First weekend in Israel, Day 1 Jerusalem
I have spent a week in Israel now (6 days actually, I arrived late night on Monday). People here a friendly and language is not a big problem so far.
My hotel in Tel Aviv is right at the beach and I manage to take long walk on the beach and on the paved sidewalk beside the beach. I have been to the beach a lot of times but didn't go in the water till now. So far I have managed not to learn any Hebrew letter or words, I already knew Hebrew for Thank you and Hello.
I give a weapon update to a colleague everyday. On the very first day when I was going to office I saw a very young looking guy in military uniform with a big machine gun waiting for a bus, next day I saw a girl and two guys with guns again waiting for the bus. On Friday I saw so many guns that I have lost count now. I love the way they carry the weapons so casually over here :-)
I make sure that I go to a different restaurant/bar for every dinner and I have found some really good places nearby. Vegetarian food is available easily and waitresses have been very helpful in recommending good dishes. Most of the times I have Salad for meal but I got Pizza, Quesedilla and Rice at some places. I love the fact that Jews don't mix meat with dairy products.
I was completely taken by surprise when everybody started asking me about the weekend plans on Thursday, I didn't have any plan and in Israel Friday and Saturday are the weekend days. I tried booking a tour in night but I was too late for that, I finally managed to book the tour early morning at 6:30 and managed to get on a tour bus at 7:15.
The guide Charlie spoke fluent English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Hebrew. I don't know if he spoke/understood other languages. He was a very good guide and made the tour better.
Jerusalem city is divided into two cities the new city and the old one. The whole city is built on top of mountains and hillocks and in the valleys. Many of the mountains are mentioned in Bible and have a lot of history and stories attached to them. Jerusalem is a holy city for three major religions; Jews, Moslems and Christians consider the city important for their religious history.
I have never been inside a Church before and here I was in Jerusalem where Christianity was born. We saw a lot of beautiful churches, church where Mother marry went to eternal sleep was one of the most lovely sights, the organ in that church was really huge and it had more than 2000 pipes. I wish I could here the sound once.
We also went on the path that Jesus Christ had to take while carrying the cross. All places like where he stumbled, he met his mother, a women named veronica helped him are well documented and the journey is divided into 14 steps. The Holy Sepulcher Church has Jesus's Tomb and we went inside and saw the tomb.
Visit to the holocaust museum was a low point of the day, looking at all the documents, statements from various people and artifacts was very disturbing. Even I felt guilty just because I am an Aryan descendent. I don't know how Europeans (specially Germans) feel when they see the place. It seems only Danish people helped Jewish during holocaust and all other countries (including America and Australia didn't allow them refuge). It was pleasant surprise to find the Schiendler's list in the museum.
By the way, no photos at Jerusalem, like a fool I managed to delete all the photos by mistake. There were a LOT of good churches and holy places in there. Unlike India photography is allowed inside Churches (basically its allowed at all places). I was feeling really bad and low after deleting the photographs, I documented the Steps/way of the Cross and took photographs of Mother Marry, Kind David and Jesus Christ and I managed to delete them.
I may have missed a lot of details and may not have made sense because I had two disturbing events (holocaust museum and deleting of photographs today)
For Vivek: They do have guavas in Israel :)