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Just 2 days in Jerusalem

Melbourne, Australia
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110 posts
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Just 2 days in Jerusalem

I know it's not enough time but me and my fiancé are coming to Israel in late May for the first time and have just 2 days to explore Jerusalem.

We have found that many of the private guides we've emailed are charging fairly high fees so for us joining a group, finding a cheaper private guide or doing it ourselves is the solution.

We'll be staying in Douglas' favorite Three Arches and want to see Yad Vashem, the underground tunnels and since our 2nd day is on a Friday, being at the Western Wall for sunset (we hear it's worthwhile). Then if possible we've heard it's possible to arrange to join a local family for Shabbat.

So how best to split the days?

Thursday: Four Quarters Tour (Zion Walking Tour) and the Underground Tunnels

Friday: See the New City ourselves and make it back to the Western Wall in time for sunset?

How does that sound or would we be better off taking another Zion Walking Tour/United/Egged etc?

Thanks as always!

Cincinnati, Ohio
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for Israel
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1. Re: Just 2 days in Jerusalem

I think that sounds doable.

You won't get private, licensed guides cheaper, and it's not fair to ask it. You can do other tours with Zion Walking Tours, and that is cheaper. Their website is http://zionwt.dsites1.co.il (no “www.”).

Have fun -- and enjoy the YMCA! I'm there ia little over four weeks!

Douglas Duckett

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2. Re: Just 2 days in Jerusalem

There are walking tours organised on the Saturday, for free, by the Municipality. These are the English tours for May -

KING GE0RGE ST 3.5.08

NORTHERN WALLS 10.5.08

SHIVTEI ISRAEL ST. 17.5.08

CHRISTIAN QUARTER 24.5.08

HINOM VALLEY 31.5.08

The tours start from the Russian Compound, 32 Jaffa Road, on Saturday at 10 am. and last appr. three hours.

rebekay
11 posts
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3. Re: Just 2 days in Jerusalem

Hi Captain, I just read your message in my inbox. And yes, coincidently my husband and I also had only two days to spend in Jerusalem (my first visit also). We just got back a few days ago.

There were many things we wanted to do (and did) including going going to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre... and also being at the Western Wall on Friday for sunset. In addition, my husband had two Israeli friends he wanted to get together with, so we had a lot to cram in just two days.

Given our time frame and needs, we opted not to go on any group tours, because we felt they would slow us down. Well I should mention we started one of the free municipal tours on Sat, but ended up leaving it after 30 minutes because we felt it was moving too slowly with a lot of standing and listening, rather than seeing and doing. Having said that, I will say there are many people that do appreciate these tours.

So we ended up just "doing it ourselves" for the two days. We were very comfortable everywhere we went. We mostly walked, but there were taxi cabs parked outside the hotel ready to take us to places we didn't want to walk to. People were very friendly every where we went; and most everyone I approached for information at the different sites spoke English.

Inside the Jaffe gate of the Old City on the left side, there is a tourism office with lots of brochures and fliers; the people there were also very helpful with suggestions. One of the things they suggested, which hadn't occurred to us, and ended up being one of the highlights of our trip, was a self guided walk along the top of the Old City wall. For the cost of 15 shekels (approx $4.25 USD at the time we were there), you can take one of two paths.

We took the path going from the Jaffe gate to the Lion's gate, approximately half way around the old city. The walk along the top of the wall will give you an amazing view of both side (old and new city). There were also plaques with information in English every several hundred feet pointing out the different landmarks. If we'd had we had an extra day, or didn't have to meet up with my husband's friends, we would have also walked the other side as wall.

Coincidently my husband I also stayed at the 3 Arches thanks to Douglas's recommendation. Also, with the help of ACA Travel & Tourism (they were recommended by my husband's friends), we were finally able to reserve a room and also got a better price than what was we were quoted over the phone from the YMCA, since they apparently do a lot of business with this agency. If you need their assistance, their website is http://www.aca.ps/.

The room was simple but very comfortable, and we had a nice view of the King David hotel. The 3 Arches restaurant is also very good and reasonably priced. We took an early morning swim in the pool, and found it a great way to start off the day.

Lastly, don't forget to go to the tower at the top of the 3 Arches, where you can view the city from all four directions. You have to ask the front desk clerk to give you access with a special key that allows the elevator to go up to the top.... Good luck and have a great trip.

Rebekah

Melbourne, Australia
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110 posts
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4. Re: Just 2 days in Jerusalem

Hi Rebekah,

Sounds like the way you and your husband travel is very similar to me and my fiancé. We are used to travelling and touring on our own without tour groups and like to do it at a pace while walking as much as we can. That said Israel is one of the first times we’ve thought perhaps a tour is needed to get more of an understanding rather than having our heads buried in our Lonely Planet as we scoot from site to site.

The path from the Jaffa gate to the Lions gate sounds brilliant – I haven’t come across it, do you know anywhere that has more info? Also how long does it take? Might be a good way to spend our first night – or is it more a daytime thing?

So outside of the walk along the top of the wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Western Wall on the Friday night (was it brilliant?), what else did you cram into two days outside of your husbands catch-ups? I’d like to squeeze in Yad Vashem too…

So far we’re planning on doing the Zion Walking Tour (as Douglas suggested) and the Underground Tunnels ourselves. Then the next day maybe we can tackle Yad Vashem and the rest of the new city ourselves before racing back to the Western Wall for sunset. What do you think?

Also thanks for the tip of 3 Arches – we’ll suss out that other travel agency to see if we can beat our current booking.

Cheers!

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5. Re: Just 2 days in Jerusalem

A walk on the ramparts is very much a daytime thing. Apart from the fact the ramparts are closed at night, there is no proper lighting at night. And Lions' gate at night is very desolate.

San Diego...
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6. Re: Just 2 days in Jerusalem

Can non-guests go up to the 3 Arches towers? View sounds fabulous!

Haifa, Israel
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7. Re: Just 2 days in Jerusalem

Just a few comments to add:

- The ramparts walk is also closed on Fridays (I don't know about Saturday but it's open on other weekdays).

- While I'm also a big advocate of exploring the city at your own pace, I think it's worth taking at least one tour. The four quarters tour is very good, pretty fast, and you will almost certainly see things you would never notice/know about if you just walked around with a guidebook. If you find you have time in the morning before the tour, the David Citadel museum opposite the Zion Tours office gives a very good introduction to Jerusalem and you get a stunning view over the Old City rooftops from the top of the tower.

- It is easy for Jewish visitors to arrange Shabbat hospitality but it is best to arrange this in advance. The best way to organise a shabbat meal is to contact a synagogue of the appropriate denomination.

Avigail

rebekay
11 posts
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8. Re: Just 2 days in Jerusalem

Hi Captain, My husband would have probably enjoyed a Zion Walking tour as he's more into groups tours than I am; however, it just didn't fit in with our schedule. I'd be interested in hearing your experience with the group tour.

As for doing it on our own, we never felt "lonely" or out of place, especially because there were plenty of other tourists there also doing it on their own. Also, we gathered quite a bit of information prior to and during the trip; and even now that I'm back, it's interesting to continue reading up on the places I'd been... as I could only take in so much while I was there.

Maps, btw, of the Old and New city and information fliers are available (for no charge) at the YMCA 3 Arches hotel as well as the tourism office just inside the Jaffa gate. There's also a great laminated fold out map called "streetwise Jerusalem", which I picked up at the local bookstore in my home town (Orl, Fl) before going to Israel.

A couple times we needed directions only because my husband kept refusing to look at the map; however, we were always able to get the help we needed... as I mentioned before, people were very friendly every where we went.

To answer your question regarding "splendid": yes, the entire visit was splendid... unlike any place I've ever been before. We arrived Friday afternoon and walked up to the Old City.... we made our way to the Church of Holy Sulprechre, and then up to the Western Wall for sunset... From the Western Wall, we walked back to the Jaffa gate, via the Jewish quarters. Everything was closed at this time, but it was still interesting to view the streets and architecture.

The next day, we spent most of our time primarily walking through the different quarter of the Old City, including ramparts. As I mentioned before, not only was our time there limited, but we were also meeting up with friends... which took us away from the sites. The only place in the Old City we were not able to enter was the Temple Mount, because it was Sat, we were told by the guard that only Muslims were allowed during that time.

We ate most of our meals at the 3 Arches Cafe. As I mentioned before, the food there was very good; if you like Spinach, try the Spinach Pie "starter", which for me was a whole meal. Also, in case you aren't aware, your hotel cost includes a free buffet breakfast, complete with fruit, breads, scrambled eggs, sausage... and coffee and beverage.

Meals outside of the 3 Arches, included a lunch on Sat inside the Old City a restaurant called "Nafoura", which was recommended by one of the desk clerks (Michell) at 3 Arches. On Sunday, we met friends at the American Colony hotel for lunch. The food at both these places were also very good.

To answer your question about the time it takes to walk the. ramparts from the Jaffa gate to the Lion's gate: I think we probably spent about two hours up there. Given we were at our own pace, we could have taken less or more time. There are also a couple opportunities to step down from the ramparts and back into the Old City before the Lion's gate... if you decide you don't want to walk the entire route.

Also, to respond to a previous post here regarding whehter the Ramparts is open Saturday. The answer is "yes"; we were there Saturday (late morn/early afternoon). Try googling "top of wall old city Jerusalem ramparts," you should find plenty of information. For example, here is one of many links I came across: jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/…Ramparts

I hope this is helpful.

Rebekah

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9. Re: Just 2 days in Jerusalem

Sorry, but the ramparts walk is not closed on Fridays, I did it with Azzenny and her friend around a year ago. The Tower of David Museum is closed on Fridays.

Melbourne, Australia
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10. Re: Just 2 days in Jerusalem

Hi All,

Well I think we’ve almost worked out the best way to explore Jerusalem in 2 days. Not sure if we have things in the right order or on the right days though… any thoughts if we’ve crammed to much into the one day, in the wrong order or missed things?

Day 6 (Thursday): Jerusalem – Old City

- Ramparts Walk (Right side to Lions gate via New, Damascus and Herod’s Gate) – Opens at 9am

- 11am – 2pm Zion Walking Tour: The Four Quarters of the Old City

Armenian Quarter, Christian Quarter, Jewish Quarter, Muslim Quarter, the Cardo, Western Wall, Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross), Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

- 3pm: Wailing Wall Tunnel Tour

- Mt Zion: Visit the tomb of King David and the room of the Last Supper

- Rooftop Promenade at Dusk

- Overnight in Jerusalem

Day 7 (Friday): Jerusalem – New City

- Yad Vashem (opens at 9am – 2pm)

- Temple Mount

- Citadel

- Mount Of Olives

- Mount Scopus

- Visit Western Wall at sunset for the welcoming of Shabbat

- Find somewhere that’s open for Dinner

Thanks for all your help!