Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More of the Old City.

A building in the Armenian Quarter.

After I finished the tour of the City of David, I headed into the Jewish Quarter to to visit the Wohl Archeological Museum. I knew or at least I thought I knew exactly where the museum was and so I headed in that direction. Heading down the stairs that led me to the observation platform, overlooking the Western Wall Plaza, where I was yesterday, I followed the sign marker to the museum. Unforunately, what I thought was the entry was actually the exit. :-(


I found a bench to sit on and took out my guidebook to get the museum's address and then I looked it up on the map. I headed out in search of the museum and damned if I couldn't find it. I then got happily distracted by smells of yummy food. I hadn't had any breakfast and it was nearing 1pm; I was hungry. I found a small carryout restaurant and ordered a shawarma in pita and a lemonade. The shawarma was filled with hummus, different types of veggies, pickles, chicken shawarma, french fries all topped with a drizzle of tahini. I found a side walk table to sit at and I truly enjoyed my lunch. The sandwich was absolutely scrumptious!!

Nice little carryout place for lunch in the Jewish Quarter.
 As I ate my lunch I realized I was way short on cash; a visit to an ATM was in order as I did not have enough shekels to pay for my entry ticket to the museum.

I tried not to gulp down my sandwich but I was hungry. I forced myself to take sensible bites, between which I would sip on the very flavorful lemonade and people watch. It was a very relaxing meal.
 
Very scrumptious sandwich!  The French fries, stuffed into the pita, was a perfect touch of deliciousness!

After I took my last bite, I went in search of an ATM. I passed several by as they were all those free standing ones that you often see inside souvenir shops. I always think those are a bit iffy to use. I then noticed several European tourists huddled around what appeared to be a bank ATM. I stood behind them and was then soon joined by a local Israeli Jew carrying his young son. I figured this was a safe bet. I let the young man go ahead of me.....I know what it's like to be standing behind someone who doesn't what they're doing and you're essentially forced to waste time while they figure things out.

When it came to be my turn, the ATM was like any other ATM. I got my cash and headed off to once again try and find the Wohl museum.

On my way up a set of steps, I heard the voice of a person who sounded like he was a guide. I asked him for directions to the museum and he told me to follow him. We headed back down the stairs and he pointed to where I needed to go. Simple enough though the entrance to the museum is not marked so it is not easy to find!

Inside there was a young woman sitting behind a desk who spoke no English. Above her head was a plaque with the various tour options printed on it. I opted for the museum only and the adult ticket cost 18 shekels.....affordable!

Back in King Herod's days, the present day Jewish Quarter was part of a wealthy "Upper City", occupied for the most part by the families of important Jewish priests. In 1967, the remains of several houses were unearthed here. This rediscovered Herodian quarter now lies from 3 to 7 meters (10 to 22 feet) below present day street level, underneath a modern building. The Wohl Archeological Museum was built around the ruins. As I walked through the museum, it reminded me of the Terrace Houses in Ephesus, Turkey except those were grander homes and the ruins better preserved. There wasn't all that much to see and so it didn't take me long to make it to the exit and the sign that I thought marked the entrance.


Back outside, I decided it was time to leave the Old City and head for my next destination, the market at Mahane Yehuda.

I decided to walk through the Armenian quarter to head back to Jaffa Gate. How different this neighborhood is from the others. Close your eyes and you don't hear Hebrew or Arabic. I presume it's Armenian being spoken. Look in the art galleries and in the food stores and everything is either from Armenia or of Armenian culture. Even the restaurants serve mainly Armenian dishes.

Walking through the Armenian Quarter

It's not Hebrew; it's Armenian!

From Jaffa Gate, I made my way back to the City Hall light rail station and bought a ticket.  This is my last afternoon, sightseeing on my own, so it's time for a trip to Mahane Yehuda!