It’s good to go away and good to come home. My trip with my son, daughter, and granddaughter was informative and fascinating. I have stayed away from traveling to Israel because of the unrest there. But after so many years of unrest, religious pilgrimages that have never stopped, and my own curiosity, I was ready to go. My underlying suppositions were wrong. I felt safe there. It felt familiar, like going to Miami or some other American city. A lot of the American chains were there. Shopping malls, busy outdoor markets, and restaurants. All teeming with humanity. We drove everywhere in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Went to the Western Wall on the Sabbath and I was gobsmacked by the sheer number of people praying. Just another typical Friday night in the Holy land. Jews from all walks of religious intensity. Orthodox, Hasidic wearing the furry hats and long coats, and modern Jews like us. Incredible scene. And in the cities, the call to prayer of the Mosques, women wearing Muslim identifying clothing that is allowed in Israel but banned, for example, in France.
We traveled to Eilat and drove through miles of desert the likes I’ve never seen. Barren bleak country with mountains so tall they seemed surreal. Desolate behemoth mountains in never-ending clusters all the way to the final destination. We swam in the dead sea, the red sea, and the Mediterranean. We liked to say, we swam in the red, the dead, and the Med. And then we crossed into Jordan and went to Petra, a wonder of the world. Visitors are greeted there by Jordanians selling camel rides, donkey rides, artifacts. A bustling place of entrepreneurship feeding on tourism. Just like anywhere else in the world.
We left Israel and flew to Greece where we visited the Acropolis in Athens and then rented a car and drove north to the town of Ioannina, the birthplace of my ancestors. We met friends there and made new friends joining a tour for the day. After Ioannina, we drove to Delphi for some wisdom from the Oracle. Round and around the mountain roads we went with my son becoming and expert driver for this kind of terrain. Dizzying but splendid, nevertheless.
A wonderful trip. A trip to be revered and remembered. And an enormous thank you to my son for making it happen.