The first new thing we did was take a city bus from our B & Br. to the Old City. Only 7 shekels for each of us. I got the change out of my pocket, counted out the money confidently plopping it into the tray and walking down the bus isle. As Wilma come's along behind me the driver stops her motioning towards the change...there was some kind of a problem, apparently! Wilma calls me back to the front. I come back and learn that I've "read" the change completely wrongly. I learned later, that I had counted pennies as shekels!
Instead of holding up things, I give up and simply hold out my nad of change telling him to pick out the amount. Since then, I've actually stopped a clerk to explain the change for me. Such a tourist!
But we are sold on the city bus thing. Saves energy, it's cheap, you can see the city pass by through the window and most importantly, it's air conditioned!
The next new thing was the discovery of "contemporary" sculptures along the walkway in the outdoor mall leading up to the Jaffa Gate of the Old City. Up to now we had avoided that area, but this morning we went that way to see what there was to see.
Between almost every second shop there was a sculpture on display, and on both sides yet. Below are some representative photos of them. I was thrilled and have to admit slowed our progress to the Old City somewhat. There just is too much to take I and absorb in this city.
We have learned that there is a system...a sales method of operation and to really get the most out of your time in Israel and learn things, one must make a decision at some point to get involved. To "hire" someone or something to; learn about what it is you are seeing, and to assist these agents of information in their livelihood, to be part of the overall way of doing things.
To make a long story short, the tour was fantastic. It was a 3.5 hour whirlwind tour of many sites in the Old City. This way, if we wanted to come back we could easily find them and secondly, we got a lot of background (and local) information you would never get otherwise. With just the three of us, it became very personal. You see, this is a spiritual place, and everything is related to historical events in the Bible. The tour by it's nature brought out our spiritual lives, opinions and positions very quickly. We all bonded, as we shared our own spiritual journeys. It was very rewarding on a personal level of ministry to others, besides the sights of the tour itself.
It was very moving to reach the northern corner of the wall and at that point be walking on a street with Roman columns exposed out of the walls of dirt. This was a street that existed during the time of Christ, 2000 years ago. They discoverd that It was a very busy street, selling wares to the many pilgrims that came to the temple. Did Christ walk this street? Maybe. Is it possible we had to go into this particular tunnel, meters under existing Jerusalem and there on an exposed underground street adjacent to the temple wall, walk where Jesus walked? I will think about that forever.
When I lay down, tired that night, I felt like I'd seen and been in the Jerusalem of Jesus's day. I was ok with our plans having gone out the window. With that, I slept soundly.