Secluded Grove is... Jerusalem

Fay's love and fascination with Jerusalem was one of the things that made her 'Fay' to me. I had not met anyone with such an interest in middle-eastern culture before, let alone someone with such an interest in one city in the region.

I got to visit Jerusalem for the first time (so far) on our honeymoon. We spent three days at the Jerusalem Hotel, located just outside of Damascas gate. Even writing that phrase ('just outside of Damascas gate') now, some 6 years since we were in Jerusalem, evokes so much in me. Fay stayed at the Jerusalem hotel many years ago during one of her stays. She fell in love with the hotel. She befriended Hanan, a sister of the owner, and she arranged for us to get the best room in hotel for our stay.

The old city is a wonder, a collage of the ancient and the modern. I would have thought the juxtaposition would have not worked, but somehow it all makes sense: market stalls, tiny shops filled into the street with kitch tourist goods and wonderous finds, child guides that won't take no for an answer, soldiers, and pomegranite juice vendors. It was everything a niave North American tourist would expect. And it was wonderful.

One cannot escape religion in Jerusalem; Christandom, Islam, and Judaism are woven throughout the city. I am not a religious person, but standing in front of the wailing wall, and standing in the Church of the Holy Sepulchur, made me feel like maybe there is something grander than all of us (Fay and I were unable to visit the Dome of the Rock during our stay).