Since we messed up our plans by missing our flight the day before we have had to switch up our plans and now we will see the sites in Jerusalem instead of doing it today as I write and we will go to the Dead Sea for a swim en route to Metula which is not really en route but we gotta do it so when we woke up at our hotel that doesn’t have wifi in our rooms the first thing we needed to do was get connected and figure out our game plan . Remember we didn’t know we were coming here until Saturday and this was Tuesday also because we are trying to enjoy our holiday rather then waste time researching but it is what it is and we are definitely making the most of it . The woman at the front desk was helpful and we figured that the old city was a 10 minute walk from our place . So we began our trek and tried to find the place to get a SIM card on our way but missed it and kept going until we got to Harrods Gate .
We were told to go through Damascus Gate because it is a wider road but that makes no sense to us ... our thinking is that if every tourist goes to one gate because it is suggested then we will go to the opposite and we made a good choice . When we got through the gate it immediately hit me that Jesus had walked these streets and was crucified here ... wanna know what gave it away ? Well we saw people carrying cross on the same route that Jesus apparently walked ! Yes you heard me right this is holiday for some people that are religious ... I’m not too religious so I thought it was a bit freaky . I mean I wouldn’t travel around the world to carry a cross through narrow streets to experience what happened to Jesus , and if so do these people want the real experience where it all ends ? You know the part where he is nailed to a cross and killed ! I can’t wrap my head around it but there are a whole lot of religious tour groups running around chanting together and singing and being totally weird ... I hope I’m not offending anyone but please understand that this really is not what I would consider normal behaviour . We did the whole walk without a cross or thorns on our heads and enjoyed the beauty of knowing where we were which you would expect from the normal tourist 😝 yes I know that is should never say I’m normal after all ....
The first big sight we went to see was the The Church of the Holy Sepulchre which was RAMMED with people ! The funny thing is we were told it would not be too busy because it’s a Jewish holiday but that didn’t mean the Christians and Muslims were not out and about . The church looks small on the outside and when you get in it is massive and right at the front entrance is a spot where Jesus’ body once laid and the stone was wet and there were people of all sorts trying to mop up the water from the stone with everything you can imagine as I’m sure it’s considered a blessing but I mean I even saw a guy wetting magnets he had and there were people practically drinking the water off the stone . It was very unhygienic. As we wandered around we saw a big lineup waiting to go into the room where Jesus once was and we didn’t go in because the lineup must have been at least an hour and really I don’t have the time to waste like this ... I would have went in if it was not such a long line . While I was in the church I did find a quiet spot to say a prayer for my friend Chris Brzezicki who I always try to say a prayer for and my grandparents were in my thoughts as well as I wiped a tear away . The church is absolutely gorgeous and I highly suggest visiting but try to get there really early to avoid the lineups .
Our next major stop was the Western Wall which is a very holy spot for people of Jewish faith and that was really nice also ! When we arrived we had some water as it was quite hot out and we wandered around while figuring thing out and we went into what we think was the synagogue but I could be wrong ... it is right beside the wall and was filled with Jewish people praying and chanting everywhere .... we just had a quick look as we didn’t want to bother anyone . It’s always good to respect people of religion even if I find some things a bit strange . Unfortunately religions don’t hold the same theories as I do and there have been many upsetting events in our history and I’m pretty sure the Jewish faith was not too happy when the Muslims built the Dome of the Rock on the hill which they had built a wall around to protect ... again I could be wrong but there was a bit of tension and during certain hours nobody was allowed to enter the area where the Dome of the Rock is . There were police fully armed at every single point entering this area as we found out when we tried to enter ... only muslims were allowed in and I guess I don’t look Muslim so I was not allowed and was told to enter at 1:30 pm so we have some time to kill and decided to grab a seat in a cafe and grab a bite to eat . I had a really yummy shawarma and a fanta as we got some free wifi and planned out the rest of our day in an air conditioned setting .
We decided to leave the old city and walk around to the south side and get away from all the tourists and on our way out found the birthplace of the Virgin Mary and we went down into the cave and checked it out . There was a tour group in there before and I have no clue how they all fit in there at the same time ! The cave was interesting as I honestly have no clue how people lived in these days ... I guess the caves were a good way to get out of the heat and to stay warm as they are great natural habitats for all. We wandered on the outskirts of the old city walls and made our way around to another entrance and on the way Andi decided to pick an olive off the tree to try it and from the look on his face you could tell how sour it was lol ! I didn’t need to try one after seeing his reaction . When we re entered the old city we were near the entrance to go see the Rock of Dome which is a very holy site for Muslims and I think is the third holiest site in the world for this religion .
The Rock of Dome was quite astonishing to look at and was the least busiest attraction in the old city which I’m guessing is because of the rules as there are certain times one can enter the area and if you are not Muslim you are forbidden to even enter the actual building . It was around 1:30 pm at this time so we were allowed entry but it was getting pretty hot out and even chugging a cold drink had little to no effect on me as I was starting to sweat from the heat and all the walking . We left the old city and wandered around and found ourselves in a garden just north of the old city where Jesus was ... I can only assume he probably was near my hotel but that didn’t seem to be a tourist attraction hahaha 😆 when we entered we got the religious spiel and Andi told the woman that he believes in science and the woman asked why we were there and he said because I’m a tourist . That was hilarious and I had to bite my tongue not to laugh as we walked into this garden filled with people chanting and singing around every corner which in my mind is just not normal .... at this point I had enough of all these religious freaks so it was time to head back to our hotel and try finding ourselves a SIM card .
We found the original place that was suggested to go to for a SIM card but they only did monthly plans so that place suggested another and they were closed ... then out of curiosity I had to go see if our rental was still in the spot where we parked as I thought it was a bit shady and thankfully it was there so I can relax a bit . We went back to our hotel and asked about getting a sim again and said the other place only does monthly plans and not pre paid cards and were told to go to another shop which was near where the parking lot is so we went back and got a cheap sim which was 70 shekels which is roughly 30 bucks for 30 gigs ! That’s pretty good and much cheaper then the $12 a day that my provider at home would bill me . Happily we headed back to our room and took a much needed nap 😴
When we woke up we figured out the City of David tunnel tour was closed for holiday so that was a bummer as I wanted to do that and instead we opted to go to downtown Jerusalem which is about a 25 minute walk . The city is not very large with a population of under 1 million and downtown was absolutely dead .... we found our way to an Irish pub and went in for a couple beers before calling it a night . Tomorrow I have to drive to the Dead Sea and Metulla way in the north of Israel to play hockey with my buddy Shakes ! I need some rest and with that we grabbed a taxi and called it a night . We did plan to grab a bite to eat at the hotel restaurant which we were told closed at 11 and when we arrived at 10:30 they said they had already closed ... just another disappointment from our hotel 😤 there is a burger joint around the corner so we went there to eat before turning in . The burger was actually pretty good and with a full belly I passed out in my uncomfortable bed . I guess you can see the pattern bringing me to hold a firm disliking of the hotel we were at ... let’s just say if it wasn’t for the friendly people working there I would have left . Nothing to like about this place at all ... good thing we leave tomorrow !