How can one visit Israel without going to Jerusalem ? Whether you're Jewish, Christian, Muslim or simply interested in history, Jerusalem has it all. It also has mega street vendors, hordes of tourists, more hopeful reconstructions than you can possibly imagine until you visit, but, but, we who do believe in God know that history happened in Jerusalem. Whether it's exactly on the Via Dolorosa that the cross was carried ... whether David was ever in David's tomb, no one is really sure. Destruction and rebuild, over and over, "best guess" provides location and rebuild provides the vehicle. Why then, since we know that this was all destroyed and rebuilt over and over, do people line up for hours to go inside an ornate box-like tomb standing in the center of a church as if that was actually the place where Jesus' body lay for three days ?
History did indeed happen here. The Western Wall isn't actually the wall of the Temple, but it's as close as you can get, since the Temple was actually destroyed. The Stations of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa are a good remembrance of the crucifixion but we're not sure about the location. The ornate tomb ? This was not the tomb where a rock was rolled in front for three days. My understanding is that this isn't how people were buried in that time.
All that said, remember the first statement - one cannot visit Israel without visiting Jerusalem. We did and wouldn't have missed it.
On the way there, the bus stopped at the Elvis Cafe. Yes, the Elvis Cafe. Elvis statues, Elvis mementos. Coffee served in Elvis Mugs and you get to keep the mug. I tried to to give away the mug and no one wanted it. It's here at the apartment and will stay here !
It was a full day with lots of very slow walking. My right foot, the problem one, hurt like hell by the time we got back. Standing still is the worst thing.
So ... the 60+km ride this a.m., a preamble to the main event, with a dozen riders, was good. After being off the bike since Oct 4, it felt good to stretch my legs other than by walking. The fast pace, however, was hard on my left knee. It gives me trouble if I push too hard. I rode to the start of this preamble, just a km or two away (and that's the start location of the ride too) and the group left a little after 8:30 and I was back about 3 hours later. The bike paths were crowded with walkers and cyclists, being the Sabbath. Traffic is noticeably lighter. Many stores are closed but most restaurants were hopping last night.
Today, other than the ride, not much planned. Tomorrow we hit Masada & the Dead Sea.