We took a quick drive down to the Dead Sea. Descending down into to ever more barren desert, it felt a little like going to hell. We arrived, floated, and after a brief interlude with a looney bloke that sat by us, left all salty.
We have arrived in Jerusalem! Our flight was hilarious – millions of kiddies running around and most passengers standing up, walking around, chatting. It was a lot of fun.
As soon as we got here, our friend whisked us out to the famous Western (Wailing) Wall. Last night was the night before Yom Kippur, so folks were at the Wall atoning for their sins. Old Jerusalem was packed, generally quite boisterous and festive (despite the more somber religious reasons at play). There were also quite a few sacrificial chickens on sale, but the budget didn’t quite stretch to that. The wall was very impressive, quite moving.
We walked back through the old town on stones polished over thousands of years. Amazing to think of who might have walked before me …. and given the number of times Jerusalem has been sacked and/or razed to the ground, the wide variety of ancient army footwear that has stomped its way through.
Today we popped out to a market, before Jerusalem shuts down for a day of fasting. The horns sounded this evening, and the streets went quiet.
Back in London for a couple of nights, part of which involved a quick visit to Tower Bridge on the way to a restaurant. Funny, lived in London 10 years and never walked over it before. The bridge and Tower of London seem to be a bit out of place with all the new fangled weirdy buildings going up.
Tower Bridge: “Hey Tower, what do you think of that Shard building?”
Tower of London: “Pffft! Load of bleedin’ rubbish mate. The only decent use for a shard in my book is one you poke under the fingernail of a noble. Got loads in me dungeons.”
Tower Bridge: “Err, ok.”
This week we had a glorious couple of days, where we climbed the highest mountain in South Wales – Pen Y Fan in the Brecon Beacons. At only 886m it’s not exactly Everest, but it’s surprising how fickle the mountain can be. I’ve taken Laura to see it three times … and it’s has always been shrouded in mist.
Also, it has claimed a surprising number of lives over the years, mostly because the UK special forces (SAS) train in the region. In the winter the winds on top can be enough to blow a grown man off the edge, especially in whiteout conditions.
That said, our two days we climbed (4th and 5th of Sep 2013) were glorious.
The first route we took was from below the Upper Nuadd Reservoir, up the roman road, then to the top. About 7.9 miles all in, so very light apart from the last few hundred feet.
We finished the day with a rindonculous cream tea close to the route start. I’ve never had scones as good as at this place, a little farmhouse tea shop which opens for the summer season.
The second route was from the Storey Arms. This was a quick little 4 mile jaunt we did with my sister and brother-in-law on an absolutely glorious day. With a cold front coming in from the West, the cloud layer was actually below us the whole day. Beautiful!