April 3, 2022 3:00 am in Jerusalem, 8:00 pm Charlotte, NC
And so it is, after the two and a half year wait and six canceled flights previously, I have made it back to the Land. Israel. God’s country. The Promised Land of the Jews.
But once I stepped off the second train in Jerusalem, onto Jaffa Street on the west side of the capitol city of Israel, I felt like I had never left from the last time in October 2019. Though with that 23rd adventure it had been a group of four men, this 24th time my good friend David Peterman was with me.
This journey (“ahava” is love in Hebrew) began in Charlotte, NC on April 2, 2022, and 23 hours later we arrived at our lodging for the next 10 nights in Jerusalem, the Abraham Hostel, just off Jaffa Street and HaDavidka Square. We checked in with good measure, but the American Airlines crew in Charlotte somehow missed getting our checked luggage on our flights, and to my knowledge, they are now on their way to JFK airport in New York City. Hopefully. Maybe we will get them in two or three days. The Lord knows.
Knowing that international travel is not getting any easier, both David and I had packed some clothes in our carry-ons, so we can hold on a few days. In the meantime, I want to bless my friend Uri and his Ben Yehuda shop by buying some t-shirts. With the purchase of a tube of toothpaste and a nice brush somewhere here in the mid-city, I will be just fine. One learns to make do with what you have.
A few changes have occurred over the last two years at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv where we touched down after the 10 hours straight shot from New York, but it actually seemed smoother than the last time before all the lockdowns. We did have to get the Covid test before permission was granted to depart the airport, but the Muslim girl seemed capable to get us through the procedure even though the paperwork I handed her didn’t quite bring the smile of satisfaction that I had the right one. Seems like the paper didn’t include the bar code. How was I to know?
David and I had never ridden the high-speed rail from terminal to end-of-the-line under the Jerusalem streets, but the 22-minute journey went well. It must really be deep underground, for after four long and high escalators we reached the top out to Jaffa Street near the Central Bus Station. But if we had had our checked-in luggage it would have been a bit of a struggle with three pieces hauled with us. (When I bring Laurie in September for our 45th marriage anniversary we will select another mode of transportation.)
Once I had time to do some further research on the high-speed train and settled in our room, I discovered the reason for the four escalators one must take to get to the upper ground. The Jerusalem-Yitzhak Navon railway is buried so deep because the trains have to negotiate an incline of 3%, making that climb from the lower topography near the coast to the hills of Jerusalem. It ends up being 260 feet (80 meters) below ground under the city.
So, the Lord will cause all things to work together for the good!
I will keep this first report short, as it is 3:00 am Monday morning here now and I probably should get some sleep. Our 12×12 room with a standard size bed (no two single beds as I thought we’d have!) works for us. It does have our own shower at least. Keeping things at a minimal expense-wise.
I am looking forward to sharing my “Walk With Me” videos in the days we are here, along with plenty of photos and written reports. Hope you can keep up with me!
Ahava and shalom from Jerusalem,
Love For His People
P.S. We managed to find supper at a small convenience store a block from the hostel. A hot dog sandwich – 3 in a large bun. Must have been chicken. No pork.