Blogs from Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel, Middle East

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Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem June 2nd 2015

I arrived in Jerusalem Sunday, 31 May after flying from Athens to Tel Aviv. Travelling from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is quite convenient - the Nesher shared taxi service takes up to 10 passengers to various destinations en route to Jerusalem. I got off near Damascus Gate باب العامود and took a taxi to my hotel on Mount of Olives جبل الزيتون. Both Monday and Tuesday were spent walking about the area in and around Jerusalem's Old City المدينة القديمة. The historical richness of the city is without measure - it is the Holy City المدينة المقدسة to Christians, Jews and Muslims alike. The Old City is surrounded by medieval walls and is accessible through any one of the multiple gates, one of the most well-known being Damascus Gate so named because travellers to and from ... read more
Church of the Holy Sepulchre كنيسة القيامة
Near Church of the Holy Sepulchre قريب كنيسة القيامة
Mount of Olives جبل الزيتون

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem April 5th 2015

'Why are you going to Israel? You're an atheist!' Was pretty much the most common question I faced when telling people of this trip, they threw it at me with all the incredulity and sarcasm they could muster. I sort of took their point, I tend to only accept things that scientists can explain with big numbers and complicated explanations that I can't even understand, but then I don't believe you need to believe in order to appreciate someone else's viewpoint. Besides, I don't believe a load of Greeks invaded a city inside a giant wooden horse but I still went to Troy, and I'm fairly certain short assed, hairy feet hobbits didn't carry rings around New Zealand but I still went there to look at their home. And anyway, Israel is a land of history ... read more
Israeli West Bank barrier
Western (wailing) wall praying-Easter Sunday
Yad Vashem Holocaust museum

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem March 13th 2015

We arrived at our hostel at 6am after a pretty gruelling back to back red eye flights and a 10 hour layover in Amsterdam. We got here just in time for the free breakfast. We filled our bellies and hit the sack for a couple hours. Waking up at noon we took off into the city. This is our first trip into the Middle East which has been a dream of ours for some time so needless to say we're pretty excited about the whole deal. The first stop was lunch at a local cafe. This was to be our first hummus in Israel and it did not disappoint. Pita and hummus is absolutely legendary here. The olives need no introduction. Fuelled up once more we walked down Jaffa Street towards the Old City. Jaffa Street ... read more
Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Jerusalem

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem March 10th 2015

I had a break from the boat so I packed my bag, which I'm living out of, and headed to Israel. There is a wonderful girl, Britt, that is studying in Tel Aviv and I decided it was time to go visit. I arrived and we spent a day in Tel Aviv before renting a car and traveling around the country. As Britt as my tour guide i knew this was going to be a great trip. We first headed to Jerusalem to see the Old City before heading to the Dead Sea and Jordan. Jerusalem is an interesting place. Within one square kilometer you have the third most holy Muslim site, Al Aqsa, the most holy Jewish site, Western Wall, and the most holy Christian site, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. It is a ... read more
Sunlight coming into the church above the Tomb.
Market before it opens
Good and Evil?

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem January 24th 2015

Today promised to be a busy day with many sites to visit so we left a little earlier than usual after breakfast. The weather was perfect with blue skies and comfortable temperatures. We drove up to the Mouth of Olives where we enjoyed a wonderful view of Jerusalem. We stopped along the way for explanations from George who I think is one of the best tour guides in the business. We saw the Place of Ascension and the Pater Noster Church where the Our Father was first taught. We arrived at the Garden of Gethsemane where George explained that radiocarbon dating tests on some of the root material from Gethsemane indicated that some of the wood could be dated at 2300 years old. We also learned that when an olive tree is cut down, shoots will ... read more
At the Garden of Gethsemane with Jerusalem in the background.
The Rock of Agony where Jesus prayed in agony.
The hole that prisoners were lowered down into a dungeon below.

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem January 23rd 2015

Amazing, amazing day. We had our wake-up call at 4:00 a.m., but I was up at 2:00 a.m. having gone to bed at 9:30. I finished my blog and then we went downstairs at 5:00 to meet the rest of the group. Today we started the day early praying the Stations of the Cross ending up at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus was crucified (Calvary) and buried, and then rose again. I applaud our tour director and guide for their knowledge and ability to make this one of the best experiences for us. We celebrated the Holy Mass as we do every day except this time we celebrated in the Tomb of Christ. There were 40 of us and we entered a small room where there was a small altar in the center. ... read more
Pool of Bethesda
Pool of Bethesda
Entering into Jerusalem

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem January 23rd 2015

This is day 9 of our amazing Pilgrimage. We start out visiting the Israel Museum. We viewed the 2ndModel of Old Jerusalem which covers nearly 1 acre. Our guide pointed out the Wailing Wall and Calvary. It was awesome. I thought it was going to be inside the museum on a much smaller scale, but it was outside so I could take pictures as photos were strictly forbidden inside. Security would not just tell you to stop taking them, they would take all your pictures. That is what our guide told us anyway. We then went inside to view the (Dead Sea Scrolls) exhibit. We didn’t have nearly enough time, but it was very interesting. Next, we drove to the neighborhood of Ain Karem, birthplace of St. John the Baptist. John was excited to see where ... read more
Church of the Visitation
Church of St. John the Baptist
Floating in the Dead Sea

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem December 22nd 2014

We spent our last day in Israel at Yad Vashem. This is a holocaust museum that sits atop Mt. Herzl. The light rail ride there had us delayed about 40 minutes due to a "suspicious object" found near the tracks ahead of us. No one on or around seemed all that concerned so we took our cues from them. The museum itself is a beautiful work of architecture. Outside were a line of trees, each dedicated to someone considered Righteous Among the Nations. These are non-Jews who risked their lives to help the Jewish people during the holocaust. People like Oskar Schindler and Sweden's Raoul Wallenberg are honoured in the garden. Inside the museum, visitors are led through the meandering exhibits depicting the lives touched by holocaust and educating on the events from Hitler's rise to ... read more
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Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem December 17th 2014

We began the day with a trek down Via Dolorosa, making our way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. There lies Golgotha - better known to Christians as the rock upon which they crucified Christ. From there we made our way to the Western Wall. Of all the holy places we visited today, this one inexplicably touched me the most. I don't know if it was the hauntingly beautiful singing of the Jewish men, or being surrounded by crying, praying, devout women, or seeing all the handwritten prayers in all the cracks. I myself was moved to tears. The wall is what's left of two destroyed temples. The other side lies Temaple Mount. It is here that they believe God took the clay to create Adam. It is here that they believe Abraham was prepared ... read more
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Golgotha
Western Wall

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem December 16th 2014

It took 12 hours exactly from door to door. Utterly exhausted and ready for bed. Impressed with the Turkish people and have decided we need to make Istanbul a vacation destination in the near future. Tomorrow: Old City sightseeing. Shalom... read more
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