Monday, 11 February 2019

Jerusalem, Israel (Bnei Brit Street 5)

This morning I got off to a somewhat late start. Found myself working out some issues with my online checking for my flight tomorrow, transportation from the Amman airport to my hotel and questions about my Vodafone charges.

Once I was out of the door, I was ready to walk again to the old city. I decided that there is still more I’d like to see there and not to travel to Bethlehem.

On the way to the Old City I bought a Jerusalem Bagel, which is much larger than a bagel you’d find elsewhere and it is oval rather than round. I posted a picture of what one looks like on Instagram. I knew I wasn’t going to get much in the way of lunch, so I thought this would keep my tummy happy until when I ate later.

Once in the Old City I saw a shop that makes hand-pressed orange juice for 10 NIS (or $2.75). Boy that tasted good! Maybe I’ll have another later.

My first stop was to visit the Dome of the Rock. My first attempt was on a day it wasn’t open, the next day it was only open to Muslims, and so today is the day when I get to get in. The golden dome of the shrine is an iconic symbol of Jerusalem, though it Islamic and built over a sacred Jewish temple.

When I got up to Temple Mount I saw the shrine in the middle of a very, very large plaza. Probably big enough to hold all of the Muslims in Jerusalem. I took a video to show how big this space is. Also asked to have my picture taken while I was there. The shine is a beautiful building and the gold dome is amazing in the sunlight. I was there for about 15 minutes when everyone on the plaza was asked to leave because visiting hours were over until later in the day.

Since I didn’t get to take pictures of Gethsemane yesterday I proceeded to the Lions Gate and walked over to the Gethsemane garden. While there I also went inside the Church of All Nations next door. On the way out I was approached by a taxi driver who made a strong sell to take me to Bethlehem. This was the second driver today who approached me about going to Bethlehem. Before walking to Gethsemane, at Lions Gate I sat down and ate the rest of my bagel and drank a second glass of orange juice and was approached by a driver who almost begged me to be taken to Bethlehem. This, on top of my taxi driver the night before, with the wife in the hospital who pressed me to travel to Bethlehem.

I was able to resist the offers of a tour of Bethlehem and wanted to continue my walk around the Old City from outside the walls. I took some more pictures while I was walking. I’m sure that I’m going to get a record number of steps walked today, per the counter on my phone.

About this time I was thinking about food. I could have walked to a nearby McDonald’s but I thought going by taxi would be easier. Perhaps I’ll walk from the McDonald’s back to the flat. My taxi driver, on the way to McDonald’s, asked if I’d like to visit Bethlehem today. What? It was getting late in the afternoon and again I declined this offer.

I ended up walking back to the flat from McDonald’s. It was a 40 minute walk but I saw some new parts of Jerusalem along the way. When I got back to the flat I saw that I walked more than 15,000 steps. And I wasn’t sore or anything. I must be getting back into shape!

After a nap I posted pictures on Instagram and started to get ready for my flight to Amman, Jordan tomorrow. My driver will be here at 5:15 a.m. for my 7:35 a.m. flight. I probably won’t get too much sleep, but think I’ll be okay in the morning.

Looking forward to staying a couple of days at the Hilton Spa by the Dead Sea. I’ll be in good shape on the 14th when I travel to Petra.

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