Day 6 started nice and easy. This was our unexpected day off from digging as Jerusalem was recognizing the Day of Mourning. We needed a day like this just to catch up. The morning started with laundry, which Faith helped with and room clean up as this was check out of the hostel day. This was also the only day we were able to take advantage of the breakfast provided by the hostel - we had heard it was good, but always had to leave before it started each morning. Oh, by the way, it was good.
Once all of our chores were completed we checked out of the hostel, but left our back packs in the hostels luggage room as we would be returning on Saturday. We kept only what we would need for a couple nights in Rome.
Our primary goal for this day was to ensure we had next weeks activities lined up to help Faith reach her goal of learning about Christ and Christianity from the Holy Land. First stop at about 11am was at the Christian center in the Old City. The representative gave us several good recommended tours. Given the flight to Rome departed at 6:35pm, we had limited time in Jerusalem before needing to head to the airport, which is about an hour away. The representative suggested we visit the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre, which translates to where Christ was crucified and the tomb where he was buried.
The Basilica was only a five minute walk from where we were, it was open and free to the public. We walked through a series of alley ways before arriving, where we found multitudes of people inside and out. I was not sure how the process worked, so Faith and I slipped through the crowd as fast as we could to get inside.
As you walk in you are immediately presented with the stone which Christ was placed after he was removed from the cross. This is where his body was "oiled" and prepared for burial in the tomb. Also see the art in the background which depicts the crucifixion, preparation of the body and presentation to the tomb.
Keep in mind that this is the exact crucifixion site and tomb. The Basilica was later built over and around the area to prevent further eroding.
These were the rocks where the cross was posted.
Perhaps the most impactful is the tomb, where I was not allowed due to wearing shorts, and no pictures are allowed to be taken inside - the pic below is from the internet.
Being here is a very powerful feeling, so many emotions. I felt so much closer to Christ, yet felt angry about the crucifixion, but blessed that he died for me. For Faith, this is the beginning of her journey. In this case, she learned Christs sacrifice for us before learning Gods promises and the rest of the Christian journey, therefore, though it was interesting for her, she needs to learn more about Gods power, grace, and forgiveness - and ultimately the resurrection.
We hope to revisit this site after completing a few more tours and doing a bit more research. For now it is getting to be about 1pm and we need to grab some lunch before heading to the airport.... Back to Taco Luis.
After another great meal - which we will certain do again, we arrived at the TLV airport with plenty of time to spare before the flight. The flight was delayed a bit and ended up arriving in Rome about 9:30 and then the hotel about 10:30. The hotel recommended a restaurant about a 6 min walk away which closes at midnight so that gave us a bit of time to enjoy a nice dinner. Our goal was to have a authentic Italian meal as the Romans do. Dinner time in Italy is from 9:30-10:30pm as the peak time. Our restaurant - the Pizzeria San Marco, was still quite vibrant when we arrived.
Faith ordered lasagna and I pasta carbonara. The lasagna was wonderful and both of the actual pastas were cooked to perfection. The carbonara was a bit salty for my taste. Red sauce for me next time. :)
The cool part of the experience was having dinner in Rome in an authentically Italian neighborhood - narrow cobblestone streets, all period buildings, plenty of people out for strolls, and perfect weather. - And seeing it through Faith's eyes for the first time.