Israel 2012 Day 1 – Travel and More Travel!

Just a short update on our travels.  Sixteen of us left Grace Bible College at 8:30, Tom White ably drove the van to O’Hare.  We met our other seven fellow-travelers at JFK.  We have a family from Seattle, three from Minnesota, a couple from Ohio and two from Long Island. They are quite a well-traveled group, listening to them talk has convinced me they have been everywhere.  Except Israel and Jordan, of course!

We have arrived in Jerusalem after a very long day of travel.  Fights and connections all went smoothly and there was near-perfect weather the whole way.  Both of my flights were packed, but there were few problems.  Everyone made it through security in record time, which made for some longer waits at the gate.  But that is better that running through the airport at the last minute.

Jimmy met us at the airport and drove us to the Jerusalem Dan Hotel, on Mount Scopus.  My room is comfortable and has a nice view toward the Old City, but it is not near enough to Ben Yehuda or the Old City to walk there after dinner. Fortunately the new light rail system is now running, so several of us walked a short distance to the Ammunition Hill stop with the plan of riding down to Saint George street.  There was some general confusion when the train arrived, and I somehow ended up in the train and everyone else was left outside when the doors closed.  I figured I would see them in ten minutes when the next bus arrived, so I meandered around Ben Yehuda Street, had a coffee, listened to a pretty nice version of an Avett Brothers song from a young student then headed back to the hotel.  I guess you will have to come back next time to find out if everyone returned to the hotel.

The View Out My Hotel Window

Dinner was very good, the food at the Jerusalem Dan hotel was very enjoyable and a wide variety of Mediterranean cuisine (hummus and 4000 salads) along with a well-appreciated dessert table.  No coffee with dinner, though! It was really the first time we have all been able to sit down and really meet each other as a group. Some are still learning names, but after tomorrow that will no be a problem.

Tomorrow we start early at the Mount of Olives, walking down to Gethsamene, then to the Old City and Western Wall.