I took advantage.
I got quite a few requests for gifts on this trip. A few more than normal. I got 2 requests for Mezuzahs, one request for Bisli, 2 requests for lotion, one set of earrings, a few requests for chocolate, and 1 request that I go have hot chocolate at Aroma. Thus, shopping, will be the purpose of most of my time here in Israel…well...that and seeing the family. I took this free time to attempt to fulfill these requests.
I walked a mile or so from my hotel to Ben Yahuda street (a pedestrian mall), then to Machanai Yehuda (a street market for food), then back to Ben Yehuda, where I purchased the 2 mezuzahs. Machanai Yehuda was a little overwhelming. The smell of FISH made me GAG, the smell of ONION made me CRY, the smell of FRESH BREAD made me HUNGRY, and the smell of the SPICES made me SNEEZE. After 5 minutes of that, I felt quite alive, though the sneezing could have been caused by the dust storm that had traveled from Arabia that day and was sitting over a sunny city, creating a haze.
I was supposed to meet the family at the beginning of the Shuk in the old city, but they were delayed at the “Biblical Zoo,” so Ariel, Lilah and I walked through the Shuk, looking for some of the above objects. Instead of turning around at the end, we kept walking until some guards told us that Jews were not allowed on the temple mount (Ariel had a Kippah on). Before they could remove us from the temple mount, we were able to get a slightly obscured picture. (To be attached next week).
We met up with the rest of the group an hour later, visited the western wall, or the Kotel, or the wailing wall. They headed home and I needed just a little more time alone… so I walked. I would say my day as a shopping day was mostly unsuccessful. I didn’t purchase much, as there will be many more days for that, but did see most of Jerusalem via foot.
In other news…. Driving through Jerusalem, and even walking to a certain extent, is really difficult. Not only is the city 4,000 years old, but also the city is built on the top of the mountains (unlike most cities which are built in the valleys near rivers). The roads are hilly and none go in straight lines. I must have walked 10+ miles today…and I’m extremely exhausted.