Trip to Jerusalem

Trip to Jerusalem

#Jerusalem #Israel is a place packed with #culture and nice things to do. I tried local #foodanddrink and visited sites I will never forget. The journey was overall spiritual, #aspirational and fantastic! There are many things worth seeing and doing and my Tellink Traveler SIM card made everything much easier and #affordable.

In the good old days when I used to arrive in Israel’s Lod Airport, we would deplane onto waiting buses and the first thing which would hit me was a strong scent of orange blossoms. Today, as a result of urbanization of the area, that wonderful aroma is gone. In any case, we now exit the plane into a sleeve and into a modern airport. I also miss the old falafel stands outside, replaced by commercial coffee shops. BTW, the water coming down from the skylight is part of a fountain and not a leaky fixture!

Israel's Lod Airport

Before I landed I switched the SIMs in my phones so that I could use my Tellink Traveller SIM, and while I was waiting too long for my luggage I ordered a taxi from DAKA 99 to go to Jerusalem. This is a great concept, taxis going from major cities to the airport and to return home with a fare and are willing to earn less on the return journey. This can often save up to 50% of the regular fare.

As long as I can remember, the main road up to Jerusalem has been undergoing road works; widening, erecting lighting, new junctions, constructing crash barriers etc. Now they are making tunnels and bridges to iron out the sharp inclines and bends which characterized this highway.

One famous bend at Motza crossed a stream and used to be a favourite spot for local Arab marauders to hold up the pilgrims to the Holy City. The willows by the stream were used in the Temple 2,000 years ago, and its waters are still used for making unleavened breads by hand for Passover. Today there is an ancient synagogue there with a museum which is not really worth a visit.

  a favourite spot for local Arab marauders to hold up the pilgrims to the Holy City  
from  $21

New Jerusalem Tours

 Jerusalem, Israel
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Sightseeing in Jerusalem

In order to cope with the growth of Jerusalem a light railway system was and is still being built. At the entrance to Jerusalem an impressive suspension bridge has been built over the main roads.

The suspension bridge

Staying in Jerusalem can be quite expensive. All of the Israeli hotels give a large breakfast and you can usually fill up some napkins with sandwiches for later. If you have a car, you may have to pay extra for parking, although if you are actually staying in Jerusalem walking and taxis are the preferred alternative.

I have stayed in “Little House in Rechavia” a cute bed and breakfast. This fairly quiet part of town is very central and you can walk from there to most of the museums, religious sites and markets. The Mahane Yehuda market is slowly changing from a classic food market to a hot place for restaurants and bars. You can still enjoy the colours and aromas of the fruits and spices. Try a falafel at Ahim Levi at the southern end of the open market. On a good day they sell over 1,000 portions!

  enjoy the colours and aromas of the fruits and spices.  
from  $160

Addar Hotel

 10 St. George's Street, Jerusalem, Israel
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When Jerusalem’s old railway station was opened in 1892 the travelling time from Jaffa to Jerusalem was reduced from two days to four hours. In 1998 the trains stopped coming into the centre of town and a few years ago the railyards were converted into a cute shopping area with markets, pubs and restaurants. You can still see the old metal rails running through most of the area.

Using my Tellink SIM, I booked a table at the Jerusalem Courtyard restaurant, one of the hot gourmet places, a bit pricy. Filet mignon and goose liver en croute is definitely worth trying, as is the Gnocchi – with goose liver, smoked goose breast, sweetbreads and root vegetable cream.

Strolling in Jerusalem

Jerusalem is one of those great cities for walking around and the weather for most of the year is not too hot. There are regular walking tours around Jerusalem and the local English newspaper, the Jerusalem Post lists them in the Friday edition. You can also book an official guide at the Ministry of Tourism site. Many organisations also field tours such as the Christian Biblewalks or the Jewish the Famous Jerusalem Free Tour. Or you can buy Footloose in Jerusalem: Eight Guided Walking Tours and do the walks yourself.

The Old City is a must and if you can schedule in the Western Wall on a Friday evening at sundown when the Sabbath starts you will experience a spiritual site you’ll never forget. On the south side of the Western Wall is the archaeological park at the Davidson Center where you can get a view of 6,000 years of the City. I was last there with my late father who gave me my love of museums, often to the chagrin of my kids.

  you will experience a spiritual site you’ll never forget.  
The archaeological park

The Israel Museum and its adjacent Bible Lands Museum are world class and you must take the guided tours to increase your appreciation of these places. The current Hadrian exhibition at the Israel Museum, running until June 25th 2016 has borrowed resources from the Louvre, the British Museum and even the local Franciscan museum.

If you want to taste a bit of history, go to the King David hotel. Note the different styles of architecture in the main rooms before sitting on the main balcony for a drink or snack with one of the most magnificent views of the Old City. There are a few other luxury hotels nearby, but none can claim to have been blown up in 1946 or hosted so many heads of state and Prime Ministers.

One morning, my wife and I felt energetic and went for an early walk in the Sakharov Park and up past the Knesset, Israel’s boisterous parliament, and to the Wohl Rose Garden. Sit there and watch the rising sun, enjoy the view and remember that you are sitting in a City which King David 3,000 years ago called the most beautiful in the world.

  you are sitting in a City which King David 3,000 years ago called the most beautiful in the world.  

Wohl Rose Garden

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