The road to Jerusalem is a short distance highway from Ein Gedi. It’s a busy city, clean and organised with decent roads and many religious tourists on the streets that came to Israel searching for divine inspiration.
We have lost all our Jerusalem pictures from the SD cards and most of Israel. These pictures are some we were able to bring back from the dead with recovery software.
My GPS maps were not working properly. We had the idea of finding a hostel or backpackers close to the Old city and then walk there for the afternoon for some sightseeing. As we circled the Old city with its maze of small roads and no-entry signs we suddenly found ourselves smack in the middle of the Old city.
The deep noise from our bikes exhaust pipes drew some irritated stares from bystanders while we rode into the Old city. There were police walking around chasing cars out of the Old city but lucky for us not bikes. The roads inside the Old city are small cobble ways and not really made for cars.
Some bikes were parked next to the one wall and we quickly pushed our bikes next to them. I caught the eye of one policeman and asked whether our bikes would be safe while we explore the Old City, to which he replied that they are there all day and pointed out some of the cameras around.
The Old city is like a busy beehive on Meth’s. Overcrowded with tourist and religious visitors pushing and shoving through the small streets. Some groups praying on street corners and around ancient relics. And of course like many other such places scattered with small shops selling plastic tourist stuff, cell phone paraphernalia and cheap China fake religious made rosaries. Genuine authentic never to be repeat 2000 year old rugs and papyrus scrolls are on offer at discount prices.
The Muslim community sees the Old city as theirs and the Jewish community as theirs. And with that, both live and work there every day in seeming harmony. We might miss some of the nuances of love towards each other. As for them, they might not feel so brotherly towards each other but that was how it came over for us.
The prayer wall was worth visiting. It is stuffed with small pieces of paper into each crack and crevice in reach of people. Whether religious or not, it is the one thing in Jerusalem that is a must see.
Just a short stay in the Old city we decided to head for Tel-Aviv. We were told that Tel-Aviv is a groovy hip happening spot. Tel-Aviv’s greatest allure is unquestionably its Mediterranean seashore, which gives the city a Miami- or Rio-style sense of ease and openness. Some people even tried to convince us Tel-Aviv is a small New York city. I will not go that far.
On our way into Tel-Aviv a man on a scooter passed us, big grin on his face waving his hand gesturing for us to pull off the road. We have just stopped and before having time to get off the bikes he came over and introduced himself as Jakob Samuel, art dealer, avid biker and traveller. He invited us to the only BMW motorcycle repair shop in Tel-Aviv.
In typical exuberant travellers fashion we were chattering away like old friends that saw each other for the first time in years. Sharing stories and advice while enjoying the coffee and biscuits he served. More of Jakob’s friends joined us later on, all of them a friendly bunch of people.