Taking the first step out of Ben Gurion airport, the first thing 2 Indian overworked mothers do? Behave like 5 yr olds let loose in a candy shop! TP and I let loose a few whoops and some tribal jinga-la-la-ho steps and sobered up enough to hunt for a cab... being a quasi-Western nation, Israel of course does not have helpful 'bhaiyyas' to carry your luggage... to cut a long story short, we took a cab to our hotel.
We stayed in East Jerusalem. Now there is a road in Jerusalem which bifurcates East and West Jerusalem.East Jerusalem was captured by Jordan when Israel was recognized as a Jewish state by the British Mandate in 1948. It was recaptured by Israel in the 6 day war in the late 60's. Perhaps because of Jordanian rule or perhaps due to its proximity to Al-Aksa, East Jerusalem is primarily Arab dominated whereas West Jerusalem is Jew-driven.... and we stayed in Arab dominated East.
We stayed in a fantastic hotel called 'Addar'. Would I have thought glowingly of it had I traveled with my son? Perhaps not.
When I looked out of the window for my first glimpse of Jerusalem, I had to remind myself to breathe.
When we set off to visit the old city, the first sight that we remember in Jerusalem was cabbages the size of melons!Vegetables so fresh that had my grandfather come with me,
The Old City is a walled area, about 1 sq. km divided purely on basis of religion into 4 quarters - Arab, Jew, Armenian and Christian. Given our hotel location (and perhaps our affiliation, but I am getting ahead of myself!) we entered the Arab quarter and were shocked. You'd think India would prepare you enough for noisy bargaining crowds, colorful stalls and disregard for any orderly movement, but it doesn't. Yet the Arab quarter isn't difficult to navigate, it is just so colorful, so lovely, yet without the filth and jostling of Indian bazaars and thankfully sans the humidity! As we walked through the Old City towards the Jaffa Gate (the entrance to the Jewish Quarters),TP and I fell in love.....
Moral of the Story: Always pack light! Always remember the moment you fall in love.