Here I am, off to another country! Today I find myself in Jerusalem, the Holy City, surrounded by ancient ruins, holy pilgrimage sites, and a community of classmates and faculty ready to read the city like a textbook. But before I got here, I had a little adventure of my own.
I landed in Madrid, but missed my connection to Tel Aviv because my flight was delayed. What was left was a 10 hour layover, so I charged my phone and rested for a bit before heading down to see the city! After navigating the metro, I found myself in the Puerta del Sol, a huge plaza packed with people in the center of Madrid.
I then walked around for a bit, strolling past roller skaters and musicians, old men playing a Spanish version of corn-hole and seas of people moving through the narrow streets. Eventually, I made my way to a gigantic park, walked around and rested for a bit before getting some delicious tapas y vino for dinner.
After a second red eye, I found myself in Israel and soon met up with my group! We began our trip with a lecture and then quickly went to the streets, exploring the ruins of the old city. We saw a number of famous (yet mostly symbolic) sites commemorating various parts of Christ’s life. We saw a family tomb, what is left of Golgotha, the Holy Sepulchre, Gallicantum, and the Cenacle of the Last Supper. Sadly, the original structures where Christ lived are mostly gone, since Jerusalem was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt throughout its nearly 3000 year history. Nonetheless, the ruins help bring the stories to life, and to walk even near some of the places Christ did is incredible (and yes, we are pretty sure Christ would have walked up these stairs – only these because they are the only left from his Jerusalem).
Although I’ve only been out of the USA for 2 days, I have already had an amazing time and learned a ton! From Madrid to Jerusalem, it’s been quite the 72 hours since departing from home, and I can only imagine what this new adventure has in store for me.