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A Really Varied Day

Today was Sunday, So after a fine breakfast of juice, scrambled eggs, sweet bread, pita, yogurt, and olives, we went to the English/Arabic Eucharist at the cathedral with Karen and Tom. The bishop celebrated the service. Most of the prayers were in Arabic, but the service leaflet was in English for visitors. The bishop preached first in Arabic, then in English, and the assisting priest backed up the readings in English. The local congregation could probably have been counted on the fingers of both hands. The service was lovely. I will add that it made us greatly appreciate our music at St. Mark's.After church, we were given a tour of St George's College, which is a kind of adult education center offering two week courses on religious topics for interested people.

Then the four of us headed out to walk the ramparts of the Old City. On the way, Marty and I bought some yummy items (no better word comes to mind) that were like calzone dough braided around fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. Easy to eat while walking. Because we were with Tom and Karen, we decided to head to the Jaffa Gate through the Old City. Now, they didn't really know the way either, but by drawing on what they do know and asking the occasional local, we eventually made it to our destination, the ticket office for the ramparts walk. Before starting, we stopped for some refreshing pomegranate-orange juice. Tom and Karen, who had not eaten anything yet, got some slices of pizza. It was pleasant to sit in the shade where there really was a lovely breeze. It was hot in the sun, but consistently pleasant in the shade wherever we were, even on top of the walls.

The ramparts are certainly doable, but challenging for the anyone with height, age, or acrophobia issues. There are lots of extremely steep steps that are far from consistent in height. But there are grab bars fixed in the wall and a fence on the side of the drop. As I did this two years ago, I knew to take a single hiking pole, which was enormously useful. The ramparts afford excellent vistas of the city, old and new, along with views of clotheslines, playgrounds, satellite dishes, and lots and lots of trash.

In the evening, we went over to the historic and luxurious American Colony Hotel to have drinks in their gorgeous garden bar. The atmosphere was wonderful and the conversation lively. Now, I should mention here that as we spent time in Jerusalem with Tom and Karen, we have been struck that every time we turned a corner it seemed as if they ran into some long lost friend or another. They seem to know everybody. So anyway, we were all sitting around chatting, when Tom came around the corner with Tony Blair. Yes, the Tony Blair. Evidently they know each other because since he left office, Blair has been working on negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, and Tom has always done aid work through World Vision. So Tony hung around and we talked about our tour and the issues we expected to take up, while his stern and beefy minders made sure we didn't pull anything shifty. He wished us well and went his way, and we walked down the street to the Askidinya Restaurant, where we had gone two years ago. I had delicious fish with shrimp and capers, and Marty had grilled salmon with a side of cannelloni.

So it was a nice and interesting day, with one unfortunate incident: When we got back to the guesthouse, Marty realized that he had lost one of his hearing aids. The other really doesn't work well alone. We called the restaurant, and I traced our path through the cathedral grounds, but to no avail. We did not go back through the streets, as it was late, and we figured we wouldn't find it anyway. It's frustrating on the second day of the trip, as the biggest help is for group conversations. But he's making the best of things, and we are having a good time.

St. George's Cathedral

St. George's Cathedral


On the Ramparts

On the Ramparts


Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Posted by mlld3536 17:00 Archived in Israel

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