As a recent public official, I couldn't help but think this is a stark reminder that the challenges of building roads in a new city like Toronto pale in comparison with places like Jerusalem, or Rome, or London, or many other millennia-old city. So Canada, let's stop making excuses, and get on with building (or rebuilding) our basic infrastructure!!
Sorry for the rant: back to our main storyline.
When Ursula and I began planning this trip a year ago, one of the original plans was to spend one month in 6 different places. That way, we'd be able to rent apartments, buy groceries, and pretend we were actually living in the place. At that time, Jerusalem was one of the six. In some ways, I wish we'd done that. It would have meant skipping many other destinations, but it would have allowed a deeper immersion into places that are really important and culturally relevant to us.
As you all know, at the end of the day, we decided to visit more places. We were supposed to spend at least a week in each, but working around flight schedules and other things led us to the plan we now have - one that ended up including too many 2-4 night stops. In hindsight, we probably should have forced ourselves to eliminate a few places in order to keep a liveable pace (but I don't imagine too many of you are feeling sorry for us).
Anyway, we're here for 10 nights. It's not a month, but I hope it's long enough to get a feel for this place. If there's anywhere I've ever been that deserves a more contemplative pace, it's Jerusalem. The layers of Jewish, Christian and Muslim history here are almost incomprehensible. Add to that the mishmash culture of Jewish immigrants from around the world, and you see how complex this place is, even in day-to-day living.
I'm not sure if I could stand the intensity of living here long-term, but I think that lots of people - especially those of deep faith - should come here for a month. For the price of a 10 day bus tour of "the sights", people could rent an apartment for a month, slowly absorb all this place has to offer, and have a far more meaningful and enjoyable experience.