Saturday, August 03, 2013

Our First Day in Jerusalem...

With my good friend Jim at the King David Hotel
Our day started out early, at about 5:30 a.m. We did get a good night's sleep after the 18 hours in transit yesterday. But,  we were up early and ready to go. After a short walk around the Jaffe Gate area, we learned about a nice breakfast being served at a nearby church retreat. It was a wonderful meal. The neat thing about Israeli breakfasts is the amount and variety of foods.  Fruits, cheeses, lunch meats and dairy abound and are presented in a buffet. It started the morning out perfectly.

Just down from our lodgings is the Israeli Tourist Bureau so we stopped by to get some directions to the Prima Royale Hotel. We planned to meet my friend Jim there at noon. After learning the hotel was only 20 minutes away by foot, we decided to walk.  (You may recall that my good friend Jim was on a tour in Israel and we knew we'd both be in Jerusalem on the same day -- with Jim having a free day). So, we headed for his hotel at about 9 a.m.
The Dome inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

We found the hotel with a bit of help from a local. What I thought were the actions of a good Samaritan turned out to be a professional "helper" and his directions cost us about $20!! I was a bit surprised, but learned a valuable lesson about the inhabitants of this wonderful city.

We met with Jim and spent the next couple of hours walking around a part of the Old City. Jim invited us to join his "tour" for a guided walk through a nice section of Jerusalem and part of the Old City. We were to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. All of us agreed it would be great opportunity see part of the city with a professional guide. We met the walking tour at 3 p.m. and spent the next 3 hours enjoying the walk and discussion of the Old City and the Church itself.

Myself with Peter at the Church. Peter is a Brother
serving the Roman Catholic Church and is from Iran.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is an important Christian place of worship and symbol of their religion.  It dates back to at least the Fourth Century C.E. and is thought to be the place where Jesus was crucified and then buried. Another interesting reality of the present-day church is that it is home to 6 Christian sects, none of which are Protestant. 

Today's custodians are the Eastern Orthodox, Armenian Apostic, Roman Catholics, Greek Orthodox, the Coptic Orthodox and the Ethiopian Orthodox Churches. During our visit there we witnessed three different religious celebrations.

At about 6:30 we bid farewell to our guide and to Jim and made our way back to out lodgings. A light dinner capped a perfect day in the Old City.


Steve said...

...and they all seriously dislike one and other. Fights have broken out over window washing and floor mopping. Go figure. Also remember NO ONE is your good friend in the Shuk and 18 karat gold, isn't. Buy only tchotchkies and felafels there. Did you walk up on the old city walls? Well worth the experience. Go over to Emek Refaim or Kikar Zion tonight for Motzei Shabbat people watching at the cafes.

Anonymous said...

Great picture of you and my dad. Sounded like you had a great day with Jim.


Anonymous said...

Only Arabs in the old city ask for money when they help tourists. Israeli Jews don't do that...