This evening we skipped dinner at the hotel to go with a small group of adventuresome friends back to the fun Jewish Market to give them a taste of life outside the tour bus, which is all they’ve known. I think everyone loved it.
Before branching out for food, we showed them through the Machaneh Yehudah Market with all the vendors and fresh fruits and vegs and nuts and pastries and fun things. We snacked on things as we went through the market. Our friends wanted to break out and see some real life and I think they had a great time.
Being away from the bus made me feel so grateful to have had Claire and Graham around to help us find our way the last couple of weeks. They’ve been great and we’ve seen and done more than most would ever see here. It’s quite cumbersome in a bus. You get in, drive, get out, take pics, get back in, drive more, repeat. You never really FEEL a place. The food is always in huge places that cater to multiple busses and tourists, often cafeteria style. We’ve been served the same foods over and over all week long.
Ending our time in Israel in this market was exactly what we needed–free and unencumbered, surrounded by the sights and smells and flavors of this land.
Here’s a bit from Wikipedia:
Mahane Yehuda Market” often referred to as “The Shuk” is a marketplace, originally open-air, but now partially covered. Popular with locals and tourists alike, the market’s more than 250 vendors sell fresh fruits and vegetables; baked goods; fish, meat and cheeses; nuts, seeds, and spices; wines and liquors; clothing and shoes; and housewares, textiles, and Judaica.
In and around the market are falafel, shawarma, kibbeh, kebab, shashlik, kanafeh, baklava, halva, zalabiya and Jerusalem mixed grill stands, juice bars, cafes, and restaurants. The color and bustle of the marketplace is accentuated by vendors who call out their prices to passersby. On Thursdays and Fridays, the marketplace is filled with shoppers stocking up for Shabbat, until the Friday afternoon sounding of the bugle that signifies the market will close for the Sabbath. In recent years, “the shuk” has emerged as another Jerusalemic nightlife center, with restaurants, bars and live music.
We 4 and Bonnie Cordon found a fun restaurant that had great reviews and we had a great meal, something a little bit different. They served baked bread with different fillings–brisket, vegetarian, chicken, cheek of beef. Something new. We also had a big bowl of delicious chunky tomato soup to share.
It was a perfect ending to my birthday and our last day here.
Tonight when all the rest of our group went to bed, we stayed in the lobby most of the night, waiting until 3:00 a.m. for our friend, Mohammed, to come and drive us to Tel Aviv for our 7:30 a.m. flight to London, then home.
What an incredible trip we’ve had! What a perfect distraction it’s been for me from that cancer word that almost stopped bouncing around in my head. I’m grateful my doctors encouraged us to take this trip before we begin the next. That will be my next adventure.