MadTrippin

The Amazing Race Meets National Lampoon’s Vacation

Posts Tagged ‘jerusalem’

Andrew’s Day 9

Posted by madtrippin on April 16, 2008

Today we checked out of the hotel in Jerusalem at 2 am and flew over to Rome.  Based on news coming out of Gaza, we left at a good time.  Somehow, 3 of our group of 12 had been scheduled for 6pm flights, rather than 6am.  It got fixed and we were on our way.

When we arrived in Italy, our guide picked us up at the air port at drove us into Rome.  We were supposed to have the afternoon off, but wound up seeing a bunch of the big sites.  We first saw the colleseum.  I took tons of pics, but will only post a few here.

We saw a few of the old ruins that dated all the way back to 100+ AD.  There were several Arches of triumph and temples.  It was all really interesting.  In fact, several of the sites had been repurposed by churches, thus preserving them. 
  

We also saw several of the locations made famous by Mussolini.  One of those was the location that you see him making several speeches from the 2nd story balcony (center) on archival footage, including a speech announcing Italy’s entrance into WWII.  Every one of them show a massive crowd cheering him on. 

We finished the day with a trip to the famous Trevi Fountain.  That place was crazy and, apparently, one of the best places to get pick-pocketed.  When you’re there, it’s not too hard to imagine how easy it would be for thieves to do their business.  I tossed a pic of our parents at the fountain.  What do you think… Adam?

Looks like we’ll be hitting the Vatican tomorrow.

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Andrew’s Day 5

Posted by madtrippin on April 12, 2008

Today we stuck around Jerusalem.  We headed into the old part of Jerusalem (inside the walls).  It’s wild in there.  The streets are like something you’d see in an Indiana Jones movie, most places are about 10 feet wide with buildings on either side containing tiny shops with merchandise flowing out into the streets.  The people that run these shops assail the passers by with their sales pitches.  Avoiding them is a skill I believe I’ve mastered.

 

We followed the stations of the cross, which wound its way all through churches, monasteries and streets.  The final station was the supposed tomb of Jesus, which is inside a Russian Orthodox church.  We sat in line forever (probably over 1.5 hours) to see a stone that Jesus was said to have been laid upon.  The entire time we had a bunch of crazy Russians pushing us from behind and trying to cut in line.  Talk about pushy, rude and just plain uncool.

 

The Russian Orthodox church is really into worshipping icons and they kiss paintings and anything Jesus or bible related.  They’re also really into very gaudy displays in their churches.  Needless to say… this was not the highlight of the trip.

 

After all that we headed to the Church of John the Baptist.  It was very ornately decorated with hand painted tiles, paintings and statues.  The Franciscan monks that run the church didn’t want a single word spoken in the church, so our guide had to whisper when they weren’t paying attention.

 

Gabe and I ended the day walking back to the old part of the city after the group got back to the hotel (about a mile) to explore.  It’s a totally different place when you’re not there with the group.  It’s like a giant bazaar or flea market filled with people (Jews, Arabs, and every other race crede and color), housewares, clothing, produce, prepared foods, electronics, etc.  This is like the mall back in the states – maybe a little more like China Town in New York.  You can get just about anything – fake nikes and knock-off clothing were all over the place.  Gabe bought a four pieces of flat bread from one of the vendors for about 4 shekels ($0.25 each).  We ate it at dinner with humus.

 

One more mullet pic from today.  I know what you’re thinking… it’s just a pony tail.  What you can’t see is that his hair is cropped short on the sides.  All that pony tail is from the back of his head.

 

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Andrew’s Day 4

Posted by madtrippin on April 11, 2008

We had a crazy day tody.  We hit went to the church ascention (where Jesus was to have ascended to heaven.  On the way out, a arab kid handed me a olive branch and, unfortunately, I took it.  They expect to get paid.  I handed him a dollar and one of his little friends (maybe 5 or 6) wanted a dollar too.  I tried to give him a sheckel ($0.25) and he threw it back at me and followed me back to the bus asking to “give me… give me… give me.”  the whole way back to the bus.  It’s just pathetic.

Then we headed into the inner walls of Jerusalem.  We went to the Inside the inner walls of Jerusalemwestern wall / wailing wall, where people are praying.  It’s a high security area, so you have to go through a security check-point.

After that, we headed out to Bethlehem.  Our guide couldn’t come with, as Israeli citizens aren’t allowed in Palestinian areas by Israeli law.  We headed Security check-point on the way out of Bethlehemthrough the security wall picked up a new guide.  We visited the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s field.  I had no cell service in the Palestinian area, so I missed the call with my family – I was bummed.

 Here are the mullet hunting pics I promised to Maria.  The little kid in the middle had just been baptised at the Jordan river.  The guy in the middle of the other pic has a crazy mullet, but his camera strap blocked it little.  His female friend to the his left had a fe-mullet.  For this shot, Gabe offered to act as the faux photo subject, just in case he saw me taking his picture.

Mullet2Mullet 1

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Andrew’s Day 2

Posted by madtrippin on April 9, 2008

Today we went to the Sea of Galilee, which is really a large large, freshwater lake (4 miles by 22 miles or so).  We took a 30-40 minute boat ride with some site-seeing.

They have a boat they call the Jesus boat at the museum.  Jesus really had nothing to do with it, but it was dated to the time of Jesus.  I suspect adding Jesus to the name is just a marketing hook and it seemed to be working.  I was impressed with the gift shop.  They advertised their website – jesusboat.com – on everything.

I also got an opportunity to do some mullet hunting.  I bagged a couple of good ones today with Gabe’s help doing spotting and with being a decoy, but again… I couldn’t upload them.  Tomorrow we’ll be in a new  hotel and the pictures will be up. 

We also went to a couple other holy sites (who’s names escape me at the moment).  Most notably the church that contains the altar (more of the remnants of and altar) where Jesus is said to have performed the miracle of the fishes and loaves.  They had a great koi pond and crazy, original mosaics that were totally restored (pictures tomorrow night).

The coolest place, in my opinion, was Bet She’An.  It’s an old Roman/Byzantine ruins site.  Very cool stuff – columns, a theater, aquaducts, mosaics, etc. 

I’ll be glad to move move on to Jerusalem tomorrow.  This place is about 1.5 miles out of the city and the hotel goes dead in the evening with all the older people going to bed at 9:00.  I guess the new hotel rocks and is actually in more of a metro area. 

 

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