Friday, July 09, 2010

A Biblical Scholar's First Impressions of Israel IV: Jerusalem

I loved visiting Jerusalem.  Even though a day is nowhere near enough, you can do a remarkable amount in a day.  The highlight, without question, was walking through the tunnels that run along the bottom of the Western Wall of the Temple, now below ground.  We had an excellent tour guide who was knowledgeable and witty.  As he showed us the Herodian stones, he offered the memorable line, "If they spent this much time on the box, imagine how wonderful its contents".

We walked around lots of other fascinating locations.  Naturally, the ones most of interest to me were the glimpses of the Herodian / Roman era sites, including part of a road that looked like it could have been excavated in Rome itself.  We looked at "David's tomb" and the "Upper Room" above it, the latter fascinating for its little changes reflecting pre- and post-crusader activity.  We did lots of walking, and took in also the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  We had some good nosh too -- little pizzas on the Via Dolorosa, while drinking a kind of lemon and mint concoction that we also had several days later in Galilee.

Alas, it was the day that England crashed out of the World Cup in that 4-1 defeat to Germany, but I will choose to remember it instead as a momentous first trip to Jerusalem.

Photo credits: Viola Goodacre

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