Today (I’m talking about Saturday, April 2) started with a downer. We got off the bus at one of our first stops, and an aggressive panhandler robbed one of our tour members. It was a disconcerting moment. Even though it’s only money and the lady who was involved is okay, you always like to believe that it won’t happen to your group.
Anyhow, on to more pleasant news. Today we were never far from our hotel, following the Palm Sunday route. We began at the chapel of the ascension, on to Dominus Flavit, down the slopes of the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane. From there we crossed the Kidron valley, entered the old city at the Lion’s gate. We stopped to see the Pool of Bethesda, then walked past several stations of the cross on our way out of the city. We had lunch, and then moved on to the church of St. Peter in Gallicantu, the traditional sight of Peter’s denial of Christ.
We ended the touring day at the garden tomb, a possible site for the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. We even stopped to view the place where Peter denied the Lord. All in all it was a day of singing, reflecting and sharing together.
After supper, many of us went to the YMCA to see a performance of Israeli cultural dances and songs. It was a highly entertaining evening. I said in the title that we started the day with a robbery and ended with a riot, but not the kind you are thinking of. The riot was the laughter that lasted long after the performance was over and we made our way to our hotel. Truly some of the funniest things you will ever see happen on a stage in Israel, when the audience is invited to dance onstage with the folk dancers after the performance is over. What a riot! Some from our group managed to get on the stage, and believe me when I say they could use some classes in traditional folk dances. Watching fiddler on the roof might be a good place to start! I left my camera behind but if I hadn’t, I believe I could have insurance against any possible blackmail in the future!
Time to run…early wakeup call tomorrow (6:30am) and a day of touring which starts at 7:30!
PS – I have been offline for a day due to the cost of internet access. $20US for 24 consecutive hours ($100 for 7 days). No freebie with your hotel here!! More robbery!