Monday, April 30, 2018

2018 Eastern Mediterranean Trip - Day Five and Six, On To Jerusalem

Sunday was transfer day. We were moving from Jaffa to Jerusalem. We'd researched a number of means of getting there. The new high speed train which was to have opened a month before we arrived sounded very good and economical...except that the whole project has been delayed for safety concerns until 2019! (All you Albuquerqueans who are miffed by the ART fiasco, we are not the only ones!). 3A researched and found we could get a taxi van with car seats for not that much more than taking the bus, which would also avoid taxi rides on both ends to and from the bus station. It was a wise choice.

We got to the apartment before it was fully cleaned but were able to drop off our bags. We went out to lunch at a local place that was just like a classic diner back home. It had a wide variety and the food was quite good. Unfortunately I have pictures of that on my iPhone and haven't downloaded them yet.

Our new apartment, not too far from the old city, is very modern and has beds way more comfortable than the last one. Alas the kitchen accoutrements are sadly lacking. I will be doing research on my new cookbook, Recipes Only Using One Utensil. #3 and I went out to do food shopping. Alas tactical errors ensued. We went to a big market first. We were able to get a lot of things. We decided that we wanted to buy for a number of days since we would be doing sightseeing and would be tired when we got home. This bit us in the butt when it came to buying wine and after dinner drink. Unfortunately we could not find everything we wanted in the market so we had to go to a grocery store that was a bit of a ways away. Now we had all kinds of bags. We put the heaviest things in a back pack. I took that as I thought the distribution of weight via the straps would be easier than carrying the other weight by hand. This was true as the geography was such that now we had to go up a steep hill to get back to the apartment. Thus rather than it being a recuperation day for me, I was beat again. I took a long nap before we had a French picnic meal for dinner (bread, cheese and wine). I'm leaving out the whole bit of #3 and I getting trapped in the high end cheese/wine store in the market that left us feeling like rubes and denuded of much currency BUT with some great cheese.

That evening the light was good and their was a full moon so I was on our deck testing using the new monopods Wife and I bought for photographic work.

There was more adventure than I would have hoped for overnight. Wife because she has a dreadful cold chose a room where her coughing would not be disturbing anyone. I will refer you to her post on the subject which describes the horrible events in much better color than I could as she was the victim. In short the door got stuck, she could not get out of the room and it was hours before I got up, realized it and was able to get her out. Black mark on the husband ranking chart 😓

Today, Wife decided to stay in to try and get some rest and strength back from the ordeal and the cold. The rest of us headed into the Old City of Jerusalem. 3A did all our research and found there was a tram line station just blocks from the apartment. It is only four stops on the tram to get to the entrance to the Old City.

I know there are tons and tons of people back home who feel that going to a place like Israel and Jerusalem is like going into a war zone. I don't want to over generalize from a few days experience but going into the Old City today was more like going to Disneyland...tons of tourists and tours...people selling all kinds of 'Jerusalem themed stuff'...entry fees for just about any place you wanted to get into. There are main roads that are the primary paths of the tours. These are packed. But like Venice, Florence, Rome and other A-List destinations, if you got off of those paths things got much calmer.

The feeling of religion is overpowering as I guess one would expect. It's just that nowhere else we've been does it smack you in the face the way it does here with Jerusalem being the confluence of the three primary monotheistic faiths. One thing I am very happy we did is NOT book a guide or guided tour. I have gotten reports from a number of people who've had guides in Israel. We had our guide in Jaffa. We've had guides many other places. What I've observed is that guides and guided tours always have an agenda, There is some message underneath just the passing on of information. Wife and I like to make our own observations. We read. We do our homework. But we want to feel and make judgments on a place based on our own experience and not based upon the predetermined agenda of someone else.

We basically just did some initial reconnaissance mostly in the Armenian Quarter (there are four quarters - the others are the Jewish, Christian and Muslim Quarters) and wandered through the souk which is a large area of shops and markets. The souk was fascinating as there was the 'tourist souks' that were mobbed with tour groups - you could barely get through. Then you would make a turn and you would be in a 'local souk' and it was another world. Today was a much gentler day energy exertion wise. We took the tram back. There is a supermarket right at the tram stop. Why Google Maps did not show this when I searched the day before, I don't know. Both #3 and I were frustrated remembering the effort we put out.

And now

The Walls of Jerusalem dating from the time of the Crusades

Two young explorers enter the ancient city

Surely they will only be able to make it through if they are fully fortified

We enter the Jaffa Gate

Signs of religion are everywhere

Just wandering through the narrow streets of the Old City

Where daily life is just as strong as the feeling of history and religion
And despite all the masses of tours, a lonely traveler can make her way
Views of the city from the roof of the souks

And exploring the souk itself

Photo Experiments Using the Monopod


Terrorist stairways are a big problem in Jerusalem


Renee Michelle Goertzen said...

Send my sympathies to Aunt de-I - her forced confinement sounds most unpleasant.

From my experience with rentals, I think I can help write the sequel to "Recipes Only Using One Utensil," which should be "Chopping with only a Serrated Bread Knife and a Glass Cutting Board."

de-I said...

RM, we can add a chapter! We had NO cutting board. We asked for one and naturally the owner bought a glass one!