Currently sitting outside in a cafe overlooking the Old City walls. The weather here is sunny with a light breeze and I’d say the temperature reminds me of Spring back home as the sun is very warm on you. I’m finding it a bit strange that everyone here is wearing big coats though as I’ve only got a thin jumper on over my shirt!
The cafe I’m sitting in is in Alrov Mamilla Avenue, a shopping arcade that connects the Old City with modern Jerusalem.
This morning I left my hotel a little before 9 and walked to the Jaffa gate to the Old City. The walk was quite nice, taking me past the Jewish Cemetary and was mostly downhill (I forsee me taking a taxi back to hotel…)
I walked through the gate and was immediately dragged into a shop. After 20 minutes of haggling and one incident where he clearly tried to add an extra 0 onto the end of the price and charge me by card I left with a few trinkets. I then walked down a market street that led to the soukh 3and just took in the sights, sounds and smells.
Deciding to head to the Western Wall and on the way bumped into an elderely man called Abraham who said he was going there too and he’d show me the way. I accepted and he showed me a lot of sites on he way I would have missed otherwise.
As I should have guessed, when we got to the wall Abraham tried to charge me 300 shekels for the tour! I polietly declined, gave him a few shekels for is trouble and left him before going to see the wall up close. I then took some photos of the Temple Mount in the distance and exited the dung gate to take a few pics of the Mount of Olives.
I then circled around the edge of the city walls before heading to a souvenier shop (a legit one this time in the shopping arcade) and then sitting down here to write this while eating a pastry and sipping a sprite!
Things I’ve learnt this morning:
1. Only use cards in legit shops
2. The soukh reminds me of Assassins Creed
3. If someone offers to show you he way, politely decline or they’ll try and charge you for a tour!
After leaving the cafe earlier I headed back to the Old City and explored some of the atmospheric back streets. After nearly an hours wandering I headed back to the Jaffa gate to head off to my hotel, where I dropped off my souveniers before heading out to explore some of modern Jerusalem.
The streets by my hotel were familiar but different. Imagine Oxford street Swansea but most shops selling kippahs (including ones displaying childrens characters, super heroes, sports teams and even South Park and Family Guy characters). This is the main feeling I’m getting about modern Jerusalem – it’s very familir but very different.
So then I stopped at a deli where I had a baguette with turkey and houmas, before heading back here to rest my aching body and feet!