The Husband and I went on a little vacation to Jerusalem, but I forgot to take pictures. I remembered to bring the camera in my knitting bag, but then didn’t bring the knitting bag when we were anyplace I wanted to photograph. So it goes.
It started out with my middle daughter mentioning a craft fair that she wanted to go to. At first I thought I wouldn’t be able to go – driving to J’lem is such a pain. But I met up with my brother and a few friends which meant driving in very early, and then staying near the old city for shabbot, so it didn’t matter that the craft fair was much less than I’d hoped.
And yet I mustn’t say it wasn’t worth it. I got some knitting done, met a couple of people… I shouldn’t – mustn’t – complain because there was nothing there that was new to me; or that the crafters were for the most part not the sort of people I would choose to spend a couple of hours with. I am a dour New Englander and they were young artistic types after all. I met one woman with whom I made a sort of connection, a weaver who uses a loom that looks (to my inexperienced eye) just like the one my daughter uses. I was able to make that connection for my daughter, who wants to get a few supplies for her loom. And I met someone who is a fibre enthusiast from the U.S., New York I think, with whom I had a pleasant conversation.
TH and my brother came, and we left much earlier than I had initially thought. TH and I had taken a hotel room in J’lem near the Old City, in case we stayed very late, so we went back to the hotel and then had a very good time wandering around the streets of Jerusalem, seeing what there was to see, going to the Shuk, &tc.
We stayed two days, since to be so close and to Not go to the Kotel was not to be thought of. It was a bit of a perilous journey by wheelchair from the hotel. Not so bad following the light rail to the Jaffa Gate, but once in the Old City the streets AND what sidewalks there are are largely cobbled. The stones are slippery and with irregularities that catch at the wheelchair wheels, and even where there is asphalt, the streets are steep. Very steep.
TH was able to get me there twice. Once on Friday afternoon, and once on Shabbot. Friday afternoon was a scouting trip; we didn’t intent to go all the way to the wall, but once we were in the Old City is just sort of happened. 🙂 We passed through the Armenian quarter without buying anything (which was something of an achievement). We descended to the Jewish quarter. We passed through security easily. I’m thinking my blonde-haired husband didn’t look like much of a threat, pushing me in my wheelchair. The descent to the Kotel in the woman’s section was a little bit exciting, but several people offered help. There was an open spot I could wheel the chair right up to the wall. Once there I stood up and put my head against the wall, no words. I had no words. A woman gave me a prayer on paper, but I just stood there for a minute. Then I sat back in my w/chair and had a small talk with – myself? the creator? whoever might be listening. I call him/her/it/they HaShem. It doesn’t matter the words. I felt moved. I had a brief, one-sided conversation. Then I made my way – backwards – away from the wall.
One of the women there offered to help me get up the slope to the plaza, for which I am extremely grateful, and I met up with TH. We wheeled up to the exit where there was – Barukh HaShem! – a train waiting. It was 10 shekel for me to ride to the Jaffa gate. My wheelchair, which doesn’t fold, couldn’t go into the train, so TH walked it up. We met near the gate, and I finally succumbed and bought a small rug which I needed for my bedroom. The sun was coming down and we headed back to spend my first shabbot in Jerusalem.
I need to stop typing and get ready to go out – still on vacation. So I will finish the story of our trip when we come back, hopefully. I just need to say that vacationing, at least for those of us who use wheelchairs and our partners, is not for the faint of heart.