After finishing the tour of tunnels under the Western Wall, we trekked back to the Grandmas’ apartment. (Side note: we got a weird email from the AirBnB host, asking why we had so many visitors without telling them. Ooookay? We wrote back that the apartment was being rented by two older ladies and the visitors were family helping them get around. But it was strange, since we don’t have extra people staying the night there or anything like that. Oh well.)
It was especially hot today, or at least it felt that way. I’ve forgotten how much humidity can increase the “real” temperature. And wandering around in the Old City means there are no breezes. And very few level streets. We really worked up a sweat just going from the Western Wall to the apartment!
Yummy’s favorite pastime in the Old City is finding feral cats and naming them. Don’t worry, we know they are not pets and we don’t touch them, but they are really cute and EVERYWHERE. We’ve “met” a S’more, Oliver, Trash Panda, Carl, Naomi…I think she will run out of names sooner than later, but who knows?
Once we spent a few minutes recuperating at the Grandmas’, some of us decided to go explore St. Anne Church, just four minutes from the apartment. (Gee and the gmas decided to stay back.)
St. Anne’s is known for two things: the Pools of Bethesda and a Crusader basilica that was NOT destroyed by the Muslims after they retook the city in 1187. This means the building is almost 1000 years old, which is definitely the oldest freestanding building I have ever been in (I guess the Church of the Holy Sepulcher might be around the same age?) The basilica is known for amazing acoustics.
It is absolutely gorgeous–simple and elegant and shady and cool. I begged my children to sing with me–it is allowed–and after much grumbling, Zee, Hebs, and Yum complied. We sang “Love One Another” and, at Bradley’s suggestion, “Be Still My Soul”. It was AMAZING, especially with the harmony and the echoes and the feeling all around.
As soon as we were done, my children escaped as quickly as they could. I stayed in the chapel a little longer and sketched (badly) the arched windows.
The Pools of Bethesda, of course, are the place where Jesus healed a lame man who had waited 36 years to be the first into the pool. Jesus asked if he would like to be healed, and bade him rise up and take up his bed. (If you haven’t seen “The Chosen” episode with that scenario, I recommend it. It is very touching.)
I wished we could have stayed longer, but the Church was closing and the heat intense.