Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel

Some of Jerusalem’s neighborhoods are so quaint and colorful you feel like you are walking through a dream.

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Pink and green treasures

Found along the way

Sometimes hidden and hard to find

Other times just missed in the hurry of the day

Take a short moment

To appreciate them all

From the flowers on the windowsill

To the pink stucco wall

For if you don’t take a moment

To just look and see

You will soon find

You missed all of life’s beauty

The Shuk

Jerusalem, Israel

It’s our first time in Machane Yehudah, also called the Shuk, the most famous outdoor market in Israel. The sky is a beautiful blue. The Jerusalem streets are sunny and bright. We enter the sea of bustling feet passing locals, travelers, and an endless array of diverse faces.

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“Anavim, anavim, anavim” street vendors yell out with a deep bellowing voice. We see the grape bunches everywhere, hanging from the coverings of shops, piled high on top of each other, red ones, green ones, every type. There are fresh fruits everywhere, bright red pomegranates, and ripe figs as close as you can come to picking them off a tree. Sabras; prickly pear cactus fruit, Pitayas; a pink dragon fruit, and golden quinces.

We meander through the crowds and see rows of colorful bowls piled high with delicious smelling spices; earthy green za’atar, rich red saffron, coriander, sumac, to mention just a few. A little farther down, there are almonds, walnuts, pistachios, dates, apricots and dried fruit of every kind. We try a couple to make sure they’re the best and we point to the ones that we want as the man puts them in bags for us.

Then around the bend, there are endless types of olives and savory goat cheeses and bakeries filled with all sorts of fresh breads. We weave our way through the narrow streets and tiny alleyways walking by hundreds of vendors, savoring the sunshine and tiny samples.

The Shuk is full of sweets and treats of all sorts; Rugelach, Baklava, French tarts, Morroccon cookies, Malabi; a sweet creamy milk pudding sold in tiny cups flavored with rose water topped with crushed pistachios  and pomegranate seeds. So pretty. Although its hard to pick between them all, the shop filled with rows and rows of different flavors of Halva, is almost impossible to pass by. Halva is a delicious honey and sesame candy similar in renown to chocolate in Belgium, pastries in France, or fudge in America. We ask the seller which is his favorite and then leave with a box full of delicious pecan Halva.

We leave the Shuk with more food than it seems possible to eat. We make one last stop at a spice shop and buy some spices. As we leave we hear the shopkeeper say “you forgot something” and he gives us each a tiny dried pink rose bud.

Life is beautiful.

Jerusalem Tiles

Jerusalem, Israel

Walking thought the narrow cobblestone streets, we found a charming little ceramic shop. The small steps leading up to the shop were covered with hand painted tiles. Inside were some of the most beautiful treasures; richly painted bowls of fruit, rose covered tea sets, budding flower vases, painted songbirds…a mosaic of delicately painted tiles that looked like a garden of color.

As we continued on our way through Jerusalem, each street seemed to be a work of art, a mosaic of shops, cafes, patisseries, bistros and restaurants placed next to each other like the tiles. The doors, the shutters, everything seemed to match beautifully. Cobalt blues, royal blues, grass greens, faded pinks, each of them looking beautiful against the ancient cream stones. Jerusalem’s streets are filled with so much character . Walking through the old streets you can’t help but wonder who may have walked here before and what their stories may have been.  After all, Jerusalem is one of the most ancient, still inhabited cities of the world. There are few places with more diverse of a history. We stopped to take a picture beneath a leaning tree full of blossoms.

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Old City, Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel

The Old City. Jewish Quarter. Countless songs, prayers, dreams, and hopes are buried in its stones, engraved into its pillars, trodden on its streets. Jewish pilgrims journeyed here from around the world through the centuries, Jewish poets sang about its walls and ramparts, Jewish pioneers and warriors fought and liberated it. The holy city. Jerusalem. There is no place in the world like it. No place is even comparable. So much has happened here, so much is happening, and so much will continue to happen. It is holy. It is the eternal city.

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The alleys of the Jewish quarter are speckled with Israeli flags, beautiful against the sandy colored stone. Blue and white, the colors of the Jewish prayer shawl. The fulfillment of millions of dreams and prayers.

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“The wall was before us. I trembled-there it was as I had known it-immense, mighty in all its splendor…overcome I bowed my head in silence.”  General Uzi Narkiss, Head of Central Command during the Six Day War.

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