A Travellerspoint blog

A Day of Rest

Our pilgrimage has been wonderful but truly exhausting. Today has included meetings with significant people, but we had much needed free time as well.

In the morning we met with the imam of the Al Aqsa Mosque. This was a very big deal. The Al Aqsa Mosque is one of the most important mosques in the world.

In the afternoon we met with representatives of the Parents' Circle, an organization of Israelis and Palestinians who have lost family members to the conflict and who have banded together to promote reconciliation and peace. I had seen the Israeli man, Rami Elhanan in the film Encounter Point, where I learned about the work of the organization. It was certainly interesting to meet with him and his Palestinian counterpart, Mazen Faraj. I had been expecting this discussion to be intense and difficult, given the extremely painful experiences the men shared. But as with Yad Vashem, I had so much familiarity with the stories of these people that it was actually a bit anti-climactic. And that is really scary when one thinks about it.

In between, I went shopping with friends. Then we stopped at the Olive Garden restaurant. No... this was a real garden with olive trees, and it was lovely. Then back to the guest house to pack.

In the evening, we had a farewell-to-Jerusalem dinner at the American Colony Hotel. Now, this was a Very Big Deal, as you can imagine if you check out the hotel's link. We had a cocktail hour on the terrace overlooking the beautiful gardens twinkling with lights. Then we went in and had a dinner of pea soup, salmon, and vegetables with apple tart for dessert. The food was good, but frankly, I preferred the less fancy local fare. However, the setting was really fabulous, and I appreciated the inclusion of this event in the tour.

The spice shop

The spice shop

Friends at Olive Garden

Friends at Olive Garden

Posted by mlld3536 17:00 Archived in Israel

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