Sunday, August 04, 2013

Jerusalem the New City...

Ben-Yehuda Street in the New City, Jerusalem.
Today we decided to venture outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem into the New City. After checking with the Information Bureau and reviewing a map, we decided to walk to Ben Yehuda Street. It was about a mile or so out the Jaffe Gate and along Jaffe Street -- straight ahead. Easy. It took about 15 minutes to get there.

Ben Yehuda is a major street in downtown Jerusalem blocked off from vehicle traffic. Along the 8 or 10 blocks of the street, one will find all sorts of shops -- jewelers, coffee, ice cream and foods. Street performers entertain the passers-by with musical instruments and more. We saw a wonderful performance by a juggler -- for example. We spent about an hour exploring the many shops along both sides of the street.

We then decided to find the Mahaneh Yehuda -- the main market area of Jerusalem. The market, called the Shuk by the locals, consists of more than 250 vendors selling fresh fruit, vegetables, baked goods, fish, cheese, nuts and even "Judaica". Add to that the hundreds of shoppers and the vendors calling out the prices of their goods, and you have a wonderful cacophony of sights and sounds that boggle the senses!

One can wander in and out of the main and sides streets for hours, sometimes sampling the foods or enjoying a snack. We stopped at a small shop and took a break while drinking a Turkish coffee and Americano "decaf".

A most delightful late morning and early afternoon.

Finding our way back to Jaffe Gate in the Old City was easy. We chose to spare our feet and legs and took the tram. Jerusalem has a modern and comfortable tram system (remember the "street car"?). For 6.60 shekels (about $1.85), one can ride in air conditioned comfort. The journey back to the "gate" was just a few minutes.

We returned to our lodgings at about 1:30 p.m. and decided to take a rest. Our plan is to venture out again at 3 o:clock or so to find a food market in the Old City.
Linda at The Shuk Market.

3:30 p.m. -- It was time to think about some food shopping and dinner.  The tourist bureau told us about a couple of food markets in the Arab section of the Old City -- but one of our neighbors counselled against dealing with the " complex and intricate transactions" in the Old City. We decided to make our way back to the Mahaneh Market (The Shuk). We boarded the tram and were back in the busy market in a few minutes. If didn't take long to buy some supplies for snacks and venture back onto the tram for our return to the Old City.

Once back, and through the Jaffe Gate, we found a cute little restaurant off the beaten path and enjoyed a lite dinner before calling it quits for the evening.

Tomorrow we're thinking of the Wailing Wall and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.

Stay tuned for more.....