People have commented on my skirt, which I hate wearing. It is just so not me. Yes, there are lots of women wearing pants, but about more than half read the skirt thing. We did see one man on the Temple Mount who was wearing shorts. They gave him a skirt which he had to wear over his shorts. You also had to have head and shoulders covered when we went inside the tunnel next to the Wall. I wish I had brought my letters there. You are actually closer to the rock there and letters were stuffed everywhere into the Western Wall. Not certain how you got there if not on a tour, but there were about six people praying as we passed the Wall at the closest location to the actual rock. The part of the Western Wall you saw in the photo is only one eighth (55 meters/180feet) of its entire length. The actual Wall in Herod’s time was 488 meters or 1600 feet in length. I forgot to mention yesterday that this rock is also where Abraham came to sacrifice his son Isaac.
A note of trivia! As I mentioned, when we exited the tunnel under the Wall, we ended up in the Muslim Quarter with guards ahead and behind us. Remember the men had to have their heads covered, well as soon as we hit the Muslim streets, you should have seen how fast those yarmulkes came off. I guess those were the pseudo Jewish group. Our guide kept his on, good for him. I have found that my sun hat works just fine as a head covering and I didn’t need my scarf. Our guide today added that it was good we had guards while walking through the Arab section. The Arab section is not on our tour with him.
Well today, I should talk today about the life of Christ because that is what we spent the majority of the day discussing. However, I have to tell about our trip to Bethlehem. Many times tourists cannot go and we wondered why. That is because Bethlehem belongs to Palestine. Who knew I was going to visit Palestine? Our Israeli guide, who knows more about Christianity than I do, was not allowed to go to Bethlehem. He drove us to the gate, we picked up a Palestinian driver and off we go through at least five or six check points. We did have our passports with us and it was definitely a little scary. We all had to wonder if we would ever return. We posted a few pictures showing a few border stations. Bethlehem, as a town, is in shambles. Our guide wanted to know about the American economy because they need the tourist dollar. That was very obvious. After seeing the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s field and shopping, we started back. We made it though all of the returning check points without incident. Our Palestinian driver said he was one of the main drivers allowed back and forth, so we were not searched. We returned to the Israeli side and our Jewish driver was with us once again.
One of the highlights of today’s visit had to be walking the exact same steps Jesus walked after he was arrested. Our Jewish guide is very good on whether what is says is exact or maybe true. He told us those steps we walked today were the exact steps – no doubt. Very moving experience!