Day 10 - Travel across Jordan-Israel border

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Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District
April 19th 2018
Published: April 21st 2018
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Went down for breakfast at 7am and met up again with Mary, Paul and Susan. We had an 8am taxi pick-up and were a a little late but all good. Unfortunately we didn’t get the nice young driver from the night before but an older man who we found difficult to understand. He ended up stopping twice for water and then petrol and then he asked if we wanted him to take us to a bazaar but we politely told him that we just wanted to go straight to the border.

The border crossing wasn’t as bad as we imagined, seems like they have streamlined it. I read that at one stage they take your luggage at the start and you don’t see it until the end of the procedure but in our case the bags stayed with us and just went through the usual X-ray machine. For the benefit of those who may be doing this crossing in future, this is the timetable for our border crossing:

9:30am Arrived at Allenby/King Hussein bridge

9:45am Short walk to the Departures building – there is a 10JOD exit fee per person. You hand in your passport at one window, pay your tax at the next window, go back to the first window and hand in your receipt.

10:00am We’re called over and told to board our bus but I was wondering where our passports were. Some how they told us to get on a particular bus and magically a man was there to hand over our passports. There is a charge of 7JOD each and then 1.5JOD per checked baggage.

10:20am Arrived on Israeli side of border and waited in the bus. They were actually doing us a favour because there was already a line of people coming out the door and they kept us in the air-conditioned bus until the line was clear. We then got our luggage and we lined up for our interview. Whilst waiting in line we chatted to a really nice Jordanian lady who is now an American citizen and has family in both Jordan and Israel. Daisy went up first to the interview by a very young Israeli girl and she asked if Daisy was on her own, so Daisy called me over. Questions were basic ones like, why are you visiting Israel (we are on a tour), do you know anyone here(yes John Bostock), how do you know him (university friends), where does he live (near Tel Aviv). That was it and she told us to go through. Took about 2 minutes, not the 10 minutes per person I had read about. So we were pleasantly surprised at how well it all went.

11:15 Passed through interview, changed US dollars and our remaining Jordanian Dinar for Sheckels and a girl told us where we could get a share taxi, sherut (you walk out turn right and go to the corner of the building). One was waiting but only had room for 1 person so we had to wait for the next one and then wait for that to fill up.

11:35 Got on bus

Noon Bus leaves and takes 50 minutes. So altogether, just under 5 hours from hotel to hotel

Hotel was just a 10 minute walk from the bus stop and we decided to get tickets for the Sound and Light show at the Tower of David called “King David”. Their web site said the museum closes at 4pm and had conflicting information about ticket availability for the show. Since it was already 3pm we thought we wouldn’t have time for the museum but we would just buy tickets for the show. Shared a chicken kebab for lunch around the corner before walking to the Tower. When we got there we were pleasantly surprised to find out the museum was free today and would be open for an extended time until 5:30pm because it was Israel’s Independence Day and there were tickets available for the 10:30pm show. We bought the tickets and then spent 2 hours or so exploring the Citadel and the museums. There was also live entertainment with comedy and musical acts. We watched some of it at the end and the band must have been playing popular Israeli songs because everyone was clapping along and singing, we just joined in with the clapping obviously.

When that finished at 5:30pm, we walked to a modern area just outside The Tower of David and found the ATM, the Tourist Office lady had told us about, and we had nice coffee at a cafe nearby. We decided to walk back to our hotel to get some warmer clothes for the night show but this time we walked through the old town and it was fascinating with all the alleyways, shops and markets. Daisy bought an embroided blouse from one of the stores. We just walked in the general direction we thought was correct, stumbled upon the Church of The Holy Selpuchre and then found our way out . We had a quick dinner at a restaurant just outside the Jaffa Gate and then went to our hotel for a rest. Unfortunately one of the meals we had today gave me a bit of diarrhea.

Set off again at 9:40 for the 20 minute walk back to the Tower of David where we had to line up before the show. They were running extra sessions today on the hour from 8:30 to 11:30. We really enjoyed the show, it had some great special effects with projections onto the internal walls of the Citadel. Similar to some things you see in Sydney's Vivid festival. There are no photos for this as it wasn’t allowed. As we walked home we found ourselves all alone on the street which was a little disconcerting but there were no problems getting home.

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