Local Time: Afternoon, April 24, 2015
After about 50 minutes on the shuttle bus, we arrived in front of the “Jaffo Gate” in the Old City of Jerusalem. On the way, as we were passing through the bustling narrow area on the New City side, I saw a lot of people in black suits, white shirts, and black silk hats walking around. The so-called ultra-orthodox Jews. I strongly felt that I had come to the land of the Jews.
The hotel is just a few steps from the Jaffo Gate. Right in front of the Tower of David. It was past noon when I arrived, and it seemed that the hotel was not cleaned yet, so I left my big luggage at the reception and went to the city.
Anyway, we headed to the most famous monument nearby, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The area on the way to the church is called “Arab Street”. The goods fished up to the ceiling high in the narrow alley, densely lined up from the floor to the ceiling, it looks like a Don Quijote shop.
The old town is like a maze. And very narrow. We arrived at the first destination, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, though we were a little lost. It was crowded with a lot of people.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre: The church standing on the hill of Golgotha where Jesus Christ was executed.
“The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is said to be on Golgotha Hill, where Jesus Christ was condemned to death, walked with his cross on his back, and finally arrived and was executed. Time passed, and around the 4th century of the Roman Empire, Helena, the mother of Emperor Constantine, who recognized Christianity as a border, built a church on this Golgotha Hill. And this is where the tomb of Jesus Christ is located.
After this, we are going to follow the Via Dolorosa, the path where Jesus Christ walked with the cross on his back, so I will mention the details there. There were several holy points, one of which was the platform where Jesus’ body was supposedly placed, and many believers were kneeling in front of it. There were many believers kneeling in front of the platform, especially since it was Friday, the day of Jesus Christ’s execution.
In addition, there were many queues at the tomb of Jesus Christ, so we decided to avoid it for the time being.
Via Dolorosa, the way Jesus Christ walked with the cross on his back.
Via Dolorosa. This is the road along which Jesus Christ was sentenced to death about 2,000 years ago, and immediately afterwards was made to carry the cross on his back and walked to the hill of Golgotha.
Now it’s a narrow street with a lot of tourists and Don Quixote-like souvenir shops. And it was also Friday, so many people were walking along the path that Christ followed, singing a prayer song.
There are several points called “stops” in this Via Dolorosa. The third stop, for example, is “the place where Jesus first stumbled under the weight of the cross. These numbers are in Roman numerals and some stops have carvings. On the last day of my stay in Jerusalem, I took another photo of the Via Dolorosa, so I will introduce all the stops in a later diary.
Jerusalem’s first lunch was a kebab
It was 14:00 and I hadn’t eaten anything since this morning. So we had a late lunch by the 3rd and 4th stop. From the feeling I got from walking around the old town so far, there were almost no western style cafes or restaurants. There are only places like snacks and fast food. Middle East is such a feeling?
Nevertheless, the kebabs I had here were very tasty. The price was 60 shekels, or about 1,800 yen in Japanese yen, including Coke. I don’t know what the prices are in Israel yet, but I feel that the price is rather expensive in shekels (the currency of Israel). From my experience of staying there for a few days, I thought it would have been good to have some dollars with me.
Finally checked in, very early bedtime.
We then walked to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and finished our sightseeing for the day. It is 16:30 at this point. We return to the hotel. The room has been cleaned and we finally go to our room.
I was in Narita directly after work, and I had slept four hours the day before. Although I was able to sleep well on the Turkish Airlines flight at midnight, I was at my physical limit. I fell asleep at 18:00 without eating dinner or taking a shower. I’m glad I took a shower at Narita. (To be continued)