Sunday, June 12, 2016

Israel Day 2 - Jerusalem

Jerusalem Friday,  May 27, 2016

Decided not to go to Eilat because I'd be stuck there until Saturday night since there's no transportation available from Friday afternoon to Saturday afternoon because of Shabbat and Eilat is a super expensive place. (There, I wanted a luxury hotel and they run about $500+/night!)

So I figure I should go to Jerusalem instead, that way I can also do the West Bank sooner rather than later. 

There's an Abraham hostel in Jerusalem, that is the sister hostel to the one in Tel Aviv. I liked the first so why not try it? Big plus: They have a free shuttle bus between hostels! So off I go. I made a detour and misjudged the time, so I ended up running the half hour walk from the beach to make the shuttle in time. An hour later, around 5pm, we arrived in Jerusalem, me barefoot (my hippie heart loves not wearing shoes). The city was buzzing with people rushing to get last minute errands done before Shabbat when everything in the Jewish neighborhoods (not the Muslim and Christian ones, though) shuts down. 

For 40 Shekels, the hostel offers the experience of Shabbat dinner.  So glad I did this! About 20 of us guests "helped" the chef (an amazingly patient man!) cook a giant meal for about 40 people. We learned about the ceremonies, prayers and songs that are part of the Shabbat dinner tradition. And then we feasted.

Afterwards, I walked for two hours searching for the Western Wall unsuccessfully (thanks GPS). But walking alone in dark quiet cool air (the Jewish part of the city is completed abandoned then because everyone is inside observing Shabbat), was kind of wonderful. Somewhere around midnight, I collapsed in bed, sated and happy.

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