We will walk across Jerusalem’s Old City. We need to know
what places of our highlights list will be closed tomorrow because of
Yom Kippur, in order to visit them today.
The “must-do” list for these two days is:
0- Lutheran Ghesthouse
1- Jaffa Gate, tower of David in citadel
2- Holy Sepulchre
3- Via Dolorosa
4- Damascus Gate
5- Notredamme (Holy Shroud exhibition)
6- Temple Mount
7- Zion Mount
8- Mount of olives
We guess Christian spots will be opened Yom Kippur day and we
will be able of visiting them, so this day we would visit Mount of
Olives (because we can use a taxi), from which we would do the way down
to Lions’ Gate by walking. Willing Wall and asking about when we’ll be
able to go inside Temple Mount would be for this day too as well as
This place is a religion mess: from bed I’ve heard
Muslim prayer call from a nearby minaret and, some minutes later, bells
chiming from a church.
The hotel is fantastic, though. We have the whole
Jerusalem’s Old City at hand, as you can see in this video:
We haven’t completely recovered from yesterday’s
tiredness, so we put a foot in the street not sooner than 10:00h after
breakfast. Streets are looking a lot different than last night, when
all the people were Jewish wearing their black jackets and trousers
with white shirts and, some of them, wearing a black hat too. This
morning the people are tourist and city is far less crowded than
yesterday. Bazaar to Jaffa Gate is showing all its colors now. Just
before the Gate itself we can find Tourism Office where we get
information and maps. Then we exchange money at a lot better price than
the airport in an office at same street and go to our first visit of
the day: The citadel..
Well, it’s closed and it will be closed tomorrow too: visit
is over. We go out from Old City through Jaffa Gate and follow the wall
to North. I must confess my idea about Jerusalem’s Old City distances
was wrong and it is quite smaller than I thought, so everything is
closer to us.
We go into Notre Damme for taking a look to their
permanent exhibition about Shroud of Turin. A few people must come to
here because we are completely alone. When I say “completely” I’m
meaning every letter: no doorman, guards… absolutely no one!. I switch
on the lights for a better look of the objects and I even feel free for
taking off the sheet covering Christ bronze sculpture based on the Holy
Shroud relief. An exact lithography from the holy cloth presides the
room and, along it, related objects replicas as the crown of thorns,
whips and… by the nails of Christ!... there were… well, the nails.
We leave the place for going back to the Old City through
famous Damascus Gate. Police and military men are guarding a fence
blocking access to the gate and in a discussion with some people. At
the moment they see we’re tourist, we’re allowed to pass through with
This gate goes into Muslim quarter and the first you can find
after it is an Arab market. Every single inch of both street sides is
occupied by small stores. We take a fresh grenadine sorbet and buy some
trinkets. The charm of this place comes basically from the environment:
stone streets and walls with arches here and there. After a long walk,
in time more than distance, we meet security control for willing wall.
I didn’t even know it was here!
Bags go through scanner and us through metal
detector. It doesn’t beep with my pocket full of coins, it beeps to my
father, though, but agent doesn’t mind about it and let pass all of us
in. These military men are armed and around the whole city. They can be
intimidating but are not looking that stern expression in their face as
you could expect, they’re radiating kindness and friendliness instead.
Willing wall is just in front of us: a wide part
is only for men and a quite narrower part is only for women. I go to my
side and take a kippah from a big container and put it on my head as
must be done here. Then I present my respects to the wall and come
back. My mother does the same at her side.
We exit from the Wall zone by the opposite side we entered
and go up some stairs looking for good views to Willing Wall and Dome
of the Rock, which we find. We’re in Jewish quarter now.
After some walk on these quiet and polite streets
we end the closest we can be from Dome of the Rock. Military guards
keep saying they’re sorry, but we’re not allowed to pass through that
big and ancient door, we must try on Monday. I answer Monday we’re not
going to be in the city and one of them ask me the camera and go
inside, some seconds later he appears and give the camera back to me
with some beautiful pictures of the Dome. That’s what I meant when
talking about their kindness.
Picture at left shows the closest you can see Dome
Rock without going into Temple Mount, right picture is one of the
military man ones.
Now is lunch time. We choose an Armenian restaurant which name is,
showing off their laziness, “Armenian restaurant”. The first guy in
there gets enthusiastic about Barcelona when knowing we’re from there
and show a lot of pictures from his iPhone to us: Cathedral, World
Trade Center, Ramblas… typical places from our city from just two weeks
ago. He tells us is going to come back this month to watch a football
match. Can you see? It seems this Palestinian from Jerusalem is going
to Nou Camp stadium more often than me! The other guy, who takes notes
about what we order and fill our table up with dishes full of different
stuff, loves Catalonia too, but is a Real Madrid supporter, poor man.
We’ve ordered two plates of grilled chicken for my parents and one
kebab I-don’t-know-what for me and a mix of both things for Eva. With
this come some shared dishes with a cucumber salad, hummus, a sort of
eggplant hummus too, one with chopped tomato, one with purple cabbage,
another one with chukrut, 6 pita bread pieces and maybe I’m missing
something. Including drinks, we pay 220 shekels (44€).
After the banquet we feel a bit sleepy. We go to
the hotel for a nap in order to get the sleep we missed back.
And our journey is barely over here, just a small walk to take some
pizza portions for dinner (13 shekels per portion) close to Jaffa Gate,
which looks the opposite than its last night version.