JerusalemNovember 23, 2019 in Palestine ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C
At 5:30 we got up and into the private taxi waiting to get us to the border crossing between Jordan and Israel. It was supposed to open at 6:30 but the border guard left us - and others - waiting until 7. Then the chaos began with border officers not showing up, therefore necessary stations were not occupied. Also nobody told us what's happening. Some other 25 foreigners were waiting with us and we were pretty tense because the Israeli side of the border was supposed to close on 10:30 because of Sabbath. With a lot of delay we arrived at the Isreal border after passing several checkpoints. There the process was organised and went pretty smoothly. We expected it to be more complicated as we've travelled previously into muslim countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. We hopped on a shared minibus to Jerusalem and half an hour later we had the first glimpse of the majestic old city.
First we went to the hostel called Chain Gate Hostel directly in the old city center. Getting there proved to be a bit complicated because it was right next to the Temple Mount where two important mosques are located. The entry to there is just possible in specific days and timeframes. We were stopped by heavily armed police (or military) officers before we found the right way to get there.
After a short break we headed into the city. First straight through the markets to the visitor center to get an overview. Afterwards we walked the ramparts (old city walls) for a view over the city and to get a feeling of distances and landmarks to navigate. Then we walked the Via Dolorosa (where Jesus carried the cross) with all stations until the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. A place I've never heard of before where Jesus is supposed to have been laid down and ascended to heaven. It was quite a circus in there, packed with people from the several Catholic congregations. Different parts are dedicated to these congregations and there have been - even violent - clashes between them in the past. It wasn't a place of calmth or reflection. We decided to come back the other day at 5:30 for a Roman Catholic Mass.
After this we needed something to eat and some rest. So we stopped at the first shop we saw and bought a Falafel pita with cheese. It turned out to be super expensive at 30 NIS each, which is around 12.50€ :(
We went to the hostel, had some coffee, tea and rest. Later we got out again and explored the surroundings of the old city. Spoiler: There's not too much to see. But it's more lively than the ghost town of the old city at nights.Read more