Jerusalem, Passover Trekker’s Paradise

Jerusalem, Passover Trekker’s Paradise

Passover in Jerusalem, Israel.

Visitors arrive from around the world to celebrate

  spring and the holiday of Freedom

by eating matzah and enjoying holiday tiyulim, trips.

Birhat Kohanim at Kotel on Pesach 5777

Today, tens of thousands gathered at the Kotel,

the Western Wall, for Birkat Kohanim,

the Priestly Blessing, which is broadcast on loud speakers to the assembled

and to a world-wide audience on web cams.

The day was warm and overcast,

and there was no morning rain to interrupt the prayers.

The intermediate days of the holiday

are a popular time for Israelis to hit the road

and experience the natural beauty of Israel.

Roads have certainly been improved,

but the heavy holiday traffic

can make a short trip into a long one.

My first rule for a tiyul is to not to sit in traffic

 for extended periods of time.

Hiking train Israel Nahal Katlav

One of the Keren Kayemet, JNF, national parks

is located outside of Jerusalem, near Bet Shemesh,

with an information area next to BarBehar

Nahla Katlav trail

Off we went to explore Nahal Katlav.

This nahal, a dry waterbed,  is a tributary of the Sorek River.

Israeli hiking trail Nahal Katlav

The path begins with a jeep friendly road and good signs

explaining the various trails.

Hiking in Nahal Katlav Jerusalem HIlls

Oh, the beauty of the Judean Hills in spring!

The Israel Foreign Ministry calls Israel a “trekker’s paradise.”

View Jerusalem Hills

Looking down at the white and winding train tracks

below it is hard to disagree.

From the simple black trail, we started on to the blue trail,

Israel hiking trail in Judean mountains

which went down the mountain.

Flowers on trail Nahal Katlav

The red kalaniot are still in bloom,

and first buds of the Red Everlasting, Dam Hamakabim,

Wild flowers blooming in Judean Hills

and other colorful wild flowers lined the twisting trail.

Spring wheat in Jerusalem Hills

New wheat, bright green in color, grew near wild mustard.

Katlav is a evergreen shrub-like tree with red bark.

I did not get any photos of the katlav,

Israel nature path hiking trail

but I thought these trees along part of the path were interesting.

We were told that our tiyul, trek, would take two hours,

but it was much longer.

I never would have gone if I knew how challenging

the twisting trail down the mountain was going to be.

It was easier to admire the view and photograph

from the flat parts of the trail.

Nature trail Israel Nahal Katlav

After a while, walking and walking,

another blue trail sign assured us we were not lost.

Ah, but after going down towards the nahal,

Hiking trail Israel

except for being helicoptered out,

the only way out was to climb all the way back up to the road.

We saw hundreds of families

out for their Passover tiyul,

most of them were using the easier trails.

Thousands more families filled other park areas,

from north to south.

It is a holiday miracle more are not seriously injured.

I was especially happy to be in car on the way home

with everyone eating ice cream when it started raining.

and only had to imagine wet, slippery rocks.

I survived my Passover tiyul and

the seder plates are packed away until next year.

Every traditional seder ends with

Pesach seder plate for Happy Passover greeting

“Next Year in Jerusalem.”

Time to go see what else is happening on

the real Jerusalem streets now.

Still overcast, but rain has not started….yet.

Jerusalem Marathon: Ready, Set, Go

Jerusalem Marathon: Ready, Set, Go

The Jerusalem Marathon for 2017 was on March 17th.

One finish line has been up for days,

Jerusalem Marathon 2017 finish line

but there are at least three of these massive arches,

two over the street and another one inside Gan Sacher, Sacher Park

for the full marathon runners.

confusing signs for Jerusalem Marathon

Signs and more signs are posted,

but it is not always entirely clear which way to go.

However,

one outside Beit Hanasi, the Israel President’s house

Hebrew sign for Marathon wishing runners well

wishing runners well is very clear.

International participants have arrived.

At a press conference the day before the race

Jerusalem marathon international runners

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat was introduced to Milind Soman.

I do not follow Bollywood stars

Bollywood star in Jerusalem Israel

but now I am now a fan of Milind.

Soman spoke so emotionally about his first visit to Jerusalem.

Maybe we here take too much for granted,

and need a visitor to remind us how special these streets are.

Jerusalem marathon 2017 #irunjem

International marathon runners posed with the Mayor,

with the Old City and Tower of David in the background.

Some of them looked familiar from past marathons.

For seven years, I have tried to catch the Mayor running,

and on this warm up day I finally succeeded,

running before Jerusalem marathon

though the guy in red jacket got a much closer shot.

And while they were running,

Tower of David actors on wall

these fellows were standing on the walls at the Tower of David.

Never know who or what you will see in Jerusalem!

Jerusalem Marathon warm up

The Mayor led a group of international runners

through Mamilla Mall.

Using cell phone man does not look up

I wonder if this guy ever looked up and noticed.

The streets were filled with 30,000 runners,

and some streets were closed all Friday morning,

but you have to stop texting to see them as they whiz by.

Running in Jerusalem has come along way in seven years. 

The Jerusalem Winner Marathon 2017 was great,

best photos in next post.

 This time I got the Mayor at the starting line and finish!

If you missed being in Jerusalem, Israel,

put it on your calendar for next year,

it is truly a special experience.

March 9, 2018.

שבת שלום

 Shabbat shalom