Late, lazy wake-up — finally. 10 am stroll back to the Old City to explore the Citadel and David’s Tower.
Pomegranate trees and carob bushes. Did you know that carob seeds are so light and consistent that they were used to weigh very small items. Some say the word carob was the root for the word caret. Really needed to know that. Right?
Vendor selling, among other things, Jerusalem bagels…those long oval pastries covered with sesame seeds. Certainly not a Lower East Side, or Absolute bagel, but light, airy, flavorful…good in its own right.
The view from the Tower highlights everything surrounding the Old City. The museum is wildly interesting, condensing over 3,000 years of history of these hills, including an amazing factoid of how David pooled and collected water from a spring, drilling far underground through solid rock for about 1,400 feet to make a conduit for the water to secretly and securely pool below. Evidence shows that the tunnel was started at both ends and by some miracle or genius, wandered and met exactly at the middle. No, there were no holes drilled up through the rock, and no apparent way air or light could be forced into the tunnels during construction???
With the afternoon free we had time to re-visit the Israel Museum. What an incredible place. One of the best designed and extensive museums we’ve ever seen. Amazing indoor and outdoor spaces. From the ancient to the very modern. An enviable collection. This is a monumental sculpture by American artist Magdalena Abramovich who has pieces at the Grounds for Sculpture near us in NJ.
And then, the piece de resistance; the permanent installation by James Turrell, the master of light sculpture. This is the view looking up through the top from your seat on a marble bench. A square of sky, changing in color, intensity and content as time rolls by. You can sit for hours and stare.
Then a cab back for a farewell dinner for half our group not going with us to Eilat and Petra. Unfortunately, we read in today’s Israeli papers about security issues along the border with Egypt in the Sinai, not far from where we will be traveling tomorrow. Take a look at your maps to see Eilat’s location. Since the bus bombing of Korean tourists recently, Israel has been increasing border security in that area. But, because of the tenuous “good” relations currently with Egypt, Israel is theoretically not to do any pre-emptive striking into what might be a potential threat on the Egyptian side. Many Israelis are not happy about this vulnerability. I guess we’re not either. But chances for trouble are slim, so on we go tomorrow.