I woke up this morning to the sound of a loud ringing phone. I picked it up to hear a computer generated voice speaking in Hebrew. Dave told me that he never had our wake-up call arranged so it must have been our bus-driver. The reason our bus-driver would even care is because the hotel is situated in a very Jewish orthodox area of town and if someone drives after 9:00 (the third hour in Jewish custom) they will throw rocks at your vehicle. We were on time, so we never had any rocks thrown at us.
On my way to Church this morning I had my first view of the Dome of the Rock. My whole life I waited for this moment and this being the 5th day of my trip I was beginning to think I would never see it.
The Church Service at the B.Y.U. Jerusalem Center was probably the best service I have ever been to. Because our bus-driver insisted on leaving so early before the service started, we were left with an hour to look around the centre.
Unfortunately the main chapel was closed for renovations, but hopefully it will be open next sabbath. The view in the main chapel is hard to describe. There is a fantastic view of the old city with the Dome of the Rock in plain view. The seats of the chapel all face giant sized windows giving a panoramic view of the old city. Although I never got the chance to have service in there, I am sure the view and effect would be great.
Church went by so quickly. I would have really enjoyed going for another couple of hours at least. After church some people wanted to go back to the hotel. I was really excited to go and see the Garden Tomb. About 15 of us went together and walked from the B.Y.U. center to the old city. We were fortunate enough to be allowed into a small privately owned Garden right beside the commercial Garden of Gethsemany. It was a very nice park, but we were only there for 15 minutes, I would have enjoyed staying longer.
The next place we visited was the old city. We walked through the Lion Gate. We wanted to visit the Dome of the Rock, but the Temple Square was closed due to some threat of civil unrest.
We walked through the old city but did not buy anything today because it was the Sabbath.
Some of our group were tired and went back to the hotel, but a few of us kept walking and were able to see the grave-site of Oscar Schindler.
When we finally caught a Taxi back to the hotel, the Taxi driver did not know the way and had to ask directions. He asked a person on the street, and that person lied to him. The Taxi driver told him he was full of it, and then drove off. Our group thought that was kinda funny.
One of the turns we took trying to find our hotel lead us into a very orthodox region of town. The road was blocked off with carts that were full of garbage. The Taxi driver didn’t have enough room to turn around, so he jumped out and said, “I’ll move it myself”. I thought he was going to try and drive through this orthodox area. Mandy was in the front seat and quickly rolled up her window. But as it turned out the Taxi driver turned us around the first chance he had and no rocks were thrown at us.
Later that night we went to the Market on Ben Yahuda Street. I bought a couple of necklaces but that was pretty much it.