Today, the kids and I headed out on another new adventure. I had made reservations to go on a tour of the Western Wall Tunnels! So, we headed out and made our way to the Old City all on our own. Good gravy...I don't know why doing new things is SOOOOOOOOOOO hard for me, but it is. When I know I"ve planned something that I've never done before, I make myself sick worrying about it. In the past, I would either chicken out at the last minute or BEG Devin to come until he finally gave in and took off work! Ha!! Well, I've had to overcome that quite a bit in the past month. While Devin was gone, I had to find lots of things for us to do to keep us occupied. I even drove to Petra all by myself with all the kids! Whew! Here, Devin doesn't have the luxury of time off. And if I don't give myself a little kick to the backside, we won't see anything! So, I'm learning to do new and scary things...and finding that they're really not so scary! And if they are, well, they're still not worth the ulcers I give myself.
Anyway, it was definitely an adventure finding everything, but it was SO much easier than I had anticipated!! We made it to a shopping mall near Jaffa Gate and just parked inside the mall parking. The elevator led us up to Mamilla Ave which is just a long sort of strip mall that's lined with sculptures that are for sale. We REALLY enjoyed looking at all the sculptures!
Then off we went to find the Western Wall! As we were traveling to the city, I had a long discussion with the kids about sacred, special, reverent places. We talked about what we do (and DON'T do) at these types of places. How we walk quietly and be respectful of people--how we don't play tag or scream. They really did a great job. They didn't do any crazy running through the Western Wall area. Andrew only did his high-pitched-Roman-Candle-esque cry once, and that was because he slipped on some slippery stone ramps that we were walking down to get to the entrance. Totally understandable. On the tour, the kids were really good, too. I was a little nervous since I knew it was a guided tour, which meant we were going to be in the dreaded Large Group. It was 95% adults (there were 2 other kids that looked about Josh's age). The guide did a great job telling all the history in a very interesting story format, and since it was all mostly review for the kids, they listened very well. I was impressed with how well they did, especially Peter. He only got angry and asked to go home once. That's pretty good for him!
The tour was great--very informative and interesting. The feeling of being right next to that famous wall was awesome! And I now know the reason why the Western Wall is so special! I always thought it was just because it was the actual wall of the ancient temple, but it's not. It's the outer wall of the temple complex. But the reason why it's so special is because of the temple itself. No one was allowed in the most sacred part of the temple (the holy of holies) where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, except the high priest. However, everyone knew how important and sacred that was. The temple was built East to West, and the Ark/Holy of Holies was situated at the back (the western-most side) of the temple. So those who wished to be close to that area, pray toward that special and sacred spot, would stand at the Western Wall to be closest to it! That makes complete sense to me now. And you can truly feel the reverence and peace of the spirit of that place. I could tell the kids did, too, by the way they comported themselves. A great experience.