Results tagged “Jerusalem” from Eurasia 2012

Have I ever mentioned that I should become an alcoholic? Seriously, I'm so much more relaxed about *stuff* including the parents :)

Celebrating my wedding anniversary - without the sweetie :(<br>Photo by Mum
Celebrating my wedding anniversary - without the sweetie :(
Photo by Mum

Today was our "off" day, a day entirely to ourselves.

Except because of the traffic yesterday what they did is reschedule our visit to the Garden Tomb til today at 9am. So at 8:15 we all met and trundled up the hill, almost getting lost but finding it in the end and getting there right on time.

Jaffa Gate
Jaffa Gate

Jaffa Gate
Jaffa Gate

Tram just outside the city walls
Tram just outside the city walls

And it turned out to be one of the coolest places on the trip. Firstly there were no churches on top. But also because while this *could* have been the place of Jesus crucifixion and burial, the guides (who were volunteers from the UK on two or three month trips here) were strongly pointing out that we don't *know* this, but what does it really matter, the fact is Jesus died, was buried and was raised *somewhere* around here, and this *may* be the place but it doesn't really matter. I really liked this and it was a really nice experience.

The Garden Tomb entrance sign<br>Photo by Dad
The Garden Tomb entrance sign
Photo by Dad

Possible location of Golgotha
Possible location of Golgotha

Jesus was buried in a tomb probably like this one
Jesus was buried in a tomb probably like this one

The sort of stone that could have sealed the entrance to his tomb
The sort of stone that could have sealed the entrance to his tomb

Wine press in the garden<br>Photo by Dad
Wine press in the garden
Photo by Dad

Mum, Dad and me outside the garden tomb
Mum, Dad and me outside the garden tomb

The garden tomb
The garden tomb

After this, everyone scattered in all different directions.

I joined the parents and Leslie and Jill and we meandered through the Damascus gate to go find the Tower of David museum.

Damascus Gate - outside
Damascus Gate - outside

Damascus Gate - inside
Damascus Gate - inside

OK meandered is not the right word. The parents charged through the bazaars and Jill and I were drifting behind thinking "dudes, chill, we're in no rush". Whatevs.

So we got to the museum and it was actually pretty cool. We didn't really spend any time looking at the exhibits, but it was cool walking around the ramparts, and we got to see several flyovers of various military aircraft (it's their Independence Day here).

Tower of David Museum entrance
Tower of David Museum entrance

Phasael Tower - built as part of Herod's Palace
Phasael Tower - built as part of Herod's Palace

Dale Chihuly glass in the entrance of the museum
Dale Chihuly glass in the entrance of the museum

Tower of David citadel
Tower of David citadel

View towards the Temple Mount from the Phaseal tower
View towards the Temple Mount from the Phaseal tower

The Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock

Tower of David citadel<br>Photo by Dad
Tower of David citadel
Photo by Dad

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Top of the tower
Top of the tower

Tower of David citadel<br>Photo by Dad
Tower of David citadel
Photo by Dad

Tower of David citadel
Tower of David citadel

City walls
City walls

Tower of David citadel<br>Photo by Dad
Tower of David citadel
Photo by Dad

C-130 Hercules flyby
C-130 Hercules flyby

Military flyby
Military flyby

Corridor in the citadel
Corridor in the citadel

The Dome of the Rock - a cutaway model
The Dome of the Rock - a cutaway model

Mosque in the citadel<br>Photo by Mum
Mosque in the citadel
Photo by Mum

After that we found a place to have lunch which was actually a lot like other places we've had lunch in terms of setup with getting food and dessert. One of the staff brought a Melbournian staff member to our table to say hello - he was a volunteer staying here for *six* months!

After lunch we thought we might do the ramparts walk but two different signs said 1 shekel or 16 shekels but there was a big group ahead of us trying to convince the guys they'd paid with another ticket so we decided it was all too hard and left. On the way back to the Jaffa gate we heard all this noise and looked over the side and there was this *huge* parade of young people coming down the road. They were on a peace march and were from all over the world. It was a pretty cool thing to watch and wave to the guys and shout Aussie Aussie Aussie to the people carrying Australian flags :)

Jaffa Gate
Jaffa Gate

Tower of David
Tower of David

Youth march
Youth march

Youth march<br>Photo by Dad
Youth march
Photo by Dad

Next Mum and Leslie decided to go back to the hotel, and Jill and Dad and I decided to wander through the city again. We thought we might head for the Zion Gate or the Dung Gate but really weren't sure how to get to either, so just wandered. When we got to the south-western part of the city we found a sign that said Wailing Wall lookout so went to that and all the people from the march were there! It was pretty cool.

Walking through the old streets of Jerusalem
Walking through the old streets of Jerusalem

The Wailing Wall<br>Photo by Dad
The Wailing Wall
Photo by Dad

From here Dad decided to go off and find Absolom's Pinnacle while Jill and I decided to go back to the hotel. We went out the Dung Gate and even found a herd of goats and their shepherd which was pretty cool. But the road we wanted to walk on didn't have a footpath so we decided to head back up to the Zion Gate, walked around the outside of the city wall, then headed back down when we found a path.

Dung Gate
Dung Gate

Just some goats crossing the road (out hotel in the background)
Just some goats crossing the road (out hotel in the background)

South-west corner of the city walls
South-west corner of the city walls

South-west corner of the city walls
South-west corner of the city walls

So got back to the hotel and bought myself an hour of internet, but a miscommunication meant I kept the sweetie up a lot later than he was planning... sorry sweetie! but it was nice to see him and blogged about five blog entries. Then people came down to the lobby as well and were talking to me and buying me beer and I was copying files for them.

Dinner, chatting, blogging, bed!!


Distance covered on the GPS: 15.9 km (all walking!)
Steps walked: 17989
Photos on the Canon: 164
Photos on the Sony: 50
Videos: 2
NIS Spent: 65

Only five more nights. I have to keep telling myself that. Only five more nights. Then I get my own room. Saving $1400, I guess I can put up with it.

Moving on.

So had a slight disaster last night - my lovely 64gb USB stick that Stu got me for Christmas died. It had one of the backups of all my photos. It was also the one I was going to send home with the parents later. Not happy. It detects it briefly when you plug it in, but then it drops out of windows again, and the led flashes non-stop on it for as long as you leave it plugged in :(

We had an early start today - on the bus at 7:30. This is so we could queue to go through security to get onto the temple mount. Queued for about three quarters of an hour. They did a visual inspection of bags (probably looking for Bibles which are forbidden), and then an xray. At one point there was a sign, obviously posted by Jews, saying that entry to the temple mount is forbidden according to Torah law. It's kind of weird that us Aussies can get in whereas most Jews can't I don't think (or possibly choose not to in case they step on where the holy of holies was). In fact the whole city is this weird and very delicate balance of Jews and Muslims.

Sign warning people to stay off the Temple Mount
Sign warning people to stay off the Temple Mount

Security entrance to the Temple Mount
Security entrance to the Temple Mount

So got go up the ramp next to the wailing wall (rubbing it in much?) and onto the temple mount. Of course the most spectacular thing there is the gold-leaf Dome of the Rock. Only muslims are allowed inside though.

The Wailing Wall
The Wailing Wall

Temple Mount<br>Photo by Dad
Temple Mount
Photo by Dad

Dome of the Rock<br>Photo by Dad
Dome of the Rock
Photo by Dad

Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock<br>Photo by Mum
Dome of the Rock
Photo by Mum

Walked past the Golden Gate and then out of the temple mount.

Golden Gate from the inside
Golden Gate from the inside

Just inside the walls of the Temple Mount<br>Photo by Dad
Just inside the walls of the Temple Mount
Photo by Dad

Just outside the walls of the Temple Mount
Just outside the walls of the Temple Mount

Tour group just outside the Temple Mount
Tour group just outside the Temple Mount

Continued walking to the pool of Bethesda and had a look in St Anne's Basilica.

Pool of Bethesda
Pool of Bethesda

Pool of Bethesda
Pool of Bethesda

Poppies
Poppies

Arch
Arch

St Anne's Basilica<br>Photo by Dad
St Anne's Basilica
Photo by Dad

Then into another church - Sisters of Notre Dame of Zion I think - on the site of the Antonia Fortress to look at old cisterns and also an excavated street of Roman vintage.

Drain pipe
Drain pipe

Streets of Jerusalem<br>Photo by Dad
Streets of Jerusalem
Photo by Dad

Struthion Pool
Struthion Pool

Antonia Fortress<br>Photo by Mum
Antonia Fortress
Photo by Mum

Mosaic in Sisters of Notre Dame of Zion
Mosaic in Sisters of Notre Dame of Zion

And then it was to follow the path of some of the Stations of the Cross. This was a pretty cool walk through narrow alleys of shops.

Via Dolorosa
Via Dolorosa

IV Station of the Cross
IV Station of the Cross

III Station of the Cross
III Station of the Cross

V Station of the Cross
V Station of the Cross

Did you mean Palestine?
Did you mean Palestine?

Via Dolorosa
Via Dolorosa

VII Station of the Cross
VII Station of the Cross

At the end was The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian quarter that houses seven denominations (mostly various orthodoxes) in the one building. This church is on one of the proposed locations of Golgotha, and houses a stone slab said to have been used for the treatment of Jesus' body after the crucifixion. hrmmm.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre<br>Photo by Dad
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Photo by Dad

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre<br>Photo by Dad
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Photo by Dad

Tombs in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Tombs in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Supposedly where Jesus body was treated after his crucifixion
Supposedly where Jesus body was treated after his crucifixion

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Continued walking to an Armenian restaurant for lunch. This was sooo much better than yesterday - no crowds, food was brought out to us, and a very relaxed setting.

Jaffa Gate
Jaffa Gate

Finally back to the bus to battle crazy heavy holiday traffic out to the holocaust museum. Very sad place. They only gave us an hour and a half there, but could easily have spent a *lot* more time there. In fact, our next stop had to be cancelled because we were so late because of the traffic. So we just headed back to the hotel. So not sure why we had to be so rushed. They could have given us more time there :(

Holocaust History Museum
Holocaust History Museum

Holocaust History Museum
Holocaust History Museum

Holocaust History Museum
Holocaust History Museum

Holocaust History Museum
Holocaust History Museum

When we got back to the hotel we headed straight out again in search of somewhere that sold USB memory sticks. Eventually found a place and bought two 16gb sticks for 149 and 159 shekels.

Old city from near our hotel
Old city from near our hotel

Looking across to Palestinian territory from near our hotel
Looking across to Palestinian territory from near our hotel

Then had to do battle with parents over "laundry" space. Only five more nights, only five more nights.

Can hear fireworks going off. Can't see anything from here though..


Distance covered on the GPS: 28.4 km
Steps walked: 14905
Photos on the Canon: 232
Photos on the Sony: 36
Videos: 3

Urrghh. Patience with the parents is wearing pretty thin. Slept mostly ok. Woke up a couple of times in the night but otherwise slept from 10pm to 6am.

This morning the mother did more washing and stubbornly refused to close the bathroom window. *sigh*.

Our first stop was "The City of David" which is a region to the south of Jerusalem which was the old city of David (obviously!). There's a lot of archaeological stuff happening there at the moment.

Southern wall of the Temple Mount<br>Photo by Dad
Southern wall of the Temple Mount
Photo by Dad

The City of David entrance<br>Photo by Dad
The City of David entrance
Photo by Dad

Looking across the Kidron Valley from The City of David
Looking across the Kidron Valley from The City of David

Houses on the other side of the Kidron Valley built atop ancient tombs
Houses on the other side of the Kidron Valley built atop ancient tombs

Al-Aqsa Mosque from The City of David
Al-Aqsa Mosque from The City of David

Old City from The City of David
Old City from The City of David

We watched a little 3D film on some of the history of Jerusalem and the water tunnel that Hezekiah built. The screens weren't lined up properly though so it was a little hard to watch. I found it easier to just cover one eye.

Tour group in the 3D film theatre
Tour group in the 3D film theatre

Then we headed down down down past the Warren Shaft and down to Hezekiah's Tunnel. This was super cool! The water was thigh height at the beginning, but for most of the tunnel it flowed at mid calf height. There were some Swiss people in front of us and they were singing most of the way through and every so often they sang a hymn we knew so they were singing in German and we were singing in English, it was great fun :)

Heading down into Hezekiah's Tunnel
Heading down into Hezekiah's Tunnel

Hezekiah's Tunnel<br>Photo by Dad
Hezekiah's Tunnel
Photo by Dad

Hezekiah's Tunnel<br>Photo by Mum
Hezekiah's Tunnel
Photo by Mum

The tunnel opened out into the pool of Siloam.

Exit of Hezekiah's Tunnel
Exit of Hezekiah's Tunnel

Pool of Siloam
Pool of Siloam

Then we headed back up the hill. Starting with some recently excavated steps that turned into a tunnel that was at first lit then not lit at all and we had to pull out our torches again. I'm not sure how open it was to the public, but it seemed like we were intruding on an archaelogical dig and that's what we actually found at the end.

Tunnel leading back up the hill
Tunnel leading back up the hill

Archaelogical site just under the south wall of the Old City
Archaelogical site just under the south wall of the Old City

Archaelogical site<br>Photo by Dad
Archaelogical site
Photo by Dad

Archaelogical site<br>Photo by Mum
Archaelogical site
Photo by Mum

Next we headed up to the Zion Gate and into the Jewish Quarter of the old city. This area started off with just a massive parking lot and then lots of modern buildings.

Zion Gate, complete with bullet holes from various conflicts
Zion Gate, complete with bullet holes from various conflicts

Inside of the Zion Gate
Inside of the Zion Gate

After wandering through a bit we came to the "Burnt House" which is a house, probably of a temple priest, that they'd excavated which showed evidence of destruction by fire, possibly by the Romans. There was a little dramatisation film they'd made showing a possible scenario.

Burnt House Museum
Burnt House Museum

Burnt House Museum<br>Photo by Dad
Burnt House Museum
Photo by Dad

Cardo Maximus - ancient Roman street
Cardo Maximus - ancient Roman street

Dormition Abbey
Dormition Abbey

Dormition Abbey<br>Photo by Dad
Dormition Abbey
Photo by Dad

Walked some more to the room that "traditionally" was the room of the Last Supper. Yah, sure.

Room where the last supper was held.  Uh huh.
Room where the last supper was held. Uh huh.

Courtyard outside
Courtyard outside

King David's Tomb
King David's Tomb

Then down to the "rooster" church (because of the rooster crowing when Peter denied knowing Jesus) which supposedly was Caiphus' house, which did in fact have a real prison and/or dungeon under the house which could theoretically have held Jesus the night he was arrested.

Rooster church sign
Rooster church sign

Rooster church (St. Peter in Gallicantu)
Rooster church (St. Peter in Gallicantu)

St. Peter in Gallicantu<br>Photo by Dad
St. Peter in Gallicantu
Photo by Dad

St. Peter in Gallicantu<br>Photo by Dad
St. Peter in Gallicantu
Photo by Dad

Looking down into the dungeon in the house
Looking down into the dungeon in the house

Dungeon in the house
Dungeon in the house

Looking across to Palestinian territory
Looking across to Palestinian territory

Lunch was at the Ramat Rachel Hotel, but it was super crowded and pretty unorganised. It was so bad that there were no free tables to sit at and the only tables were piled high with used plates and trays. It was a complete shambles. At one point one of the waiting staff that was cleaning up dropped some wine glasses which left shattered glass all over the floor. But instead of cleaning it up he just walked away and left it. When we all left at least twenty minutes later it was all still there. The only bonus was that previous tables had left bottles of wine behind, that obviously had to be drunk, and even an unopened bottle that the waiting staff said we could have! Go figure!

Next we went to a lookout at the south end of Jerusalem to see the view of the city from the south.

Jerusalem
Jerusalem

Jerusalem
Jerusalem

Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives

Then it was back to the hotel for an early finish.

Little did we know but the original building of this hotel used to be an eye hospital, and just before the War of Independence they'd strung up a cable car across to the old city for transporting wounded. This cable car operated for a good six months without detection! The cable and operating mechanism are still there. Very cool!

Cable car used during the War of Independence
Cable car used during the War of Independence

View out the window where the cable car ran
View out the window where the cable car ran

Pulley system for the cable car
Pulley system for the cable car

After this I found a table in the lobby with a view and an electrical socket to do photo stuff, but didn't get too much done before some other people came down and bought me beer for copying their photos.. oops! So was a very pleasant evening with some beer, and the leftover bottle of wine from lunch and then a couple of drinks after dinner with everyone in the lobby :)

Coca Cola in Hebrew
Coca Cola in Hebrew

Me in a very big chair
Me in a very big chair

Distance covered on the GPS: 20.5 km
Steps walked: 11253+?? (left the pedometer in my bag so not sure of a final count, calling it 15000)
Photos on the Canon: 257
Photos on the Sony: 19
Videos: 2

Urrrgghhhh. Today was not a good day. We did see some pretty cool stuff, but lots of stresses too :(

To start with I slept like crap. It was just too hot in the room (and Israel, like Europe, doesn't believe in layers (sheets). It's all or nothing with a blanket). There might have been air conditioning but I didn't feel like fussing about with it in the middle of the night. Woke up at 5:30 to go the toilet and the parents took this as their cue to turn the lights on >:( I think I might have gotten a little bit more sleep.

Then I got rejected at breakfast. Most of the tables only sat four people so I couldn't easily join people. In the end I went and sat by myself on a bigger table, and felt like a nigel, and only got joined near the end.

Went for a little walk after breakfast to photograph the beach and the hotel.

Daniel Hotel, Dead Sea
Daniel Hotel, Dead Sea

View from someone else's room (we got crappy rooms pretty much the entire trip)
View from someone else's room (we got crappy rooms pretty much the entire trip)

Checked out, then headed north back up the shores of the Dead Sea, this time with the light on the canyons.

Our first stop was Masada, which is this super cool fortress built by Herod atop a rocky mountain, and accessed by cable car. It finally fell to the Romans after a lengthy seige. It was another case of hurry up and wait and not enough time to really explore the place. So that was a bit frustrating, but I think we saw the majority of it.

Masada<br>Photo by Dad
Masada
Photo by Dad

Cistern in Masada
Cistern in Masada

Water collection trenches
Water collection trenches

Top of the cable car at Masada
Top of the cable car at Masada

Top of Masada
Top of Masada

Room in Masada.  The black line was the height of the wall when they found it.  They then rebuilt the walls on top<br>Photo by Dad
Room in Masada. The black line was the height of the wall when they found it. They then rebuilt the walls on top
Photo by Dad

Store rooms in Masada
Store rooms in Masada

Tristram's starlings at Masada
Tristram's starlings at Masada

Dead Sea from Masada
Dead Sea from Masada

Top view of Herod's Palace
Top view of Herod's Palace

Roman seige camp
Roman seige camp

Herod's Palace
Herod's Palace

Herod's Palace
Herod's Palace

Herod's Palace
Herod's Palace

Masada<br>Photo by Dad
Masada
Photo by Dad

Dude writing the torah, wrote a blessing for Bruce
Dude writing the torah, wrote a blessing for Bruce

Pigeon roosts
Pigeon roosts

Where the romans attacked from
Where the romans attacked from

Dead Sea from Masada
Dead Sea from Masada

Continued north, back into Palestinian territory to Qumran (unless it was Masada in Palestinian territory, can't remember) where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. I didn't realise there was an ancient town excavated there as well. But can you guess what happened? That's right, rushed from one point to another with little time to take it in. Fortunately after lunch they gave everyone an hour to go shopping, so Dad and I went back in. This was sooo much better just wandering around at my own pace and exploring stuff.

Hills on the west side of the Dead Sea
Hills on the west side of the Dead Sea

Location of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Location of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found
Cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found

Location of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Location of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Yeah so lunch at Qumran. Worst experience of the trip so far. Had to battle your way through the shop then hundreds of people all jostling each other to get to the food and the tables. When we found a free table we got told to move. Then as I was trying to take a seat and dump my crap people kept telling me to move up and down the table to let people come or go as they changed their minds and then a heap of others were all trying to push past. I basically lost it. I *hate* crowds like that :(:(:( And the food was pretty average, probably the worst of the trip so far as well. Maybe just because I was too stressed/depressed, although someone else commented as well.

So left there and headed for Jerusalem. And we were there in like half an hour. Bizarre. Especially since everywhere east of Jerusalem is completely arid, but Jerusalem itself is relatively green.

Headed up to the Mount of Olives first up for a nice view of the old city.

Temple mount from the Mount of Olives
Temple mount from the Mount of Olives

The Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock

Eastern (Golden) Gate
Eastern (Golden) Gate

Then started walking down the hill.

Cemetery opposite the city
Cemetery opposite the city

Cemetery opposite the city
Cemetery opposite the city

First stopping in at Dominus Flevit, or the Jesus wept church.

Dominus Flevit
Dominus Flevit

Temple mount from Dominus Flevit
Temple mount from Dominus Flevit

Then at the bottom of the hill in the Garden of Gethsemane to the basilica there.

Ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane<br>Photo by Dad
Ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane
Photo by Dad

Church of All Nations
Church of All Nations

Church of All Nations
Church of All Nations

Church of All Nations
Church of All Nations

East side of the Temple Mount
East side of the Temple Mount

Then we got taken in the coach up to the old temple walls.

Mount of Olives from the east side of the Temple Mount
Mount of Olives from the east side of the Temple Mount

Cemetery opposite the Temple Mount
Cemetery opposite the Temple Mount

South west corner of the Temple Mount showing the remnants of Robinson's Arch
South west corner of the Temple Mount showing the remnants of Robinson's Arch

Went in and through the security check (and apparently there was a bit of a scene because some of the girls went through the men's line).

And there was the Wailing Wall. Went and touched it. And probably got dirty looks from the Jews who apparently resent us gentiles being there.

The Wailing Wall<br>Photo by Dad
The Wailing Wall
Photo by Dad

Prayers in the Wailing Wall<br>Photo by Dad
Prayers in the Wailing Wall
Photo by Dad

Then we got to go underneath the walls through a bunch of tunnels which was way cool.

Western wall tunnels
Western wall tunnels

These massive Herodian ashlar stones support the western wall of the temple<br>Photo by Mum
These massive Herodian ashlar stones support the western wall of the temple
Photo by Mum

Western wall tunnels
Western wall tunnels

Struthion Pool
Struthion Pool

And then to the hotel. Have I ever mentioned how much I *hate* fancy hotels? Internet: $15/day. Laundry facilities: non-existent (except for a massive fee). Sink plug: none. Power points: none spare, had to disconnect lamps and kettles stuck behind a cabinet. Table to work on laptop: none really, but can use one on the side of the room with no electricity nearby. We have a wonderful view .. of the lobby. No elevator to our floor. I'm sleeping on a cot taking up most of the free space in the room. The waiting staff at dinner were pretty useless. I don't know about the food, I was too depressed to even feel like eating much. And I forgot to even document my food, that's how bad a day I was having.

Our hotel - the Mount Zion Hotel
Our hotel - the Mount Zion Hotel

Our hotel room - I got a cot bed
Our hotel room - I got a cot bed

So now I have the aircon trying to cool the room down so I can sleep tonight, and then the parents come in and complain its freezing.

Can I go home now?

Distance covered on the GPS: 128.1km
Steps walked: 17373
Photos on the Canon: 512
Photos on the Sony: 31
Videos: 17
NIS spent: 2