Of course, I also took pictures! Here is the first part of the selection I have for you:
We based ourselves in Jerusalem, which was a neat city to be in. It's old and new, religious and secular, Middle Eastern and European. We were right in the downtown area, in a hostel right on Zion Square, called the Jerusalem Hostel. They're an okay outfit, except for the bit where they don't mention that you're arriving on the last day of Pesach (Israel celebrates for seven days; a lot of non-Israeli Jews celebrate for eight, which is why we were confused), and that their reception will be closed all day, leading you to spend eight hours sitting around Zion Square until they deign to let you in. Fortunately, we did manage to talk our way into the lobby for part of that time. Here's the place:
One of the things we learned is that Jerusalem has cats the way a lot of American cities have squirrels. The street cats are very skinny and scraggly, but also adorable. Little Sister Pony was especially entranced, since she really missed her own kitty.
When it's not devoid of life on account of Shabbat or another holiday, Zion Square is home to lots of street performers. Some are fairly ordinary buskers. And some . . . are not.
One of the things we loved was the café culture. Little Sister Pony adores good coffee and breakfast in the mornings, so we tried out lots of different coffee places. Holy Bagel had the best name, but for overall food and drink selection and people-watching, we liked Café Hillel the best. We loved sitting outside and checking out morning life on Jaffa Street.
Jerusalem has a public transit system of city buses, but it's now getting street trams as well. The trams are almost operational as of this writing; we saw training runs all the time, and I suspect that the trams will be operational in a month or so. The trams are so new that the seats are still wrapped in bubble wrap!
We saw this weird bunny graffiti everywhere. I guess even graffiti goes in fads.
Little Sister Pony made me take a picture of this piece of street art. It's about six and a half feet high. LSP thinks it's awesome. I think it's hideous. Thoughts?
For something more attractive, how about this? I think it's an old hospital; anyway, it's one of the lovelier examples of nineteenth-century architecture around the center of Jerusalem.
On our first full day there, we decided to take a tour of the Old City. There are free tours that run every day at 11:00 from the Jaffa Gate. So we moseyed down to the Jaffa Gate, stopping to take pictures of the view along the way:
What did we see inside? That remains to be seen in the next picspam . . .