Israel Trip: Mount of Olives

Wednesday morning, we got a very slow start and didn't head out until almost 11:00am, since we had been out so late the night before for Nadiv's wedding.  We needed a morning to sleep in a little bit! The late start didn't keep us from filling EVERY second of the rest of the day though. 

Since our tour on Monday didn't include a visit to the Mount of Olives, that was first on our agenda for the day.  Grandma, Grandpa and Chuck hadn't ever been there, so it took a little bit of trial and error and navigating up some VERY narrow and steep roads to get up there.

Mount of Olives

First we stopped at a mid-way point, that after walking up the hill, we realized wasn't quite the right street--but, there was a great view of the Golden Gate from our little stopping point, so while they looked at the map to figure out where we should go, I zoomed in close!

Golden Gate

Tradition says that this is the gate where the Messiah will enter Jerusalem and the thousands of people buried here will be the first to be resurrected upon his arrival.

After that very steep walk - that wasn't quite right - we readjusted and found the *right* path to the Mount of Olives overlook.

Found it! And there was a dressed-up camel waiting for us. :)

Mount of Olives

And here it is...the view we had been most anticipating for our trip to Israel.  Standing at the top of the Mount of Olives, looking down across the Jewish cemetery, next to the Garden of Gethsemane, and into the old city of Jerusalem.

Mount of Olives

I loved how you could see the turns and bends of the city walls from this corner.

Mount of Olives

Mount of Olives

We spent a long time admiring the view and contemplating the spot where we stood, that we have read about so many times.  Being able to put a visual with the bible stories, to see the distance between the "mount" and the city, and imagine what the hills and valleys around us might have looked like 2,000 years ago and more.

The Garden of Gethsemane was closed for the day already by the time we arrived, but we could peek across and imagine walking through it.

Grandma and Grandpa stayed at the top of the hill while Ben, Chuck and I trekked down the street to see what we could find.

Mainly -- several closed churches.  I think they close from noon to 2pm most days, so we had just missed being able to visit most of the places on this road. 

In some ways, I think that was good.  We weren't that interested in seeing more churches, and it meant that it wasn't crowded with tour busses and people.

Instead, we could appreciate a quiet moment while we took in the details of the Jewish Cemetery and looked out over the hill and into Jerusalem.

Mount of Olives - Cemetery

Mount of Olives Cemetery

Plus...we got a LOT of exercise in!  That was one MAJOR hill to go down, especially when we turned around and had to head back UP!

Looking back on our trip, the Mount of Olives view was by far my favorite spot and moments of our trip. I'm so glad we made the extra effort to see it up-close!

When we finished our trek back up the hill (huffing & puffing), we all drove back down into the Old City to visit the City of David archaeological park -- another of my favorites...


Israel Trip Wrap-Up:

  1. Israel Trip: Getting Ready to Go
  2. Israel Trip: Layover in Chicago
  3. Israel Trip: Traveling Across the World
  4. Israel Trip: Jerusalem - The Old City
  5. Israel Trip: Bethlehem & West Bank
  6. Israel Trip: Yad Vashem & Ben Yehuda Street
  7. Israel Trip: An Israeli Wedding
  8. Israel Trip: Mount of Olives
  9. Israel Trip: City of David
  10. Israel Trip: Sea of Galillee
  11. Israel Trip: Kibbutz, Gaza & Shabbat
  12. Israel Trip: Dead Sea & Ein Gedi
  13. Israel Trip: The Food

2 comments so far:

Sjwarren said:

Is there any significants to the rocks sitting on top of the Jewish tombs in the cemetary?

Andrea said:

I believe it's a Jewish tradition and the rocks are left there kind of like you would leave flowers on a gravestone - to show someone was there. Here are several suggested and more detailed reasons:

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