04.09.2008 33 °C
We arrived in Tel Aviv yesterday after a very uneventful flight - just the way we like it. It was different seeing so many men praying on the plane as we woke from our sleep at around 6 a.m. Toronto time. At the airport we were able to hook up with Dave - cousin, rent a car and head off to their home in Kochar Ya'ir. They have a lovely home in a beautiful neighbourhood and we had a great dinner at their place. We spent much of the evening decided what our next steps we be. We were able to book a room in a small hotel in Jerusalem and then a room at a spa in Ein Geddi. As we were falling off our feet from exhaustion, we finally got to bed around midmight. Rick was asleep instantly. No such luck for me - my usual problem of adjusting to the time change.
Today we drove to Jerusalem. What a spectacular city! What wasn't as exciting as the vistas we saw, was the lack of signage and the hours we spent lost in the city fighting the traffic. At some point we felt that we would be found years later, still trying to find the hotel. But I guess that is part of the adventure.
Driving in Jerusalem is crazy. The streets are narrow, windy, and basically unmarked. A GPS is an essential navigation tool. At around 2 in the afternoon, we stumbled across a small plaza with a fast food - fallfel - place, and a grocery store, in an ultra-orthodox area.
We had a fallafel. It was pretty good, but when the guy at the counter asked what we wanted on it, the only word I knew was "kol" everything. The french fries on it were a bit much. I also noticed that there were no females in the place, though a couple of girls were waiting outside. I think it was a males only place.
There were guards outside the store (as there is everywhere here) to help us find the hotel, but he didn't speak English. A woman gave us some brief descriptions, but basically said we couldn't get there from where we were!!!
After a lot more wrong turns we eventually found the hotel. It is in a great location in the German Quarter on a small side street called Lloyd George. We were able to take a bus into the old city and walk around to get a sense of this very historic city. We then had a great walk back to our hotel past the lovely jewellry shops on King David Street. The day ended with a great dinner of a quinoa salad made with a whole variety of nuts and seeds. The mixture is called ja`ala.