The day after our arrival in Israel mirrored so many others with its jet lag, casual disorientation, and awkward shift from American to Israeli coffee . Even though this is my 17th (or so) time making the long haul from the US to Israel, it's still a transition that I have yet to master.
Luckily for us it was also the nicest day so far, with sun and warm-ish temperatures, unlike the winter rains that have been on and off ever since.
Post-services Saturday morning I did a quick change and set off for a run. Not having a firm route in mind I made my way through Yemin Moshe and the old railway station and decided to head down the bike path that runs along the old train tracks and down into the hils on the southern outskirts of the city.
I definitely wasn't alone on that fine Shabbat morning, as the German Colony was full of walkers and families, but as I left Emek Refaim the crowd began to thin as the path continued its gentle slope down to the south and west. A few miles in, I was starting to wake up a little bit and picked up the pace, turning up my music as I did so. Before I knew it the red roofs of San Simon had turned into an Arab neighborhood just east of Malha, and there was a fascinating moment when Ellie Goulding's "Love Me Like You Do" was playing from my phone and the muezzin from the mosque came over the loudspeaker calling the residents to prayer. You can imagine the amazing contradiction between the song from "Fifty Shades Of Gray" and the adhan.
I honestly didn't know where the path would go next, but I followed it down past an industrial area, past the basketball arena and Teddy Stadium, and to the new Jerusalem rail terminal at Malha. I was four miles in, and not having any idea when I'd be able to cross the main tracks I scampered up a rocky slope, past a grazing horse, and meandered back to the city center through roughly the same path I came down on, but on the streets parallel to the path.
It was a most pleasant of gentle runs, and coming back to a Shabbat lunch of the Israeli hostel variety was a thoroughly enjoyable way to replenish some calories before heading out to lead a walking tour of Mishkenot She'ananim later in the day.
And yet again, despite it all, I still didn't sleep that night. Just like last year.