Tuesday, June 16, 2015

JERUSALEM: MISCELLANEOUS SIGHTS, SOUNDS, AND TASTES

Before I leave Jerusalem for other places in Israel, I have a few more pictures of places and things that caught my attention, along with some pictures of the delicious food we ate (always an important part of Cannon Travel).

This poster was plastered to a wall behind a bench. Maybe a bus stop? What's with the paper airplanes in the trees? I love it.

We saw Orthodox Jews everywhere, but I never felt comfortable snapping a picture. I took this one through the bus window. I have great respect for their devotion.

Israel is becoming more and more of a force in the international art world these days. I liked this modern sculpture in a random park and wish we could have gone to a few galleries:

The Rockefellers have a presence in Jerusalem? Yep. In 1925 John D. Rockefeller donated $2 million towards the building of the Palestine Archaeological Museum, a place to house the numerous artifacts discovered during excavations in the 1920s and 1930s:

We saw lots of different sections of the Old City Wall, which was in various states of repair and disrepair.
These walls were built between 1535 and 1538 during Ottoman rule. The total circumference is about 2.5 miles, which doesn't seem that long until you consider that the average height is forty feet and the average thickness is eight feet. That's a lot of stone.
On the other hand, I was stunned to learn that these walls only enclose about .35 square miles, but in that small space is the Muslims' Dome of the Rock and Al-aqsa Mosque; the Jews' Western Wall and Temple Mount, and the Christians' Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
The Old City is also divided into four quarters: the Jewish Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, and the Christian Quarter.
I don't know how many miles of streets there are inside those walls, but it's a lot more than you'd think. We needed a few more days to explore all of them.
There are a total of eleven gates, but only seven are open. This is the Damascus Gate and is where Stan just about lost his wallet to a pickpocket. Good thing Stan caught the guy with his hand in Stan's pocket.

The crescent on the gate . . .
. . . identifies this as a Muslim cemetery.
In the distance is the Mount of Olives and Garden of Gethsemane.

Everything in Israel is built out of "Jerusalem Stone," a kind of limestone found in and around Israel. It is a beautiful color--white, beige, pink, or gold--depending on the time of day.

One night we slipped out after dinner and went to Omar's woodcarving shop. He has a long-term relationship with the BYU students who study here and all the LDS tourists. In fact, his son studied at BYU-Idaho. We splurged big time and bought two of his pieces, a Tree of Life and an intricate nativity carved from a single piece of wood:

And, finally, there was the food. Yeah, the food was tasty. This was my dinner selected from the buffet at the Dan Hotel in Jerusalem. They had a lot of different salads, including farro salad, which is my current favorite.
How about the color of this hard-boiled egg "white"? The shell was white, but inside it was a sun-kissed tan:
We enjoyed a few treats in the Old City, but the baklava and Turkish delight don't hold a candle to what we had in Instanbul. I think we needed to find an actual bakery rather than a storefront selling things made elsewhere:
We did have one sit-down meal with the Joneses in the Old City. We had stayed out late and missed dinner at the hotel, so we stopped in at a shish kebab place. 
The food was good, but the waiter was the best part of the meal. He was very friendly and talkative and told us he has 3 1/2-year-old triplets and newborn twins. so he works extra hours. I think his wife is a super star.
We weren't sure if he was working us for a higher tip, or if he was telling us the truth. 
He was such a happy, friendly feller that we opted for the latter and gave him the former.
The other options for dining that we had seen in that section of the Old City were not quite as appealing:
Bob was quite taken by this display and was wishing for either 1) a kitchenette in our room, or 2) a cook in the butcher shop.

The best street food we had in Israel was just around the corner from the gift shop of the Garden Tomb. Terry and Geneil went exploring and came back with falafel pitas that had us all drooling. They took us to their hidden gem, where we watched our falafel being shaped from this big bowl of ground beans . . .
. . . and then thrown in a big pot of hot oil. No sitting under a heat lamp to keep it warm for future customers. This is as fresh as falafel gets.
The man's son filled our pitas with all the good stuff shown here and topped it with some amazing sauce.
All of this for about $1.75. This place deserves a Michelin Star.

And if there is any question about the freshness of the ingredients, all we had to do was look across the street at the fruits and vegetables for sale:


Jerusalem is a feast for the senses. What we see, we remember--maybe. But what we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch becomes part of us in a much deeper way. I can see why the BYU students who study in Jerusalem for six months all long to return. They carry a bit of Jerusalem around with them for the rest of their lives, as does anyone who embraces this amazing city.

5 comments:

  1. The little tid bits are often my favorite parts of your posts. Love the street food, the random pictures of walls, murals, artwork, etc.

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  2. Great collection of pictures (and memories!)

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  3. I'd love to try falafel that fresh. The only stuff I've ever tried was at a campout in Zion's from the hand of a relative, who had a reputation for being an somewhat questionable cook. The stuff was nicknamed Becky's Feel-Awful, and we all avoided it after an initial taste. Yours looks amazing, though. Fun to see all the food and other sights--my favorite part of travel.

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  4. I found all of this very interesting as I read in bed on Easter morning. Happy Easter.

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  5. I found all of this very interesting as I read in bed on Easter morning. Happy Easter.

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