Today started in Jerusalem at the Dan Panorama Hotel with a traditional Israeli breakfast. Each breakfast has been amazing with lots of choices including fresh fruit, fruit juices, eggs and plenty of pastries that I can’t eat. I have been eating waaaaay too much food with all these meals we are eating out. When we travel as a family we are going to have to eat at the apartments we are staying in or I will return weighing 300 lbs.
Our first stop this morning was Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. It was a very large museum with so many movies to watch and so much detail about the events starting in 1933 with Hitler’s beginning through the concentration camps. The museum was very overwhelming in its message and Ilise and I spent close to 3 hours going through it. The rest of the group was waiting at least an hour for us as they hurried through the museum much faster than us.
From Yad Vashem we headed to the Israel Museum and had lunch. Since we spent so much time at Yad Vashem we didn’t have any time to visit the Israel Museum because it closes at 2 PM on Friday’s for Shabbat. We will visit it instead on Sunday morning. From lunch we headed to the open market in Jerusalem, which was pretty amazing. Fruit, vegetables, hallavah, flowers, breads and so much more. There were people everywhere and Drew and I took tons of pictures. The stores were extremely interesting as were the people pushing and shoving in all directions. There were lots of tastings at each store and we purchased some sweets for the kids.
From the market we headed to the Western Wall, better known in the US as the Wailing Wall. We were told that they don’t call it the Wailing Wall in Israel for a few reasons. The wall was pretty simple but it was pretty powerful with lots of people praying. We were able to take some pictures since we arrived just before Shabbat. Once Shabbat starts you are not supposed to take any pictures. There were notes in the wall in many places as is customary for people to leave notes for loved ones or things they wish for the future. We returned from the West Wall and will headed to dinner. We have a free day tomorrow in Jerusalem so we will probably let the kids sleep as long as they would like and then walk back to the Western Wall area and see some more of Jerusalem. It is a very old city with tons of history in it. This city is the birth of religion and attracts so many visitors year after year.
Our tour guide, Ron, also lives in Jerusalem so he is extremely familiar with everything here. Ron has been very engaged and animated in his descriptions of everything and truly loves Israel. It has been very educational and he continues to provide us with lots of great history and connection to our ancestors.