I went to Jerusalem today and I have to admit I’m overwhelmed! My first thought was “Moloch” (in German we use this expression for a huge, crazy, somehow ugly city, in English the phrase might be “Behemoth“). Unlike Tel Aviv Jerusalem was very crowded and very loud the moment I left the central bus station, and I almost immediately got lost. But let’s start with the easy part: my colleague told me that there was no need for the offered tourist trips, the guy at the reception told me a guided tour was highly recommended, for Jerusalem is no easy city. Well, I wanted to stay independent (and I hate to get up early in the morning! ), so I decided to go on my own. The buses to Jerusalem start at Tel Aviv Central Bus Station, the largest central bus station in the world. In order to get there I had to take bus line no. 4, which is served by so called “Sheh-Roots” (I hope I didn’t misspell it), van-sized taxis that stop anytime on their route when you want to hop on (you have to wave) or hop off (just tell the driver). It costs the same as regular buses (5,80 NIS), and when you want to pay the driver, but sit in the back (he drives on the second you are in, you better sit down quickly), you just hand your money from one passenger to the other, your change comes back the same way. Very nice! While entering the Central Bus Station your bags will be checked, but no worries, it’s all for your security. Inside it’s not so easy to orientate oneself, when your’re not used to such big stations. Luckily I knew that “Egged” is going to Jerusalem, otherwise it would probably have taken me hours to find the right floor. So I just had to buy my round-trip ticket (33,50 NIS), and off I was!
It takes about 45 minutes to get from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by bus, but this was not enough time for me to get ready. I guessed, Jerusalem would be no problem ’cause I found Tel Aviv very easy to walk around and find places I was looking for. But Jerusalem is a little bigger than I thought, you don’t have the sea for orientation, and the heavy road works next to the bus station (and in fact all along Jaffa street) drove me nuts. It took some time to find my way to the Old City and Jaffa Gate, and when I arrived I really wanted a guide! That was exactly the same moment I saw a guy in a red shirt holding up a sign that said “Free Tour” in capital letters … www.neweuropetours.eu offer tours in many cities (for detailed information check their website), and I was glad to be in the right time in the right place, so I joined the free 3 h Jerusalem Tour. Our guide Kobi took us through all four Old City quarters, we saw the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western (Wailing) Wall, Temple Mount with the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, the in our days “underground” Roman Cardo, had an incredible rooftop view, and so much more! After such an amount of holiness all I could do was have dinner in the Rehov Ben Yehuda pedestrian area and then walk back to the central bus station … You definitely need more than one day to explore the Holy City, there is so much to see and learn, and I do recommend a guide: Will come back one day!