Today we bused over to the east side of the Old City to experience the Mount of Olives. Riding the buses is, as always, an adventure–but perhaps by the time we leave we’ll have it all figured out.
Our first stop was the Grotto at Gethsemane. We arrived at about 8:45am, and had the place virtually to ourselves. It was an amazing experience, and very sweet. The grotto is calm and quiet and beautiful, and very ancient. It is very likely was used during Jesus’ time, and likely looked very similar. (The inside dimensions, I mean. Not the buildings and the paintings and the chairs and the altar…)
Outside of the entrance to the Grotto is the Church of the Tomb of the Virgin. Again, we were so lucky to almost have the place to ourselves.
We then walked over to the Church of All Nations, which oversees the Garden of Gethsemane. This church was built with contributions from Catholic churches all over the world (hence the name). It is gorgeous!
After walking around the Garden of Gethsemane–which slowly became more and more crowded–we decided to split up. Eva, LaDonna, Bradley, and Gee decided they weren’t going to try the climb up the Mount of Olives to see the other churches. They decided to go over to the Lion Gate and visit the Church of St. Anne’s (which, sadly, was closed on Sunday! Bummer.) and then perhaps do some shopping in the Old City. The rest of us–Em, Hebs, Zee, Yummy, and I–headed uphill to the Pater Noster Church (also closed, unfortunately; but at least we discovered that before we walked all the way up) and the Dominus Flevit Church. It was a really fun side trip for me and the kids.
When we were done, we met up with the rest of our group at the Lion Gate. Some of the group were ready to head back to the apartments, and others wanted to explore the Old City some more. So we split up again–Gee, Em, Eva, LaDonna, and Bradley headed back and the rest of us became Intrepid Explorers of the Old City Bazaars. We bought a few groovy suvvies (souvenirs) and some delicious watermelon.
After spending several hours in the Old City, we decided to head home for a break. Imagine our surprise that the others weren’t there yet! They had decided to detour to a mall, and found a place for lunch. After wandering around the mall for a little while, they headed back to the bus stop…
…where Eva fainted! It was a pretty alarming few minutes there, but she is okay! Probably a combination of a different diet (more carbs and sugars than usual), not enough water, and maybe just tiredness. We’re all hoping a good night’s rest will fix her up. Thank goodness for Gee’s wheelchair, though. Once Bradley was able to get Eva back up, she sat in Gee’s wheelchair for the bus ride home and Gee walked–they were tired but happy to help!
The rest of the day was spend tending to Eva’s needs, going grocery shopping, cooking dinner, and–for me–writing this blog post! Hopefully all will be well tomorrow, and we can explore the City of David excavations and Hezekiah’s tunnel.