Sunday 31 May 2015

A train to Jerusalem

Towards the end of the holiday, we took a train to Jerusalem for the day. There are plenty of coach tours, where everything is laid on, but we thought it would be more exciting to be a bit more intrepid.
The Wailing Wall, where Jews go to pray. They write messages on small pieces of paper and insert them into the holes between the stones. Men and women are segregated. The last time I visited was nearly 20 years ago, on a Friday evening, which is the Sabbath. It was mesmerising and I remember it as being just magical.

I loved seeing all the different tribes of people. Hasidic Jews, Ethiopians, Arabs, Christian nuns, soldiers. Some brought there by faith, others for work, and then others still, like us, brought there to experience history and culture.

The old city can be entered via various different gates. There is an Arab quarter, a Jewish quarter, a Christian quarter and an Armenian quarter. Once inside the gates, you find yourself in a warren of enclosed walkways, filled with all the sights and sounds of the bazaar.
A typical meal. Houmous, arab salad, pickled vegetables and pitta bread. I'll eat toasted pine nuts with anything.
This is on the rooftop of the Austrian Hospice on the Via Dolorosa, the street which Jesus walked, carrying his cross, towards the place of his crucifixion. You have the most amazing view over the whole city. Behind me you can see the gold dome of the Temple Mount.
The Armenian church of St James was the most breathtakingly beautiful church, which we happened on quite by accident. A service was just about to take place, so I blindly followed a few people through a heavy curtain and found myself in this exquisite interior. There are dozens of chandeliers and incense burners in all the colours of the rainbow hanging from the ceiling, kilims on the floor and blue and white tiles on the walls. The ceilings have decorative plasterwork roses. It was perfection and I loved just sitting there and absorbing the beauty.

I'd love those blue and white tiles in my fireplace
I felt like Alice in Wonderland knocking on that door. I'm only 5 foot tall, so whoever's on the other side must be fairytale tiny. That's a 1960's psychedelic maxi dress there, with a shawl over the top to cover up my head in the Arab quarter and the churches.

So that's my tour of Israel done. Must be time to book another holiday soon, surely? :)


Anonymous said...

Just love the vibrancy and colour of it all ( including you��!) What an amazing city. The beautiful blue tiles in the church are stunning. Have had a wonderful trip to Israel with you! ��. Looking forward to our next holiday together xx

Vix said...

Oh, doesn't it all look wonderful? Those pale stone walls with all that colour and magic lurking behind the doors.
The wailing Wall looks exactly how I'd imagined it. What an ace photo.
Love those blue tiles and your gorgeous frock and could eat that feast ...mmm...pine nuts...right now! xxx

Sue said...

Such glorious photos, colourful and interesting. Thanks for sharing your holiday, I love going on other peeps vacays!!!

Fiona said...

I've loved your Israel pics! It's somewhere I've never been, apart from loads of flights to Ben Gurion when I was a hostie, but we didn't have time to get off the aircraft! It all looks incredibly exciting and I can just imagine the sounds and smell of the old city.
Where are we off to next? x

Peaches McGinty said...

I loved it all so much that after writing this I'm going back to look again - isn't it all just gloriously beautiful! everything! I want to go on holiday with you! x x x

Curtise said...

Oh it does look fabulous - as always, your photos capture so much beauty and colour and atmosphere. And look at you, you psychedelic Supermodel - love that frock!
The tiles are gorgeous, so is all that lovely warm stone, the beautiful church, the fabulous food... What a trip!
Yes indeed - where to next?! xxxx

Helga said...

How fecking fascinating! I can't say Israel has ever been high on my "must visit" list, but I could be swayed by your gorgeous pix!

Jade said...

Your trip looks incredible- not sure if you've read it but that prayer wall reminds me of May's wall in the Secret Life of Bees.