Our First Week in Israel
It's been over a month since we arrived from Jerusalem and I must confess, to this day, we watch You Tube videos about the holy city and the sights we visited while we were there. I hope to blog about that visit before I forget the details. Anyway, after visiting the Holy Sepulcher and praying at the Western Wall on our first day, we tried to explore the city within the walls as much as we could exiting through the Damascus Gate. We spent a long time admiring the gate and took both pictures and videos in front of it. We also went inside the walled city through the Damascus Gate so many times. I do remember the area behind it as being predominantly Muslim.
We visited the walled city every single day of our stay in Jerusalem. We tried to follow and retrace the walk Jesus took on the way to his crucifixion. In fact, we traced his steps twice and did the stations of the cross right where it all began. It was here too in the walled city where we walked all over: window shopping, comparing prices, and eventually purchasing the Lutte from Egypt, the Syrian jewelry boxes, and two Middle Eastern rugs. I was told that Israel was a very expensive place. We agree. We ate at a McDonald's once and the bill totaled nearly $40 for a Fillet O' Fish meal and a burger. Do take note that shopping here can be inexpensive too if and when you get lucky and you stumble upon the right stalls. I calculated the amount I spent for all my souvenir purchases and I am kicking myself to this day for not buying more, much more. You can say I got lucky.
I have to say, I was quite surprised to see and hear many Americans in Jerusalem. In fact, we met one American expat from New York who hadn't returned to the US in 17 years. It was she who told us that there indeed was a big American expat community here in Jerusalem. We heard and saw them everywhere. At the public market, in museums as employees and guides, in parks, at the historical sights, everywhere.
The Yad Vashem Museum. Too bad photography was not allowed inside the museum. I do remember it being full of visitors. There were lots of locals too particularly those serving military service. The museum was quite far from the city center but we took the light rail close to our hotel and we got off at the very end of the line.