The first two days here in Jerusalem were mostly filled with orientation meetings, getting settled, and classes, so on Friday we finally had a chance to get out an explore the old city. It was absolutely incredible. The group I was with hit some of the greatest spots in Jerusalem right of the bat, and it was the perfect way to start my adventure here!
The first site we went to was the garden tomb and Golgatha/Skull Rock
The tomb was really crowded so we did not have time to go inside of the tomb that day, but there will be plenty of opportunities to visit it again. The garden was so beautiful, and the spirit was so strong. It was amazing to actually see for myself what I have seen pictures of my entire life.
Gethsemane was absolutely incredible. I had to pinch myself multiple times to make sure I was really there. We were able to go in a more private locked off area because we were "mormons" and they trust us. On a complete side note, it really is crazy how everyone can tell we are Mormon here. Street merchants yell out, "hey good deal for you Mormon" out at us and drivers passing us yell out "hello Mormon" as they are driving by. We decided it must be our amazingly fashionable fanny packs and water bottles must give us away.
Back to Gethsemane, it was so beautiful and peaceful. I was able to wander around on my own for awhile and ponder the significance of what happened there. It really is just about the most sacred spot on the entire earth, and I cannot wait to go back. We actually ran into a general authority while we were there, which was really cool! (He said he recognized we were LDS from our smiles, i like that idea much better than the fanny packs)
After Gethsemane, we stopped and played with a bunch of Palestinian kids in a field pretty close to the center. We played soccer with them for about an hour and a few of the boys somehow convinced me to ride their horse bareback! The horse probably had rabies, and riding without a saddle was definitely a different experience, but it was a blast. The kids were sooo cute and we had such a fun time. They think you are the coolest person ever and automatically love you. On our way home, our group was talking about how these kids and like the ones the Savior loved so much and we can definitely see why. They have virtually nothing, but are still so happy and full of love.