Ronn - that was a great report - thanks! It's always good to hear how families enjoyed their visit to Jerusalem and that the hotel met their expectations and helped to create a good atmosphere.
A couple of small corrections with additional comments, though, if you don't mind.
The neighborhood with the cobblestone streets is Yemin Moshe (not Neve Moshe) and you're right - it was built in the late 19th century as a follow up to Mishkenot Sha'ananim, the first Jewish neighborhood outside the walled city. Hope you also saw the little museum in the windmill - it displays the life of Sir Moses Montifiore who was responsible for the building of Mishkenot Sha'ananim and for whom Yemin Moshe is named! A replica (the original burned) of his carriage is displayed nearby. Lots of the residents of Yemin Moshe are artists, writers and such - it's a great place to stroll, and often during holidays (usually Pesach and Succot), you'll encounter outdoor theater there as a local troupe recreates life in Jerusalem in the early 20th century.
The park with the play structures (only 5 minutes walk from the Mt. Zion Hotel) is, I'm sure, Liberty Bell Park - did you see the replica of the Liberty Bell, crack & all? and did the children climb onto statues of gray donkeys, some missing ears? Independence Park is a little further on towards town (off Agron & King George Streets, behind the Sheraton Hotel, and winding around to Hillel and Rabbi Akiva Streets). Also, across the street from Liberty Bell Park is Bloomfield Park which has the wonderful Lion Fountain (a gift from Helmut Kohl of Germany to the citizens of Jerusalem)... you can stroll through Bloomfield Park from the fountain, along behind the King David Hotel and along the upper part of Yemin Moshe, to another garden area with benches called Bustan Avraham and then to the Zionist Confederation House which hosts lots of wonderful musical and other cultural events and has a great restaurant (Figs) to boot! Keep going and you'll soon reach Chutsot Hayotser, the Arts & Crafts Lane, to meet lots of wonderful local artists and see their work (and even buy some)!
The German Colony is great, as you said (one of my favorite parts of town, especially for food!), but while you are enjoying the cafes, great shopping and little parks there, be sure to take in the late 19th century German architecture as well as the folk-dancing and occasional community fairs at the International Cultural Center for Youth! Oh, and the Smadar Theater (originally the Orient Cinema, built in the early 20th century) offers not only good movies, but has a terrific little cafe as well - that's a good place to meet the locals!
If you walked to Jaffa Gate, I'm guessing you walked on down the road, under the pedestrian bridge? You may have missed the little turn to the right and the steps down the side of the hill (just after you go under that pedestrian bridge)? If so, you missed seeing the Cinematheque which also contains the Israel Film Archive, a repository of thousands and thousands of films from all over the world, and boasts a very nice restaurant - Cacao - where you can sit on the veranda to eat and enjoy the great view! Further down the road (Derek Hevron), you would walk across a bridge, which is actually the dam that Herod built across the Hinnom Valley and which created (on the north side of it) the "Pool of the Serpents". When Sultan Suleimein rebuilt the walls of the Old City, he also fixed up the dam and added a fountain and his inscription. Today, we call the "pool" area "Sultan's Pool" (a much nicer name, don't you think?). In the summer, there are concerts and events there almost constantly, including the opening of the Jerusalem International Film Festival (the 23rd annual festival opened just last week) and the annual Jerusalem International Arts & Crafts Festival, slated for August, as usual.
suzanne pomeranz, jerusalem, israel