Several years ago we had organized a land trip with my father and his wife, Chris, to Israel. Once the rest of the family found out about the trip they asked to come along. So we went from four to seven. My mother, sister and her husband Kirk all couldn’t resist a vacation with my Dad, Christine, Jess and I. I can’t say I blame them. Anyway, Israel is place I have never been but have always wanted to visit. Since we were not going to sail further east then Crete on Cadence, the land trip via airplane was a perfect ending to our Mediterranean experience.
The first portion of our trip was to Jerusalem where we had an Air BnB close to the old city, big enough for all of us, and in a strict orthodox apartment. The family renting us their flat had taped closed all the drawers for utensils and items in the house that we gentiles were not allowed to use. So we had paper plates and cups and plastic utensils. The house was kind of dirty and somewhat out of the way of the major attractions, well, really about a 20 minute walk so not awful. Oh, and no hot water for showers, except the first 2 people of which I was never one of. We had a personal tour guide for two days while we stayed in Jerusalem and we spent the first day walking the city and seeing the sites while our fantastic guide Mier painted us a picture of what life was like and a plethora of historical facts.
The most interesting take away for me was the mix of super religious that are all in the small city. Predominantly Jewish, however many Muslims and some Christians. There were people from all over the world visiting while it was passover for the Jews and Easter for the Christians.
There were many pilgrimages by different communities that were taking place. Meir on our second day took us to Masada, the city on the hill where many Jews committed suicide as opposed to being taken as slaves by the Romans. We also went for a float in the dead sea, where you really do float like a cork. My take away of Jerusalem, besides being an interesting city for its historical importance, and being the central place of origin of God for the Jews (Rock of Abraham) or the Messiah for the Muslims and Christians, is that these people cannot help but to wear religion on their sleeve.
The ultra orthodox with their huge families that are multiplying at an alarming rate are even a bit much for the regular orthodox or reform jews to deal with but the city is full of them. The Muslims keep to themselves in their own community and seem to segregate themselves and the segregation is welcome by the jews. After all, this is thier land, they are the chosen people.
The Christians have pretty much left the place to find a better place to live. My two cents, and its worth just that or less, is that the city is dirty and over run with religious zealots. Im glad I visited and have no plans to return. One other take away, there is not much respect for Mother earth, people are very haphazard with their trash. Sorry Jerusalem but that was this guys point of view.
We also visited Haifa which was beautiful and very cosmopolitan. Then we went to our next Air Bnb which was in Tiberias, overlooking the sea of Galilee. We had an enormous patio high up in our building overlooking the Sea, or really in land lake as there is no ocean access, and the Golan heights in the background. We spent a day touring with another guide many sites, from where Jesus gave the sermon on the mount, to where he performed the miracle of providing fish for 3000 of his closest follower friends, all the way to the border of Syria where we could here shelling in the background. And also a winery where we had some really amazing Kosher wine, of which I didn’t think existed. I know there is Kosher wine, I just didn’t think any of it was good. After one week, Jess and I were returning so we could make our way out of the med and in the direction of Galicia Spain. It was really nice to spend time with my family and take in the sites. And the big bonus was we didn’t have to worry about weather, bouncy anchorages, or doing any of the planning. That was a real treat.