Shabbat is a busy day for the convent. The Israelis start coming on Friday evening [the day begins at sundown] and leave in the afternoon on Saturday. Everything, even the buses, shut down on Shabbat. Fortunately, they were not as messy as warned
Sunday is the start of the work week, but our day-off. So at 10 AM I met Sister K and we headed to the Old City. She showed me which buses to take, and where to take it for the journey back. I started to feel a bit nervous without 1) a map and 2) not being able to read the signs [Sister K forgot the map]. Coming near to the Old City, I was directed where to go and we parted ways. I just needed to enter through Jaffa Gate and the tourist office there will give me a map.
So I arrived at the gate and walked in and was a bit bewildered at the empty streets and closed shops. I figured I was in the Christian quarter but no tourist office was to be found. I walked a bit but decided to retrace my steps because it felt like a maze. I asked the security guard where I could find an english map and he directed me to Jaffa Street. On Jaffa, I was directed to a book store, and in it I took a look at an expensive tourist book. I finally figured out that I went in the wrong gate (actually the “New Gate”), and I had to walk further around the walls to get to the Jaffa Gate.
Finally oriented, I headed back. Even as I was approaching the gate, a man asked if I needed a guide. He was the first of many men to approach me that day. Would you like to buy something? Where are you from? Korea? Japan? I’ll take you to Bethlehem! I’ve seen you before!
Sigh, there’s no way I can blend in.
I passed through this square and into the markets
I ended up wandering around in the Moslem Quarter [it’s where all the famous Christian sites are]. The streets were tiny, crowded, and full of shops selling everything. It was around noon and the prayers were sounded on the speakers.
I finally made my way to the Via Dolorosa [The Way of Grief], and I walked it “backwards” to the Mount of Olives.
More to come….