Day 33: German Colony, Generations Center, Concert

Trip Start May 14, 2008
Trip End Jun 17, 2008

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

As we walk into breakfast, someone asks us for our room number. The manager walks up and says that we have been here for a week and they should recognize us by now.  The wait staff at breakfast are friendly. We appreciate how good they are at their jobs, because if we make a second trip to the plentiful and varied buffet, we can be assured when we return to our table that all the dishes will have been taken away and there will be plenty of room for our new plates. They are always there with refills of tea and coffee.  And they are patient as Harvey tries to learn a new word.  I like the way the light comes into the breakfast room in the morning. I like that they have one of those manual fruit juicers so you can squeeze fresh orange juice or grapefruit juice.   And I like their pastries or cake that we take up to the room for a late evening snack.  We have grown more comfortable at the Mount Zion Hotel.

Over breakfast, the big question for the day is "What to do on our last day in Jerusalem and Israel?"   We are both quiet.  We are all toured out.  We are looking forward to our Eyal Golan concert tonight.    There is packing to be done.  We walk over to the hotel concierge and arrange for a taxi at 2 AM this coming morning to take us to the airport; our flight leaves at 6 AM.    We are not planning on going to sleep, but rather do that in the taxi and on the plane.  The concierge makes us feel like we have gotten a really good rate with one of the cabs he often uses.  We decide not to decide what we are going to do today.  We will just let the day evolve.

We hang in the room.  I alternate between reading and packing.  Images are coming into my mind of collages that I may do with all our photographs when we get back home.  Harvey plays the guitar.

We stroll (we're not doing anything fast today) over to the German Colony in search of a light lunch.  We walk the whole commercial area with small shops and restaurants.  We note a small falafel stand has a line of people and we figure it is worth a try.  So we cross the street to Falafel Dorm and share two pitas of delicious falafel and shwarma.  There are photos in case you want to get a visual of this place. It was perfect for us today.

We go back to the room for a bit more packing and rest.  As the afternoon is moving on, we decide to do some people watching at the Western Wall and take in the Generations Center. We pull out the Holy Pass and they accept it, so it turned out that the Holy Pass, after all, was a good deal for us.  The Generations Center is a glass exhibit telling the story of the Jewish people.  There are some ancient excavations that can also be seen.  The most compelling part for Harvey is the hologram of a story teller.  He is telling the story of the soldier who was among the first to go to the Western Wall in the war.  It built up the drama of the history of the temple, the restricted access for Jews, and the nineteen years without access.

We return to our room and watch our last sunset over the Old City of Jerusalem. Before we know it, we are ready to take a taxi over to the theatre, Binyanei Hauma, for the Eyal Golan concert.  It promises to be really good, with seventeen musicians and three dancers.    We feel like pros, having been to a previous concert in this venue.  On the cab ride over Harvey asks the cab driver how much he would charge to drive us to the airport at 2:00.  His price is about 70 NIS less than the hotel clerks "deal" so we make the arrangements and call the hotel to cancel their cab.  We feel we even know the routine regarding "reserved" seating. Lights are flashing different colors.  Eyal's music has a driving beat with fast rhythms.  Some young men jump up and down so many times that their pants start to fall down!  The place is bursting with excitement! The people on both sides of us are Israeli.  They are very nice about translating for us since the entire concert is in Hebrew.

This is our last night in Israel and we are aware of this moment in time, how it has taken us thirty-seven years to return here, and there have been so many memorable experiences, new perceptions and insights.  It has been a journey.  We join the audience, stand up, wave our arms in the air and clap.   Everyone in the audience seems to know the words and go crazy with just a few notes of a song.  Without knowing the words, we feel the music, we feel the rhythms vibrating through our bodies, the energy of the audience...we both dance, sway, and hum along.  All the positive energy that we felt in Israel is in this room tonight, coursing through us.  Israel has revealed a little more of itself each day.   We are so thankful to have had these experiences and this time in Israel!  It has truly gotten under our skin and our hearts are full.  We are so thankful to all the people we met along the way who shared their stories with us.  We are so thankful to have each other for this past thirty-seven years!  The whole trip is more than we had ever dreamed of.  It is so good to be alive!    

When we get back to our room, we sit on our terrace one last time. We have diet coke and potato chips, feel the night breeze and cool air.  We stare at the Old City wall and the lights of Jerusalem.

Is the trip over?  Technically, I guess it will be when we walk through the threshold of our home. Maybe that's why I feel more comfortable with the word "journey", because it implies no beginning or end, but an on-going process.  As much as I love the planning, and the actual experience, I also love the absorption and integration that occurs afterward.  It's the reviewing of the photos, the editing of the daily journals, and the mulling, pondering and lessons learned that you can only get with time and the power of hindsight. So stay tuned for the Afterward!

There are two photo galleries for today!
1.  Click here for photos taken today
Music note:  Since we spent our last evening in Israel at an Eyal Golan concert it seemed appropriate to include two of his songs for this final days' photos.  These songs are dedicated to Margie.
2.  Click here for "Who We Are" - these are some of the people and faces from our trip

We hope you enjoy the music to this gallery!
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