Sunday, 11 March 2012

Jerusalem (part 1)

a.k.a Al-Quds in arabic.

I could honestly write a massive essay about how beautiful Jerusalem is, and what great experiences we've had, but it would probably bore the pants off of you, so I'll try to keep this post as succinct as I :D

I'm gunna post the pics n stuff in bits, because it will just be an incredibly boring long blah fest if I did it all in one post!

The firs part of this blog is quite wordy, and is just me venting about my initial shitty experience, so feel free to skip the sob story and look at the pics 

So if you've read my previous post you'll know that the trip didn't start off too great! We arrived in Tel Aviv at Ben Gurion airport (Thanks for remembering the name Arch Beast!) at approximately 6pm Israeli time, 4pm UK time.

We got held back for security, as expected, being muslims!
But it wasn't really a big deal, I kinda understood why they would wanna be extra secure with people who belonged to a faith they are kinda beefing with! So we ended up waiting for them to check our passports and blah blah out for 2 blooming hours.

I honestly would not have minded so much if there was somewhere to get food from!!
The flight from Manchester was 5 hours, and we only had a packet of crisps on the flight as we weren't really anticipating a long wait, but with no vending machines or shops near where we were waiting, we were extra grumpy and agitated.

So finally we get the all clear, and we head out and jump in a taxi to Jerusalem, which was appx 35mins from the airport.  My first impressions of the place was that it was very clean and so scenic! There are literally mountains and fields everywhere you look!

So me and my family being tired and hungry, set off in search for our apartment after the taxi dropped us off at the address we gave him.
We walked around in circles for about 15 mins, dazed and confused, and then finally I rang the guy who we owns the apartment.  He told us to walk down some nasty alley way (he didn't call it nasty, but it really was disgusting) and lead me to the apartment.

Now if you've read my last post you'll know what a shit tip the place was.
I regret not taking pictures of the place!! But I was honestly in so much shock that I didn't think to take some snaps of that atrocity.
Anyway, I immediately rang the guy and told him what a liar he was, and how the pictures he put up on where COMPLETELY different from the actual place, and that we did not feel safe staying here, so were going to go find a proper hotel to stay in instead (I mean, the front door handle fell off when I opened it for God's sake!!)

The guy was angry at this point and was all like 'Are you calling me a liar!?!'
To which I replied 'Yes you massive twat!!'  and hung up.
I didn't actually call him a massive twat, but I wanted to, so yeah.

at this point, it was about 10pm, and we were tired, hungry, and shelterless!
Thankfully  a wonderful taxi driver called Salaah pulled over for us, and after explaining our situation to him, he drove us to the 'Capitol Hotel'.  Once we dropped off our luggage in the hotel he drove us to a restaurant so we could stuff our faces!

Lamb Shawarma

Chippy Chips!

Mint Tea
I've had Shawarma's a few time in Manc, but I've never really liked it.  This Shawarma however, was delicious! My brothers Lasagne was so good too, and of course, no matter where on the earth we are, we have to have chips!

After eating so much that our bellies nearly exploded, we went back to the hotel and slept.

This is where the holiday got better.
We had a really busy day, first we went to Al-Aqsa (the collective term for Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock), then we went to see some Churches around the old city, popped in to see the Wailing Wall, and then went to the Mount of Olives, where they had the most amazing view of Jerusalem's Old City! 

Now Jerusalem is split into the Old city and the New city.  The Old city is the busiest place, and is where most of the significant events in the Abrahamic faiths happened (or are thought to have happened, depending on your religious beliefs!).

The heart of the old city is surrounded by these huge walls that are between 16-50 feet high (depending on the area) and are appx 10 ft thick!! The walls surround the heart of the old city for about 3/4 miles, and have about 11 gates to enter and leave.  Each gate is usually attached to one of the quarters that make up the old city. 

The four quarters are:
  • The Muslim quater (Al-aqsa masjid)
  • The Christian quarter (Church of the Holy Sepulchre)
  • The Jewish quarter (The western/wailing wall)
  • The Armenian quarter 
Our hotel was a 5 minute walk to Herod's Gate and Damascus Gate, so we were really lucky location wise!

I think the most popular languages are Arabic and Hebrew, but most people speak little or some english thankfully! 

Walking around the Old City wasn't much of a culture shock for us.  We've been going to Pakistan since we were kids, and we've been to Dubai and Marrakech so were familiar with the hustle and bustle of souks, the staring and the begggin! Oh the begging!
But if you've never been to any places like that, then it will defo be a big culture shock for you! In a good way though :)

Dome of the Rock

Inside Dome of the Rock

Inside Haram Al-Sharif (term for Courtyard of Al Aqsa and Dome of the Rock)

Al Aqsa

Al Aqsa

Dome of the Rock

Salaam, Peace, Shalom
True say <3

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
(feel free to educate me about this place! It's beautiful but I know nothing about it)

Golden Cross on Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Evangelistic Church of the Redeemer

More Shawarma!

Old City walls

Damascus Gate, the busiest gate in the Old City for the Souks


Souks again

Wailing Wall
You can see the Dome of Al Aqsa Mosque on the right!

Wailing Wall

View of Old City from Mount of Olives


Dome of Ascension, Where Jesus is believed to have ascended to heaven from

I'll upload the rest of the pics from Wednesday and Thursday tomorrow, and will try to explain some the the religious significance of the places we've seen :D

Hope you enjoy xo


  1. Wow those are some amazing views :) I think going so long without food would be worth it for a meal like that too :P

    1. Honestly, I wish there was smellivison or something, pictures don't do justice! was so good!

  2. Fantastic! My Mother and Father have been to Jerusalem, and were very moved at how beautiful the place is. Look forward to part two!

    1. It's amazing! You can't deny how spiritually charged the place is :D

  3. I would have taken the door handle home. Then, when you told the story to your friends, they would be drawn in by the dramatic proof.
    The pictures are beautiful, and I am disgusted with myself for thinking about all the great shopping I could do there.

    1. I probably would've smacked someone with the door handle out of anger when remembering how terrible the place was!

      My Lord the shopping was extortionate there! Malls are very pricey! Be warned. The souks are good though as long as ou can haggle ;)

  4. WOW Amazing pics.....looks like a beautiful place & the food looks gr8!

  5. that was a lovely post! and you're so sweet as to not get angry at the security officials for holding you up because of your faith. even though I'm Muslim too, and luckily nothing of the sort has ever happened to me, news of this being regular always offends and hurts me.

    anyway! good to know you got over the hurdles and enjoyed a beautiful trip! the pictures are LOVELY and im going to read part 2 ryt away!

    ps- the shawarma looks wayyyyyyy too yummy!