Thursday, May 9, 2013

Day 2 in Jerusalem, Free Walking Tour, Mt. Zion, King David's Tomb

I slept in today, I finally got out of bed around 11 am.  My plan was to book trips to Petra, Jordan and Cairo & the Pyramids in Egypt, get lunch and go to the free Sandeman's walking tour at 2pm.  I booked my trips to Petra, Cairo and  they Pyramids, took awhile to get everything process, then I left the hostel to begin my second day in Jerusalem. 

My first stop was food, I missed the free hostel breakfast this morning.  I got a falafel pita, I have decided I prefer the laffa bread to pita bread for falafel,  but my lunch was still good and filling.  I ate my falafel while walking to Jerusalem's old city for the free Sandeman's walking tour.  I knew the tour would be a repeat of many things I saw yesterday, but I thought it would be worthwhile for the added perspective of a tour guide familiar with the area.

Our tour started out at Jaffa Gate in the old city, we walked through the gate, past the Tower of David and into the city's Armenian quarter.  The tour took us through all four quarters of Jerusalem's old city, the Armenian, Jewish, Arab and  Christian quarters.  Our tour guide gave us background information on all the quarters, I do not remember all that he told us, so I will not try to recount it here.

Lynnae in front of Mural in Jerusalem's Old City
The walking tour was good, the standard familiarization tour I expect from the free Sandeman's tours.  After the tour I went back to the Jaffa Gate to decide what to do next.  My initial plan was to go to Jerusalem's Holocaust Museum, but it was too late by the time the tour finished at 4pm.  I sat down to rest, drink some water, and read Lonely Planet on my Kindle.  I decided I would go to Mount Zion and see King David's tomb.  I was sitting on steps next to the tourist information office, I went inside and asked for directions to King David's tomb, they told me it closed at 5pm, it was 4:30pm at this point, and I would be able to make it.  They directed me to Mt. Zion gate, I made it to King David's tomb before closing time at 5pm.

Lynnae & Kind David Statue Mt. Zion 
Lynnae at Kind David's Tomb 
Mt. Zion has a lot of Christian historical sites, the site believed to be where Jesus and the Apostles had the Last Supper before Jesus was crucified. I also visited the Church and Monastery of the Dormition on Mt. Zion, the site where it is believe the virgin Mary died

Inside Church where it is believed the Virgin Mary Died 
Place Believed to be Last Supper Site on Mt. Zion 
I walked around the old city after leaving Mt. Zion.  I saw mostly sites I had seen on today's walking tour and yesterday.  However, I somehow managed to get lost on my walk through the old city.  I ended up in the Arab quarter, the place I planned to exit was closed, all exits out of the Arab quarter seemed closed. A little Arab boy came up to me and said, closed, closed, then asked if I was Muslim.  I was not sure I understood what he was saying, so I kept walking.  I then saw the barricade indicating the section I was walking towards was indeed closed.  I am not sure if I was walking towards and exit of the old city, I just knew I could not pass that way, the barricades were up. 

I had seen an entrance to the Western Wall on my walk through the Arab Quarter.  When the second place I attempted to exit was closed, I decided to take the Western Wall route, I am familiar with exiting Jerusalem's Old City through the Jewish Quarter.  I went through the security check to the Western Wall, there were many Orthodox Jewish men at the wall today, the Israeli Defense Forces were also chanting and jumping down in an area near the wall.  I took a few pictures and kept moving.  

Israel Defense Forces near the Wailing Wall 
I eventually made my way out of Jerusalem's Old City.  I was hungry, I walked down the main strip towards my hostel.  I stopped at the place I bought Shawarma yesterday, I sat down to eat and noticed someone from the walking tour earlier.  We realized we were in the same hostel, both of us checked in last night around the same time. We talked, I told her some of my CIA story, then another person who was on the walk with us earlier today showed up. We all talked, I told them most of my story and I learned about them.  We went to get gelato, then one person headed for Tel Aviv, me and another woman walked back to our hostel.  The end of another interesting day in Jerusalem.

Day 2 in Jerusalem Photo Album

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