Hello! I'm back from Israel

It has taken me a week to catch up on the time warp and sleep, and to upload the myriad photos I took -- but now I can post. Internet was sketchy in our Airbnb(s) and even if it hadn't been, we were so nonstop busy that there was no time.

What an amazing and fun time we had, Thanksgiving week. "We" includes my two daughters, two of my grandkids, and my son-in-law. We did most of our sightseeing together and met up for a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew Harry who were there for my great-nephew's bar mitzvah.

In case you didn't catch my Instagram posts, here is our celebrity chef's menu. It cause much merriment at our Thanksgiving table! My sister-in-law decided that the English translation from Hebrew was done by Google Translate.

Jerusalem: Sunday

As soon as we arrived, straight from the airport, we went to visit my nephew Ezra and his family, who have lived in Jerusalem for about 14 years. Since I have never been to Israel before, the last time I saw them was probably two years ago when they were in New York. I can't express how happy I was to visit with my much-loved family!!! And their cousins (my kids and grands) were happy to see them, too. I am sad that we live so far away from each other.

We checked into our drop-dead gorgeous Airbnb apartment, which had a view of what seemed to be the entire city. The Muslim holy site, The Dome of the Rock, is in the center rear. We could hear the prayers loud and clear several times a day from our apartment.

Our apartment was only a few blocks from the HaCarmel Market, so we hot-footed it over there as soon as we got settled. Oh, joy!

We couldn't resist these sweets!

And as much as I love halvah, I didn't give into temptation. I'm kind of sorry now.

Did you ever see such gorgeous tomatoes??

The beautiful produce just went on and on and on and was in every market we went to, in both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem: Monday

The most ancient and historic city, Jerusalem is a beautiful and fascinating place. There was so much to see and do that we could have spent the entire week there. The weather was beautiful.

Monday morning we went to the Old City, where the shuks(markets) were: Israeli, Arab, and Armenian (which was the smallest). Fascinating and a feast for the eyes -- but we didn't buy anything, although you could buy everything imaginable if you wanted to.

First, breakfast. This is a typical Israeli breakfast: eggs, cucumber & tomato salad, hummus, labneh (yogurt cheese) - and this one had avocado and a few other things. The Israeli bread is delicious, as is the nice strong coffee!

At the market there are a lot of entrances. We went in through the Damascus Gate and wandered for hours; it is easy to get lost.

The most interesting was the Arab Shuk.

I was sorely tempted to buy one of the beautiful quilts hanging in the Arab markets but didn't have room in my luggage for anything.

After lunch we went to the nearby Wailing Wall, also in the Old City. Hordes of people were there, although you can't tell from this far away. On the left you can see the golden Dome of the Rock - the famous mosque.

There is a wall that divides the women from the men because they cannot pray together according to Orthodox Jewish law. Here, you can see the women standing near the dividing wall, looking over to the mens' side.

It is traditional to write a prayer on a small piece of paper and tuck it into a space between the ancient stones. Mine kept falling out.

Here are Jessica, Emma, and Tommy - outside of the entrance to the Wall.

I think this is enough for now. I need to spend the rest of the afternoon in the studio! And I am glad not to be getting on a plane again until February.

 all text & images ©rayna gillman 2019