Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Old City Again

After realizing that the Dome of the Rock Plaza was closed on Saturday, we wanted to try again. This time we went with friends.

Before we needed to meet Jay and Bryce, we wanted to walk around for a little while in the old city. We took a route avoiding shuk in the Old City to end up in the Kardo (the old roman thoroughfare that used to hold shops). As we were wandering through the shops we bumped into them and headed in the direction I thought was towards the plaza.

It turns out to be a lot harder to navigate the old city than I anticipated. Instead of immediately finding the entrance to the plaza, we found my favorite Falafel place in the entire city! I will talk about it later when we get back into the shuk (market). After stopping to reorient, we backtracked towards the Via De La Rosa to find our direction. We ended up outside the Austrian Hospice, a place I had been earlier this year with HUC (blog post here). I ran in to get some directions.

The only way for us to access the plaza is right next to the Kotel. After going through the checkpoint, we walked to the southern edge of the Kotel to find the entrance. We were informed by the security guard that it was closed to visitors at that point. I was confused because the websites I consulted said we should have been able to get up at that time of the day.

The security guard that we talked to didn't give us any good information so we kept looking around for the entry point. When we went towards the archeological park we were stopped by somebody more knowledgeable. We asked him when we could go up and he gave us an exact set of times.

At this point we went back towards the Kardo to do a little shopping. Jay and Bryce wanted to grab lunch at a bagel place in the Jewish Quarter. Kaitlin and I wanted to grab a falafel so we went back to this shop we had rediscovered earlier. I'm so glad we found this place!

There is something special about their spices and the way they put everything together for you. It really is the best stuff you can find. Near the Damascus Gate street, just off of the Via De La Rosa there is a point at which two roads come together and make a nice little square. The falafel shop is right on the corner. For 7 sheck you can get a really tasty falafel. Right next door is a great coffee shop.

I had never had their coffee before, but I bought a half pound so I can make turkish coffee. I was excited at the chance to pick up that coffee and have a great falafel with Kaitlin. She really seemed to enjoy the falafel too. And after that we walked through some of the shops. Kaitlin ended up picking up a couple of gifts for her friends and family back home.

Afterwards we looked in to renting a car to take down to the Dead Sea and Masada the next day and I showed her my campus. I don't remember exactly what we did the rest of the evening. I think we cooked dinner and hung out at home to get ready to head south the next day. This was when we had some issues with the internet and I took her to Cafe Yehoshua to have a hot chocolate and use their internet to plan the route.

As you can read later, it probably would have served us better to research more than we did. We had a few issues with the car and getting around Jerusalem and to Masada.

That's all for now.

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