2.12.2016

TRAVELS: ISRAEL | PART ONE

FINALLY. It's taken me an age, but today is the day.

For those of you wondering what I'm babbling about, let me catch you up to speed: last October-November, I traveled to Israel with my chums Jess and her family to spend two weeks in Jerusalem. Which I'm still trying to wrap my head around: I was in Jerusalem, Israel for two weeks. Goodness. We took two day trips out of the city and spent one night in Tel Aviv, but other than that we stayed right outside the Old City walls. Every day, we crawled all over that city, walking the streets and visiting historical sites and trying the most amazing Israeli food and shopping at outdoor markets and just attempting to take it all in.    

Israel was unexpected in every way, not because it exceeded my expectations, but because I had no clue what to expect (okay, Payton, why don't we at least try to make some sense). What I found was a beguiling, rich country, full of life and history and delightful people and the best food ever (can we please talk about shawarma?). But the people really were my favourite. You could stop in the street or markets and talk to anyone (a breath of fresh air for this outgoing American), and everyone was so friendly and welcoming. Not to mention drop-dead gorgeous. WOW. We felt like toads. Jerusalem was such a lively, active place, always busy and always something new to see. It was a first to be immersed in a culture completely unlike everything I had ever known; observing, learning, and figuring things out every day. We even taught ourselves some Hebrew words. Some of our favourite times were in the markets, shopping, bartering, mingling, and interacting with all the people. At the end of the day, we were exhausted and our feet ached like crazy, but we were always ready to go again the next morning. There was so much to see and do and eat and experience. We saw something different every day and never ran out. Two weeks was nowhere near long enough. 

In this first batch of photos, I'm sharing our first few days in Jerusalem, including the street markets of the Old City (particularly in the Christian and Jewish quarters), the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Gethsemane Gardens, the Mount of Olives, the Tomb of the Prophets (Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi), the Western Wall, and Ben Yehuda Market (you will be seeing more photos of this in later posts because we went there a lot). Several people have asked me if I ever cried or became emotional at seeing the places Jesus lived and taught. Honestly, no. But that's not to say the significance of Jerusalem didn't overwhelm me at times. Jesus lived there, my Jesus, the Jesus I call Lord. I was in His home! Walking where He walked and taught and lived. It was unbelievable. The place that felt the most "real" was the Mount of Olives; realizing its Biblical prominence, gazing at the stunning view of the Old City, seeing the thousands of Jewish graves built up the side, knowing Jesus had stood upon it many times and one day He will again. Yeah, I got chills.

part two coming soon...


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11 comments:

  1. This is so neat! I'm going to Israel next month and it's wonderful to get a sneak peek. :) I do have a question, though! What did you wear while you were there? Did it have to be mostly long skirts? (I don't have very many of those!!) Or were pants okay?

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    1. Oh, I am so excited for you! I'm sure you will love it. :) Well, we weren't exactly sure what the proper etiquette was, so we came prepared. I wore pants most days, but made sure I was wearing a long skirt the days we would visit holy sites. Us girls always carried a light scarf in our bags, in case a certain site required the women to wear head coverings (such was the case at the Western Wall). The only time I wore shorts was when we went to places outside of Jerusalem, like the Dead Sea, Galilee, and Tel Aviv. Also, I had brought several tank tops, but we never saw anyone wearing sleeveless clothing (even though it was warm), so I usually wore a light cardigan or jacket, or wore shirts that at least covered my elbows. Like I said, I'm not sure what the proper "rules" were, but I leaned toward the safe side. I didn't want to risk it! :) enjoy your trip!!

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  2. I went to Israel last March as part of a school trip. It is the most beautiful, lively country, and these photos made me long to go back. So many gorgeous photos, thank you so much for sharing!

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  3. These pictures are beautiful Petie! I'm so looking forward to seeing more :)

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  4. JERUSALEM OMG WOOOW...
    These pictures are just gorgeous, Petie! Israel's never been really high on my 'to-see' list, but the absolute wonder you've captured in these images has raised it way up :)

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    1. Haha good! It should be high on any travel list because it is SO worth seeing. :D

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing these!! Goodness, they're all beautiful. :) I can't wait for part 2!

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  6. Oh wow....it's so....BREATHTAKING. I can just FEEL it and imagine myself in there, trooping around with all of you. It must have been so fun! (An experience of a life time, as most people would call it.) I would LOVE to go travelling! I just wish there was a possible way of my doing that...but ah well, with God all things are possible! :D
    ~Miss Meg March

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  7. Wow! I LOVE all of these pictures! You're making me really want to visit Israel now. :) Can't wait to see more!

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  8. Aaah Israel! How exciting! I bet you had a marvelous time!

    Grace
    please sparrow

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  9. Hey Petie!
    I don't have an internet account, so instead of commenting on your YouTube (Mind the Gap) channel, I thought here was the next best thing...hope you don't mind. :)
    First of all, this is referring to a previous episode of yours - I'm actually studying the book of Jonah, too! My Sunday School class is. :) (Well, my age group that is the one studying it, is comprised of four people, including teachers, at the maximum. My brother and cousin-in-law are the teachers. :D) My cousin-in-law took it similar to the way you were explaining - how God may call us to do something in which case we'd have to drop everything and follow him, but we very easily could react like Jonah did. Whereas my brother focused more on God's compassion. It's interesting to see how you can take lots of different perspectives on just one story. :)
    Second, I'm a neat freak too! I'm EXACTLY like how you described, haha! ("Here I am getting my work done.... *gasp* There's a sock on the floor. MY WORK DAY IS RUINED." Yup! That's me!) And to-do lists! They're my best friends when it comes to organization. :D (I have about 3 pinned to my bed, and 3 other lists besides, next to it.)
    I don't have any social media link. *sad face* I just 'pop up' in the comments a lot. ;)
    Thanks for being such an awesome person, Petie, by the way. :D You MAKE my Mondays. (And going along with your whole collaborators thing, I'm one of the people who generally dislike Mondays. Blame it on the thought of a whole new school week... :P) I'm going through a sticky situation with my church etc, and I've really been challenged in what I TRULY believe. I've had people help me, but it's been so refreshing to hear you and Jess talk about those things...I don't believe I've found one thing that I disagree with you on. :D Also, you're living proof that blogging friends CAN meet up in real life...hehe. :)
    Have a nice day...(I heard this quote recently: "May your coffee be hot and your eye liner be even." Hehe.)
    ~Miss Meg March

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Your comments are the sugar to my iced tea. Which means they make my day.