The morning started with a simple of breakfast in the dining area in the foyer of the Olympia Hotel. Helen was flying out this morning so goodbyes were said and photos exchanged with our fellow travellers. The remaining six of us in our little band of explorers had decided to get back to Jerusalem to visit the Israel Museum to see The Dead Sea Scrolls. We asked the girls at the desk which buses to catch and how to get to the bus terminal. Because it was Shabbat timetables were different and some buses weren’t running so it became more difficult that it would ordinarily have been.
After consulting maps and deciding we could manage the walk, we set off to the central bus station. The 45 minute walk was hot going. Confusion met us when we arrived as everything was very quiet, not a bus to be seen! We noticed a line of people over the road at a bus stop so we scurried over and joined the queue. But after chatting to others in front of us we decided we were in the wrong place to catch a bus to Jerusalem. We managed to hail another type of bus and were driven to the other central bus station. The driver told us which small bus to catch and we were off when another couple of travellers boarded. Hooray!
We arrived in Jerusalem and had no idea where we were even after Amanda, the main map reader, consulted her map, turning it this way and that. We managed to grab a very comfortable large taxi to take us to the museum. The driver was very happy to also take us back to Tel Aviv and so we arranged to meet him two hours later for a good price.
The museum foyer was very stylish and welcoming and especially good for us as our seniors card was recognised and a discount was applied! Bonus! We wandered through the grounds and headed straight for the Shrine of the Book, the specially built structure housing the scrolls. It is architecturally stunning and designed with lots of symbolism at heart. The atmosphere inside and out is vital to the preservation of the scrolls that are rotated every three months or so.
We wandered around the outside exhibits for a while and grabbed a coffee and pastry in a small cafe. A quick visit to the museum shop filled in the last few minutes before we met our driver for the trip back to Tel Aviv. After our return to the hotel we walked across the road to the beach. Wow!! So many people enjoying the sun and water. Beautiful people parading, exercising and paddling or sailing out on the water. We walked out onto the breakwater and watched small craft coming in after a day on the water. Loud music playing, and a jet flying overhead, and scooters whizzing past added to the vibrancy of the area.
We decided to have dinner at a beachside cafe, Gordo, where we initially enjoyed a refreshing beer and cocktail. The sunset was subdued lacking the intense reds and oranges but it was gorgeous anyway.
As we walked home people were still on the foreshore playing beach volleyball, scootering along the pathways and generally living the life in this vibrant precinct. Tomorrow we have the day to ourselves as we don’t leave for the airport till late in the afternoon.