Over the last few months it has been a little quiet here on the TR forum. During my 10 day medical school summer break, I was unable to do a lot for the first few days due to flooding in the Detroit area, In order to have something to do, I have decided to occupy myself by writing about my experiences during my internship in Israel during summer 2019. This TR covers the final 2 days leading up to Onwards and Upwards Part 2. For more information about the background to this trip, please see the original Onwards and Upwards TRs. Feedback is appreciated, and if I ever have free time (which is a rare thing for anyone in medical education) I may create more of these. The Final 2 Days
After a night spent at my program's end of program celebration, I got up around 8AM, finished packing, had a quick breakfast and walked to the nearby Yitzhack Rager Boulevard bus stop, where most North-South intercity buses stopped. When it came, I hopped onboard the 9:30 Egged bus 470, with service to Jerusalem's Central Station.
The plan for this trip was to visit a few sites in Jerusalem that I had been unable to previously visit (Al-Aqsa/Temple Mount, Knesset, Yad Vashem) before repositioning to Tel Aviv so that I was ready for my late morning flight back home.Day 1
As I exited the bus station, I activated Gett (kind of like Uber but for taxi cabs), and had a lot of difficulty connecting with my driver. Another nearby Gett driver was waiting and used a special setting on his antenna to force my app to connect to his transponder. Once I was in his car, he had me enter the address of my hotel into his GPS, which then proceeded to take us the longest route possible to my hotel. While sitting in traffic on the way to the hotel, we ended up getting rearended, although the damage was minor so we continued driving on.
Eventually we arrived at the Hotel Montefiore-- which was probably the nicest hotel that you could get for just over $100 a night. On arrival I quickly checked in, dropped my baggage off in my room and then began the short walk to the old city of Jerusalem. Once inside the old city I began to make my way towards my first stop--lunch. After a little bit of searching, I was able to find the shawarma shop that the tour guide my parents hired prior to my internship recommended as the best shawarma shop in the Old City. After grabbing my lunch, I made my way towards the western wall, and about 40 minutes prior to its opening, I got in line to visit the Al-Aqsa mosque.
My lunch. Not the best shawarma out there but it was still pretty tasty.
An architectural dig near the line for entry to the Al-Aqsa Mosque
Around 1/1:30PM (when the site opens to tourists), the line began to move. After a little wait, I was at the first of 2 checkpoints, which was kind of like airport security. Once you got past that checkpoint, you had to walk on a boardwalk past these lockers where you had to leave all Judaica. Just past the lockers were a group of young Hasidic Jews either praying as close as they could get to the Temple Mount OR watching and trying to prevent any Jewish people from entering the mount. Once you got past them, some men from the Waqf were standing by asking visitors a few basic questions and making sure that they were dressed appropriately. Once through both checkpoints I proceeded to wander around for a couple hours.
More beautiful trees
The actual Al-Aqsa mosque.
Non-Muslims are unable to enter the mosque, although my Turkish Muslim friend who went into the mosque commented that it didn't feel like a holy place inside, because when she was there she didn't see many people reflecting/praying. Instead, she saw families were sitting around, sharing food, and kids were playing
Amazing blue mosaic work.
Outbuilding with arches.
After a while wandering around the complex, I stopped into the bathroom. A few minutes after I exited, some random guy came up to me and started asking me questions about where I entered the complex. After I answered he told me to stay put and went off to grab someone else. After a few minutes, I decided that he probably was not an official and I just left and exited the complex.
I then proceeded to walk through the Arab Souq located in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's old city. While there, I stopped into Jafar Sweets where I grabbed desert and cooled down with some iced water.
M'tabak with cream and pistachio
After my little treat, I finished walking through the Arab Souq (I didn't take any pictures because whenever I'm in markets I try not to look like a tourist). Once I was done in the Souq I exited via the Damascus gate and began walking back to my hotel along the outside of the Old City.
Instead of KFC its AFC
The birthplace of the Virgin Mary
After a long walk, I returned to my hotel and rested up. After it had cooled down outside, I walked over to the Israeli Supreme Court and the Knesset.
The view of Jerusalem
The Israeli Supreme Court
After visiting the Knesset I headed to the Mahane Yehuda Market to grab dinner. I grabbed my main course from the Jachnun Bar. Jachnun is a Jewish-Yemenite pastry that is slow cooked. Traditionally, it is served with grated tomato and zhug, although the Jachnun bar serves it with many different fillings.
Seeing as I had done close to 20 miles of walking, I decided to wander the market and pick up a few additional light bites.
A piece of fried Kibbeh (ground lamb that has been coated in bulgur and then fried)
A single piece of Turkish delight. I got some weird looks from the guy selling it when I told him I just wanted 1 piece.
Desert Part 2
After finishing up at Mahane Yehuda, I returned to the hotel room, washed up and got ready for bed.Day 2
I started out the day with the hotel's free breakfast, which was high quality and had a great (although slightly eclectic selection)
Is that Gnocchi for breakfast? I think it is?
After breakfast I finished packing and checked out from my hotel room. I then hopped onto Jerusalem's new light rail system and traveled out to Yad Vashem (Israel's Holocaust memorial/museum). The first 2 times I tried to visit Yad Vashem the trip got cancelled (first due to the 2014 Missile Crisis and then because my dad hurt his ankle). This time I actually made it, and I spent a few hours touring the grounds and the associated museum
Yad Vashem grounds
Yad Vashem grounds
Yad Vashem grounds
After spending a few hours at Yad Vashem, I hopped on the light rail system and returned to the Machane Yehuda Market to pick up lunch. While there were quite a few restaurants I was thinking about visiting, I ended up settling on Rahmo-- an Iraqi Jewish restaurant that I had visited earlier in the summer.
Marek Kubbeh Adom-- a soup made with Semolina dumplings stuffed with meat and then simmered with beets.
One last knaffeh
After lunch I returned to the hotel, picked up my bags, and took a Gett back to the Jerusalem Central Bus Station. Once at the station I hopped on Egged-Tavura Bus 425, which took a meandering route across the West Bank before dropping people off at various outer suburbs of Tel Aviv. I got off in Or Yehuda, and then walked a short distance with my baggage to the Airport Guest House. Once there, I checked in, dropped my bags off in my room and then immediately turned around and hopped onto a local bus to head to beach to watch the sunset on the Mediterranean.
Sunset on the beaches of Tel Aviv
After watching the sunset, I walked over to the Sarona Market (a large indoor food market) to grab dinner and breakfast for the next day.
Yummy Morrocan meatball sandwich from Chicho's
Assorted Middle Eastern pastries for desert
I don't entirely recall what this is but this made for a tasty breakfast the next day.
And that takes you to Onwards and Upwards Part 2Logbook and Previous Trip Reports
offers a comparison of all the short haul flights that I have taken.
2020Flying Into the Future Part 3: Delta ALB-DTW-ALB
2019Flying into the Future Part 2: Southwest ALB-BWI-ALBFlying into the Future Part 1: Delta ALB-DTW, American DTW-PHL-ALBOnwards and Upwards Part 2: Air Canada TLV-YUL-BOSOnwards and Upwards Part 1: Swiss and El Al BOS-ZRH-TLV
2018The Milwaukee Way WN BOS-MKE-BOSPorting it to and from TorontoSouthwest to Milwaukee and Back (with a surprise)Air France, CSA Czech Air, and Alitalia to Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest
2016From my Archives: Summer '16 rescheduled and delayed with Iberia, Vueling, and British Airways
2015From my Archives Summer '15 Shuttle America: Do they actually meet Delta's Standards?
2014From my Archives: Summer '14 Returning from Israel One of the Only Ways Available El AlFrom my Archives: Summer '14 Outward bound to Poland and Israel with LHFrom my Archives: Winter '14 From Sunny Spain to Snowy Boston, KLM and Delta to BostonFrom My Archives: From the Snow to the Just Plain Cold-- 2014 British Airways BOS-LHR-ORY