Via Dolorosa: a somewhat crowded pilgrimage

Just in time for Holy Week, here comes an account of my last day in Jerusalem, encompassing visits to Rachel’s Tomb, the Mount of Olives, and the Via Dolorosa. Among the lanes in Jerusalems Old City, the Via Dolorosa marks the last steps of Jesus Christ prior to his crucification, and is a scantily marked, mostly pedestrian street that winds through the Muslim Quarter into the Christian Quarter and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site where Jesus Christ was crucified and buried. While the Church...

Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh… gifts to bring back from Israel

Compared to most countries in Europe, including my native Germany, Israel is a rather expensive country. Ryanair hand luggage limitations and an already full apartment aside, my shopping sprees where somewhat limited by my 500 EURO budget for the entire trip, including flights, accommodation, food and local transport. Did I manage? Yes – but I ate nothing but hummus and falafel all week and I skipped those pretty gifts like silver mezuzah cases  and Roman coin earrings. So, please read on if you’re  interested in frugal but nice...

The other side of the Wall: A journey to Rachel’s Tomb

To be honest with you: I first heard of the existence of Rachels Tomb when seeing the Destination Boards of Bethlehem-bound buses: Rachels’ Tomb/Checkpoint 300. It is not without irony that the place where the Hebrew Matriarch Rachel is buried now signifies a checkpoint between what can only be described as two separate countries: Israel and Palestine, and that is frequently the scene of conflict between the two flaring up. On my visit Bethlehem, I noticed how oddly the wall was shaped close to the checkpoint, it looked...

Is it safe to visit the Mount of Olives?

In peaceful times, a trip up the Mount of Olives, for the stunning view over the Old City and the Temple Mount, is part of every itinerary of Jerusalem. Wonderful vistas aside, the Mount of Olives is also one of the sites where Jesus Christ is said to have been departed the Earth to be with God. Even older is the Jewish Cemetery, which has been present on the slopes of the hill for over 3000 years and to this day is a very sought-after burial place,...

Arriving in the Holy Land and Jerusalem – finally!

Jerusalem – Holy City of three faiths, contested for millennia, a destination that has long been on my list of places I wish to visit in my lifetime. For a long time, the Second Intifada put a stop to that, then I couldn’t find anyone to travel with or my mother told me she would be worried sick if I went, and I was never sure I wanted to go there all by myself.   Of course I could have joined a tour. Perhaps a Christian tour?...