Thursday was the beginning of two whirlwind days with our tour guide, Toby http://tobyabrams.com . Toby was a fabulous guide; extremely knowledgable, energetic, and entertaining! And, oh, by the way, seven months pregnant.
Our first tour was called Back Alleys of the Old City. We made our way through the back alleys of the Muslim, Christian and Jewish quarters. Toby discussed the history of the area, visiting sites and sects that are less well known.
On our way back to the apartment we encountered a Bar Mitzvah procession make it’s way joyfully through the streets.
We enjoyed the view of the Western Wall from our balcony before heading out for dinner with Janet and Myra and our evening tour with Toby.
Our tour that evening was, for me, the most fascinating. We walked through the different Ultra Orthodox neighborhoods that are less known in Jerusalem. Toby discussed the history of the area and the different dress codes that separate between the sects.The tour touched upon Israeli politics today, daily customs, Army issues and how the Orthodox, Reform and Conservatives broke off from these groups. We ended with a visit to local bakeries in the area which stay open all night on Thursday, baking for the Sabbath. We got to watch the bakers work and taste, fresh from the oven, Challah (Sabbath bread) and pastries. There was a protest going on and garbage cans were being burned in the streets. That part was a little scary! Click on a photo to make it larger.
Faces of Jerusalem
Needless to say, we are exhausted at the end of each day. We track our steps and walk 5-6 miles/day!