Jerusalem is just 60km from Amman and I have been excited about the prospect of visiting ever since I moved out here. After a number of abortive trips, I finally managed to organise a visit when my sister and friend came to stay.
Despite it being close in distance terms, there is a small matter of a border crossing to deal with. Due to an insane amount of bureaucracy, the time that it takes to get there can vary…massively! The King Hussein (Allenby Bridge) crossing is just a short drive from Amman. But in true Jordanian fashion, nothing is clear when you arrive. There are no signs indicating where to go, or where to start the process, which involves varies slips of paper being passed from ticket booth, handing over money and having the car checked. Thankfully, I had been well briefed by friends in Amman on exactly were to go and what to do and had a step-by-step guide!!
Soon we were driving across no-mans land to the Israeli side (which, although no clearer directions, was far more efficient!!) and then on to Jerusalem.
We spent the day wandering around the Old City, meandering through the maze of alleyways, taking in the sights and smells. I was mesmerized by how quickly everything could change depending on which Quarter you were in. We visited the Holy Sepulchre. We walked to the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane. It all felt a bit surreal!
We topped the day off with a few well-deserved rooftop cocktails and dinner at the Mamilla Hotel, over looking the Old City.
We got up early the next morning to squeeze in a quick visit to the West Bank and Bethlehem. We drove through the checkpoints and into the narrow streets, along the Wall, winding our way to the Church of the Nativity, followed by a walk through the bustling markets and topped off with some amazing food in Manger Square. We even stumbled across a Banksy.
I definitely left wanting to explore more. Until next time…..next stop….Tel Aviv!