Saturday 23 February -- Jerusalem on Foot

A long day of walking in Jerusalem. Because it is the Sabbath, breakfast at the hotel was very basic, compared to the wide choice we had yesterday.
  We drove first to the St. Peter in Gallicantu Church, on the traditional site of the House of Caiaphas.

An amazing bas-relief door depicts Jesus predicting Peter's denials of him.

Under the church we visited the prison where Jesus was likely held overnight before his Crucifixion and heard the horrifying descriptions of the punishment the Romans used in this place.

The Last Supper Upper Room, our next stop, is not the real room, since all of Jerusalem has been destroyed twice since then, but is in the area where the Last Supper took place, an Essene part of the city.
We walked down through the Lion Gate to the Cardo, and through the very quiet streets of the Jewish Quarter to the Western Wall. At the Tomb of David, along the way, women and men had to enter different areas. Photography was forbidden there and at the Western Wall (and all Jewish sites) because it was Shabat.

[these are telephotos from a long way back]
At the Western Wall, most of us had prayers on tiny slips of paper to place in the wall. We had time to watch the comings and goings in the area and the devotions taking place in both the men's and women's sections of the wall. The sun had come out, and most of us shed our jackets.

 We followed the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the traditional site of the Crucifixion, burial and Resurrection of Jesus. It's a massive, dark, crowded place, but Ibrahim found an area with benches where we sat and heard the story of those days read from the Bible, and prayed. [ The photo is people laying hands on the stone where they  prepared Jesus' body for burial]

Making our way into the Muslim Quarter, we enjoyed lunch at an indoor restaurant. We welcomed that, because the temperature was dropping and jackets were back on.
Walking through the bright, noisy, busy market area of the Muslim Quarter was an adventure in itself -- we kept losing track of each other amid the wonders of it all -- spices in vast, artful arrays, candy of every colour and flavour, every kind of clothing, shoes, toys, hanging whole lambs and other fresh meats, jewellery, and then at the very end, some kind of kids' carnival.

 A short walk on city streets, and we emerged into the Garden Tomb complex -- a complete contrast to the market. It is beautiful, peaceful and holy. Some theorize that it might be the actual site of the Crucifixion, burial and Resurrection, and that theory was explained to us while we toured the site. That visit ended with a very moving communion service.

The bus picked us up (finally!) and moved us to the entrance to one of the Muslim cemeteries, through which we walked to the St. Stephen's Gate and to

 St. Anne's Church and the Bethesda Pools (dry ruins now of course). We heard the story of the healing of the crippled man, and then went into the church to sing and enjoy the wonderful acoustics. When we faltered over the second verse of Amazing Grace, the priest started it from the back of the sanctuary and then led us into the third verse. After having been scolded by priests a couple times today, this was a breath of fresh air!
From there it was back to the hotel, but for several people (not us) that was just a short break before going out for dinner with local families.

Link for All the Photos of the Walking Day of Jerusalem

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