This morning I took a taxi to the top of the Mount of Olives. I climbed the 278 steps of the belltower of the Church of the Ascension. There are great views from there of Jerusalem in one direction and the Judean desert in the other. Afterward, as I walked downhill from the church, I came upon an olive grove with a view of the Old City that I liked even better than the view from the belltower. (See picture) Next i visited the Church of Mary Magdalene which is unique in Jerusalem for its gold onion domes. (See picture) Also, the grounds have a lovely garden that is reportedly part of the Garden of Gethsemane. From there I walked back into the city and sat and rested awhile in the shade of St. Anne's churchyard near the pool of Bethesda where I was yesterday. It was lunchtime, so I walked to the Armenian Quarter where I stopped for lunch at a restaurant that was recommended by my guidebook. It was spiced ground meat (lamb?) wrapped in grape leaves and cooked in a yogurt sauce. It was delicious! I also had a bottle of Israeli beer. It wasn't very good, but
I'm glad to have the experience. As I walked back to the hotel, I purposely passed through a modern shopping mall that is just outside the walls of the Old City. The juxtaposition of the ultra modern shops so near the stalls of the ancient streets is striking, and, I am sure, not accidental. Tomorrow I will be leaving Israel. I reviewed my notes and determined that I have now seen and done all the major things I wanted to do here. There are a few minor sights that I have not been able to see, but I am more than satisfied with my sojourn here in Jerusalem.