Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Underground Terror!

On our last full day in Jerusalem, we decided to go to Hezekiah's tunnels in the ruins of the City of David. We read in the guidebook that this ancient water system was chiseled out of solid rock around 700 B.C. to channel fresh water into the city. Today, although water still flows through the channels, it is part of a national park and open for tourists to walk through. I pictured some fairly wide, well-lit tunnels with emergency exits every 100 ft or so. (That's how it would be in the States at a national park.) What we found instead looked something like this:

You have to keep in mind that it was pitch black (the only reason you can see anything in the photo is because of the flash on my camera), and the tunnels continue for almost a mile without a single emergency exit.


Before we entered the tunnels, some of the ladies got scared and decided not to go. I, of course, was too proud to admit that I am somewhat claustrophobic, and I decided, "How bad could it really be?" This was not a wise decision. After walking in these tunnels for about 15 minutes, the traffic got stopped up in front of us, and all of the sudden, I was stacked in a tiny tunnel with about a dozen people in front of me and a dozen people behind me...no way out.

I think I almost had a panic attack. Someone said, "Don't worry...it'll only be about 45 minutes more."

This did not help. Can you imagine walking for an hour in pitch darkness in a tiny, underground rock tunnel with no emergency exit? I tried to make a joke out of my fear when I posed for this photo, but I truly was terrified.

Before we had entered the tunnels, Oren (who is 70) said to me, "Now Rachel, if I start to cry in there, just give me a big hug!" In the end, it was me who needed the hug!

Cutie Oren in water almost up to his waist.

Note to self: If you are ever in Jerusalem again, skip the claustrophobic underground tunnels!


  1. that looks really cool... and really TERRIFYING! I think it might be remotely "fun" to do if you had one of those headlamps... and a really small group of people - not masses! Glad you survived :)

  2. I am freaking out just reading about it! They should sell flashlights outside or at least warn you! They could make a bundle at a freaky tourist trap like that!

  3. They did sell these tiny little flashlights (you can see one in Oren's hand), but it didn't help all that much.

  4. I think my heart rate just increased reading this - I'm feeling short of breath and breaking into a sweat. I'm not kidding. It looks kinda cool, but terrifying too. Did your dad go?

  5. Yes, he did. (He's right behind Oren in the photo. He's SMILING somehow!)

  6. I would have peed my pants. Hopefully the waist high water would have disguised it. I freaked out in the Juayua tunnels and those were WAY shorter. I guess I am just super claustrophobic.

  7. hahah this is hilarious - i could have done it until things got stopped - then i would have freaked.

  8. Oh Rach! You can't skip Hezekiah's Tunnel. That was one of my favorite spots of the trip. I thought it was so cool!! I'm glad you made it through okay.


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