by Beth Milliner
Our arrival in Israel was better than I had expected. Welcomed by a quiet and relaxed airport, a lovely "Shalom, Welcome to Israel" sign along with a huge mezuzah at the airport. Greeter (white haired lady with a warm smile and more energy than she knows what to do with...in a good way) waiting for us with the "Out in Israel" sign and swiftly got us to Moshe (a kind gentleman) our transport coordinator. Yofi yofi (good good)!
Drive from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, with only a little traffic. Scenery was a bit surprising. I wasn't expecting it to be so dynamic...hills, greenery, fields of crops, tons of rock/stone, beautiful white buildings in varying sizes, unexpected businesses, etc.
The hotel is very impressive. The most delightful doorman (Will) welcomed us with smiles, using our names to point us in the direction to check in. Once checked in we were finally able to shower and refresh (after 15+hours in flight and 9 hour layover) for a quick dinner.
We braved a walk outside for dinner. We were originally on the search for a recommended shawarma place, but couldn't find it. Ultimately, to the disappointment of my Honey Liza, we made our way to a Kosher Burger bar. We will find shawarma tomorrow I promised. A chilly walk back to the hotel after a quick glance of Old City Jerusalem and we are off to bed early to catch up on two nights of missed sleep.
Photo: Ted Nelson, chair of the Portland Organizing Committee for this mission introduces one of the speakers from the opening night kickoff.