After an exhausting day of doing new things on Monday, we decided to re-visit some of our favorite Jerusalem sights. Eva didn’t come with us the first time we went to the City of David (that was the day after she fainted, so she rested at home), and Eva and LaDonna didn’t come with us to St. Anne’s Basilica, even though it was literally around the corner from their first apartment (they were still acclimatizing), and there was still Old City shopping to do! Gee and Em chose to stay home and recover from the West Bank, but the rest of us geared up and bused into the city.
After our exhausting day in the West Bank, we got a slow start on Tuesday–which was much appreciated by all. Gee and Hebs hanging out in the window seat area of our fabulous house in Mevaseret Zion, a suburb of Jerusalem.
We had had such a great time doing Hezekiah’s Tunnel, several of us wanted to do it again. Bradley and Eva wanted to do the guided tour, but there were no tickets available, and Eva didn’t want to do the tunnel. So Bradley guided Eva around the ruins, watched the 3D movie, and took things at a slower place while the rest of us headed straight for the tunnel.
Ruins of Lehi’s neighbor’s house’s toilet (House of Ahiel) again–because apparently I have the same sense of humor as a 12-year-old.
Dancing down the stairs to the secret tunnel, in the mountain.
With just Hebs, Yum, Zee, LaDonna, and me, we were able to make pretty good time through the ruins to the entrance to Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Although at least once Grandma needed to slow us down. 🙂 (She tells a story about how an acquaintance thought it was so romantic that she and my dad held hands while they walked, never knowing it was to keep my dad from walking too fast for my mom’s short legs!)
We had a spot of trouble getting INTO the tunnel, because the worker at the main entrance took our money, gave us the flashlights we bought, gave us the tickets for the 3D movie for Eva and Bradley, gave us maps…but forgot to give us tickets for the tunnel. Fortunately, the worker at the tunnel called her, she remembered us, and they let us in. Whew!
Secret tunnel, in the mountains! Secret secret secret secret TUNNEL. (It’s from an anime? Or something. It’s an incredibly catchy tune, especially when you are walking through a tunnel!)
LaDonna in Hezekiah’s Tunnel, second visit.
The water throughout most of the tunnel is less than mid-calf high, though it gets higher near the beginning.
My merry band of explorers. Zee, Yum, Hebs, LaDonna. (We forgot to bring the headlamps this time, blergh!)
It was SO incredible to walk through the tunnel again. For one, it was MUCH quieter (except when we were singing ‘Secret Tunnel’), we were almost completely alone (a small group caught up to us at the end), and it was slightly familiar.
I actually turned my light off for huge chunks of the walk, depending on the lights of my children and mother, and just enjoying the experience. I saw the way the chisel marks changed directions, the arched area of meeting place, the utter blackness–at one point we all turned our lights off and it was black as pitch–it was an incredible experience and one I’m so glad we got to do twice.
At the other side of the tunnel, Siloam Pools.
Yummy said, “Now a scary face!” so we all obeyed. Except I’m not sure if we are scared or scary.
Stairs leading up from the lower pool.
This time, Zee and Hebs went through the sewer tunnel back to the main area of the City of David park while we three girls waited for the 5-shekel shuttle. We just missed it, so that meant we had to wait for about 10 minutes, which wasn’t really a hardship, but did mean that Zee and Hebs totally smoked us.
Me and my sweetie. Pools of Siloam.
The sweet gal at the guard gate offered to take a picture of us. The City of David National Park uses harps everywhere, because David was a noted harpist.
Gate of Mercy! Too bad Em wasn’t with us, or I would have made her stand under this sign.
We met back up with Bradley and Eva, had a snack and shared some sandwiches, and then started our walk over to St. Anne’s Basilica. From the Dung Gate to the Lions Gate, you walk by old City of David ruins (part of the Davidson Archeological Museum) and an Islamic cemetery.
The group–Eva, Bradley (with his awesome 360 camera, we can’t wait to see all the cool videos he will produce with this sucker!), Hebs, Zee, Yum, and LaDonna. Lower entrance to the Islamic cemetery.
Right up against the Old City walls–the al-Asqa Mosque is just behind those walls.
Tomb of Zacharias, Jewish cemetery, across the Kidron Valley on the Mount of Olives.
I’m so excited I got to see this tomb!!! It’s very hard to see from the road (unless you are in a tall tour bus, probably), and you can’t see it at all from the path we took that skirted the huge Jewish cemetery. I resigned myself to missing it, but then I casually looked over and there it was! It’s a rock-hewn “tomb” (probably a memorial, since there was no body ever interred there) that is simply carved out of the limestone. So amazing!
View from the Islamic cemetery in front of the Golden Gate, looking over the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives. In ancient Israelite times, there would have been a bridge going from the (now blocked) Golden Gate, over the valley, to the Mount of Olives. This is the path the scapegoat would be driven along, as well as the Red Heifer.
Russian Church of Mary Magdalene, Mount of Olives.
The Beautiful Gate (Golden Gate, or Gate of Mercy), close up.
It must have been the most amazing sight, coming out of the Temple Mount and seeing the Mt of Olives spread in front of you.
Once at the Lions Gate, it is a short–very short–walk up to St. Anne’s Basilica. I loved this color combination–the pretty blue-green door, the yellow-white stones.
Once again, we were incredibly blessed by an empty site. Most of the tour groups try to come in the morning hours, and since we were there in the afternoon, we practically had the place to ourselves. So we sang, and sang, and sang. It was AMAZING. (A tour group was leaving when we started, and they started filming us. It’s fun to think of ourselves in someone else’s tourist memories of Israel!
We sang “Nearer my God to Thee”, “Angels We Have Heard on High”, “I Know That my Redeemer Lives”, “Jesus the Very Thought of Thee”. Then some of us explored the crypt and caves below the church, and Bradley started singing upstairs in the main basilica. The sound was unearthly and heavenly and amazing. So Zee went back upstairs to sing with Dad.
Beautiful wall painting, crypts under St. Anne’s Basilica.
The apse of the basilica, St. Anne’s.
Singing “All Creatures of Our God and King”
More barn quilt ideas? Inspired by the Holy Land!
View from the Basilica to the gardens. I think St. Anne’s is one of my favorites.
My beautiful moms. Courtyard at St. Anne’s.
I’m going to have an entire post all about the gorgeous flowers in Israel!
Grapes! Eva left her hat in the basilica, and a kind brother? father? priest? brought it out to her. Bradley began chatting with him, and eventually he invited us into a closed section to see the replica of the Pools of Bethseda mosaic that has been discovered but then covered back up. The French, who are responsible for the Basilica, aren’t ready to leave it uncovered, worried about preservation and damage. So there was a replica made, and sand and dirt put back over the original.
The replica of the mosaic at St. Anne’s.
Pools of Bethseda, St. Anne’s.
My Yummy is obsessed with the cats of Israel. This concrete had cat-pawprints all through it. St. Anne’s.
Every time we drive past Herod’s Gate, we call it the Grandmas’ Gate, because that was the way to get to their first apartment. So we got a picture of them there.
It was a tough part of the city to be in because of all the slippery rock stairs, but oh! The ambience! Bab al-Hatta Street
We sent Zee, Hebs, and Yummy home by bus–they weren’t interested in going shopping–and went to find some treasures.
LaDonna with bright pink cauliflower, Old City markets, Jerusalem.
The (sadly for the vendors) empty bazaar streets, Jerusalem Old City, near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. At one point, LaDonna and I were waiting for Eva and Bradley, and a kind vendor offered Mom a chair to rest. We chatted with him, and he told us that pre-COVID, he never had a chance to sit down, from opening to closing. He said sometimes the mornings are busy, but not the way it used to be. I hope it recovers soon!
The T-shirts here are hilarious. “Just Jew It” “Jew Jitsu” “PikaJew” I also loved the BYU Jerusalem Center, with the camel instead of the cougar.