Jerusalem and the Tower of David
In the last blog, I spoke about my day in Eilat. The next stop of our conference was Jerusalem. Once at the airport we were ushered to our respective coaches for the drive into the city. While in the coaches, we were told of the history of Jerusalem by our very knowledgeable guide Nadav. He told us about how Jerusalem (Yerushalayim or Yerushalem) also signifies the Old and New Jerusalem, which is yet to come. We then listened to song “Jerusalem of Gold” (Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, in Hebrew ירושלים של זהב) for the rest of our drive. For 2 nights, we were at the King Solomon Hotel and I had a good view of the old city from my room. And I was thankful to again be visiting this city that is the home of the Tower of David, the Israel Museum, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Western Wall, Via Dolorosa and so much more.
We then headed to one of the first Arab neighbourhoods, Abu Ghosh, for lunch at Naura Restaurant. The fresh greens, the hummus, the falafel and not to forget… the meat, simply mouth watering. We returned to the hotel a bit to rest.
Later that evening, we headed to The Tower of David for the amazing sound and light show in the Citadel – The Night Spectacular. It was amazing! A first of its kind in the world, but we were not allowed to take any pictures inside. 🙁
We then had dinner at Mount Zion hotel, while some of the others went to a pub nearby.
The Israel Museum
The next day we headed out for some sightseeing in Jerusalem where we visited The Israel Museum and saw some miniature versions of the City of Jerusalem from different eras.
The Israel Museum also housed The Shrine of the Book which houses the Dead Sea scrolls and other manuscripts.
Opposite the white colored Shrine of the Book is a Black Basalt Wall.
The contrasting imagery represents the war between the Sons of Lights and the Sons of Darkness.
Western Wall and Via Dolorosa
After that we headed to the Western Wall, spent some time there and walked down the Via Dolorosa to Calvary. Now lined with a lot of touristy shops selling Crosses, Bible’s, Rosaries and other religious items… Didn’t get a chance to do any shopping though…
We then visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, venerated as the Hill of Calvary, the place where the Cross of Jesus once stood, and also the place where He was buried.
We headed back to the hotel as we had a grand evening planned. Since it was the last night of the trip, there was a closing event with dinner and drinks at Zedekiah’s Cave (also known as Solomon’s Quarries). Dinner It was about 200 meters below ground, and we were advised to wear comfortable walking shoes. That being said, a lot of ladies turned up wearing high heels. It was definitely a sight to see! As for me, most of the trip was spent in sneakers since that was all I could wear, due to a sprained ankle less than a month earlier…
Getting Lost in the Old City
The next day was at leisure. I had a flight to catch later that evening, and decided to do some shopping in the morning. I went to the reception at the hotel where I got a map and decided to go back to the Old City to shop.
I made my way there pretty easy. I entered through the Jaffa Gate that was closest to my hotel, browsed through a few art shops, bought a few bracelets of the Star of David, the menorah, some olive wood doves and some sheep… yeah stuffed sheep for my friend’s kids. In all that, I also did get asked by a store owner if I had a boyfriend and if I would be willing to stay in Israel and get married. That wasn’t a first though. The last time that happened was in Kenya. So I had practice 😉
Anyway, after turning down the proposal, I head toward the Western Wall, said a prayer and decided to head back. But I got a bit lost and ended up at Lions Gate, which was at the opposite end. But I did manage to find my way back, although I had to pass by and say one more Goodbye to the cute guy who wanted to marry me, and then walk back to my hotel.
Later that afternoon, we headed to the airport. I must say that the security is the tightest I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure what they saw in my bag, but after emptying my entire suitcase and rummaging around in it, the guard did help me re-pack. That was nice of her…
Relieved that that was over I head to security, and guess what, even after taking off my belt and watch, it beeped… Shoes came off next. But I still beeped. I couldn’t think what else it could be… When I realised that it might be the pin that was holding my ankle bandage together. After taking it off, I finally stopped beeping and they finally let me go…
My flight back was on ELAL. So I was glad about that, it being more safe and secure than on any other airline. All in all, I had a great experience in the City of Gold! Can’t wait to go back again to experience another part of the Holy Land, Israel.