Saturday, May 27, 2006

Saturday: A Walk in the Old City

We entered Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate. We immediately walked down the center pedestrian street. It's lined with small shops selling jewelry, embroidered cushion covers, textiles of all sorts, sandals, wood carvings, antique and fake Roman glass and ceramics, and tee shirts. Merchandise in many colors hangs from the walls and the roof of the street, really more like a passageway that in places goes underneath buildings. The shopkeepers try to stop you and drag you into their shops, which are very small and open to the walkway.

At the end of the main street, after a bit of wandering and descent via a long staircase, we reached the Western Wall:

After another long walk through the Jewish Quarter and various shopping streets in the Arab Quarter, we made a short visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Here's an icon:

And here is another icon: the Arabic version of the Coke logo. We drank the cokes at the little outdoor restaurant with our hummus, pita, salad, and really good, freshly-fried falafel:

Here I am at the Jaffa Gate on the way out. Despite the 90 degree heat, you can see my modest covered-up Saturday outfit -- it was a success insofar as no one asked me to leave the prayer area where you can touch the Western Wall and place little notes in the gaps:

Finally, as we left the area I took a view of the outside of the Old City walls, which date from the time of the Ottoman Empire:

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