Jerusalem

I made it

I had been informed that it was a 15 min walk from the Jerusalem bus station to the old city. I remember it being a long walk last time, but I’d figured I’d do it again anyway to save paying for a cab. An hour later, sweaty and exhausted from carrying all my bags, I arrived after being quite lost.

I love Jerusalem, time moves so much more slowly, and at the right times it’s very quiet and peaceful. My hostel is on a secluded back alley, and is quite the building. It’s a big like a network of caves inside. The best part is definitely the view from the roof, where I’m sleeping tonight, and where I’m typing this from.

Last night I met a German girl while taking photos from the roof. Turned out she had just started her career as a doctor. It was fun talking to her, and navigating the night alleys in search of food.

View from the hostel rooftop

I’m sleeping with this view tonight 🙂

The sun went down and the lights came out

A glowing bell tower

This morning, after my first full nights sleep in a long time, I had a slow start. Finally when my body began to crave some breakfast, I wandered off in search of some. I was feeling so inspired by the bliss of my breakfast that I wrote: Oh man, freshly squeezed orange juice is definitely the way to start the day. I’m lounging on a leather couch, in front of a low coffee table in a courtyard restaurant just outside the old city. A huge umbrella provides a thankful respite from the sun, and the orange juice sooths.

That’s about the speed the rest of my day took; it was very relaxing. I did the ramparts walk, thinking it would be fabulous. It was pretty cool, but a little tiring and frustrating just because it was a challenge to capture the vistas I was seeing, and I was walking through the lense, switching on and off my polarizing filter. Towards the end I sat down by a mosque and listened to the call to prayer as it echoed throughout the city. Pretty cool. Upon exiting the ramparts I found myself in the Muslim quarter. I’d never really spent much time there, and I loved it. It’s much less touristy and much more authentic feeling. The shops and stalls are selling practical things such as clothes and food instead of trinkets and souvenirs. I took my time, wandering on a small stretch of street that I found particularly vibrant, snapping photos, fighting to make the technical and artistic composition that I was hoping for. My photography is definitely still in the very technical stage, and I have yet to really find my voice. I find photographing people to be often so much rewarding that buildings and landscapes. There is something about capturing life.

Juxtaposition? Perhpaps not. This is in the heart of the Muslim quarter. I stood around for a while waiting to get this shot, unfortunately the contrast in lighting prevented me in getting what I wanted.

I took this towards the end of my ramparts stroll.

Treats in the Muslim quarter

I stopped here to write and have a glass of grapefruit juice, and do some people gazing.

I love this shot. This is in the Christian quarter closer to Jaffa gate in the more touristy section. This man is selling t-shirts that say things such as “Guns & Moses” or “Don’t worry, be Jewish”.

After a while I came to a security checkpoint, and after asking realized I’d made my way to the western wall. I haven’t really been making an effort to see everything this time, as I saw most of it last time, so I’ve just been going wherever I find myself. Anyway, I wandered down to the western wall and then back up the road along the ramparts on the other side of the city. After buying some humus and pita, I sat down with a stunning view before me and had my dinner. It was a fantastic day. I love it when you can just move slowly and take the time to let everything soak in.

The western wall. As I wandered closer, I realized I was the only person without my head covered. I guess there’s another section of the wall for tourist, that explains why a rabbi asked if my mother was Jewish as I walked in. This guy picked the perfect moment to walk into the frame.

Me enjoying my dinner, and a fantastic view.

Humus and amazing views, can you think of a better combination?

When I was exporting photos (I have to export everything from RAW files and compress it before I upload them) and I seem to have missed all the ones of the view from where I was sitting, except this one.

An ancient jungle of lives, history and religions. I believe this is the Muslim quarter.

Well, that’s enough for now I suppose. I’ll head back up to the roof, away from the internet and towards the cool Jerusalem air, and stare out at the illuminated dome of the rock and across this international city. Not sure what I’m going to do tomorrow yet. I’d like to go to the Dead Sea and Masada, but I haven’t decided how I’m going to do that yet. My options are rent a car, take a tour, or take the bus. I was thinking of staying in the hostel at the base of Masada, so I could get up and hike to the top for the sunset which is supposed to be so amazing. We’ll see how motivated I am to pull that off. I guess I’ll decide in the morning. Comment if you have any suggestions 😉 Bye for now. Hope you enjoy my attempts at photography.