Day 19 - Last day in Israel

Trip Start Sep 30, 2012
Trip End Jan 09, 2013

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Flag of Israel  , Jerusalem District,
Friday, October 19, 2012

To start our last day in Israel we had a lovely swim at the hotel and enjoyed a relaxed breakfast. We then started planning our travels to Jordan which annoyingly took quite some time and then we took a walk to the Israel Museum. It really is an impressive museum and should definitely be on the itinerary when visiting Jerusalem. Our first stop was an amazing model of Jerusalem in the days when the temple still stood. It has been constructed based on bits and pieces that they have been excavated over the years and keeps getting updated as they unearth more. Very interesting to see how the city looked in those days. We then headed to the display of the Dead Sea scrolls. The actual building in which the scrolls are housed has been built in the shape of the clay pots that the scrolls were found in. Beautifully done. The story surrounding the discovery, excavation and preservation of the scrolls during Israel's turbulent history was fascinating. They were actually stumbled upon by a shepherd who went into the cave to look for a lost goat. He threw a stone into the cave and a part of the wall gave way to reveal the pots containing some of the scrolls. Amazing.
Next we visited the gallery containing information on the Jewish way of life. It contained ceremonial outfits and explained many of the Jewish traditions. It even contained rooms created as replicas of synagogues around the world. We thoroughly enjoyed learning about Jewish traditions and how they have been practiced though time and around the world.
Galleries leading off this section included fine art and modern art from a huge variety of well know artists. We particularly enjoyed a Rembrant of St Peter imprisoned and various Picassos.
The gallery is enormous and after three hours of wandering around we had only scratched the surface but we had a great time and felt it was the perfect spot to visit after three days of doing tours.
We then headed back to our hotel feeling pretty exhausted. We finalised our return to Jordan game plan and then relaxed for the afternoon. Being the Sabbath we noticed that there were far fewer cars on the road but didn't quite realize how everything shuts down until we ventured out to try and find a restaurant for supper. The train had stopped running and families were walking on the tracks to meet friends for Sabbath. We realized our idea of heading into the old city wasn't going to happen so tried our local cheap food spot but not a single shop or restaurant was open. It felt like a bit of a ghost town. Absolutely amazing to see. We eventually resorted to eating a slice of pecan nut pie and sharing a beer in the hotel lobby for dinner. So funny. It is wonderful to know that everyone is celebrating with their families and honouring a sacred and special tradition. We wished we'd been invited to share Sabbath with a Jewish family but will have to look forward to doing it with our beloved Jewish friends back home. Ahhhhhh.
So it's time to pack up and hit the road again tomorrow. We are catching a taxi to the border at 8 and then are hoping to catch a bus to Jordan's beach town along the Red Sea, Aqaba. Exciting.
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