Being lost is fun !
Yesterday, Sunday the 14th of July, I decided to head towards the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. I entered the Old City through Damascus Gate, than strolled along the main street of the Quarter, off of which you can find, according to my map, the Austrian Hospice. I didn’t find it. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention because of all the little Arab kids playing around in the street and because of all the tourists I had to avoid, especially towards the entrance of the famous “Via Dolorosa” which is supposed to be the path Jesus took carrying his cross. People say the real path is actually a few meters below. Realistically, it probably wasn’t even there that he walked, but nevermind, pilgrims have been going up and down that street for centuries, so you could argue that’s more important than one little guy. I said you could, as in maybe, argue, so don’t be offended.
I kept walking straight ahead, wondering where I could possibly be, because I couldn’t find anything. I had to stop every five steps to look at my map or look up to see if there were any street names. There weren’t. I have a good guide book, but even tough, street names written on the map don’t always match the names written on the walls, and a lot of the streets aren’t on the map… As I started to get a little annoyed at myself and at my map, I got to a place with a security check like at the airport with Israeli soldiers (might have been policeman, can’t remember) waiting there. Slightly confused, I frowned down at my map. Suddenly, I realized that in the last few meters I’d crossed a few Jews who were pretty well dressed. No, it can’t be. I looked at my map again, feeling totally lost. How on earth did I end up here? Never mind, I’ll go take a peak, just to make sure I know where I am. Sure enough, after passing security I found myself facing the Western Wall. I stayed a few minutes just standing there, feeling a bit stupid and not knowing what to do, not knowing what I was supposed to look at. Damn you independence and not wanting to take a tour guide who would at least have helped me know about these things. Never mind, nothing much to see anyway, just a wall that people can only access if they’ve washed there hands. It does look much smaller as it appeared on photos I’d seen, tough. What’s the big deal…? I’ve even heard somewhere that it’s not the right wall and that they’re all praying in the wrong place…
I decided that was a good enough first look at it, so I walked out passed security and strolled for a bit in the Muslim quarter. I went back up the Souq and ended up at the other end of the Via Dolorosa. Curious to know what all the fuss is about, I went down the street. I kept waiting for something interesting to see, but there wasn’t. As I got towards the end of the Via Dolorosa, feeling pretty light compared to the guy who made “this” place famous, a shop holder smiled at me and said “Bonjurno!”. That’s new, no one has ever thought I looked like an Italian! I smiled back at him. Oh, wait a minute… maybe he just thought I was a part of the bunch of Italians praying in front of a very random looking door. Maybe if I had a tour guide, I would know about the story behind that door… But after all, who said being lost couldn’t be as fun as being knowledgeable?
Still no photos, I feel I need to blend a little bit more into the scenery before I get all that gear out, but be patient, it’ll come eventually. You`ll get photos when I’m tired of writing anyway.