橄榄山正好在老城和圣殿山对面，对着圣殿山的被封起来的金门。耶稣复活后上他大弟子彼得哪儿打了个招呼带上干粮啥的就从橄榄山升天了。上去时还跟施瓦辛格一样很酷的来了句：i'll be back！。。。扯远了。 传说上帝/耶稣/弥赛亚再次降临人间时就从这里登陆，埋在橄榄山上的犹太人都将要被首批复活，然后上帝会从金门进入耶路撒冷。这也就是为啥穆斯林在圣殿山上建了金顶和清真寺后把这个金门给封上了。金门底下和附近的山坡上全部都是穆斯林的墓，俺的猜想是为了抵御上帝的到来。可，可，可他们不是供的同一个上帝吗？百思不得其解！这橄榄上倒是个看风景的好地方，耶路撒冷老城一览无余！
犹太人的墓 上面放的小石头代表来看望过的人数 - 犹太人习俗，来上坟时就王墓上放个小石头
5/9/2015 jerusalem bethlehem
armed with knowledge i gained at this forum i hurried my two team members to get up early today for we were going to take the famous bus 21 to bethlehem this morning!
around 7:30am we were at the damascus gate. right out of the gate the bus station weren't immidiately there, not as some described here "right outside the damascus gate". i guess i took the words too seriously. the bus station, however, was located about 300 meters to your front left if you just stepped out of the gate.
we got there at the right time - there was a bus 21 full of people and ready to go. we got on and checked with the driver if this was for bethlehem and got a confirmation. the tickets are like 8.5nis for adult and 6.5 for a child. so round trip we spend 45nis on transportation. much cheaper and easier than i thought. it wasn a pleasant ride taking about 40 minutes to the last stop. you won't miss it because everybody had to get off there!
we were approached by a couple of taxi drivers offering 10nis taking us to the manger square. we wanted to walk so we didn't take their offers and they weren't pushing hard, either. with the help of my phone gps (off line map again) we arrived at the church of nativity without trouble. the walk is little more than 1km judging by the scale of the map - a pleasant walk taking you through shops and neighborhoods.
the manger square was not very obvious. we got there and almost walked past it, partially because there were a stage being set up and a large tent sitting in the middle of it for some kind of commerical promotions. we witnessed that later on while we had lunch at a restaurant by the square.
we went into the church and only found out that there were like three masses on-going, to see the silver star we would have to come back in more than an hour. so we just took a little tour of the adjacent st catherine's church. nice little church. afterwards we wondered over to the milk grotto. there was a group of believers from india on site. took them a little while to go through their prayings and singings. we saw many groups like this from india at other places, too. i never knew there were that many christians in that part of the world. after the indians left we sat there to rest and comtemplate a little bit. very nice!
we then came back to the church of nativity again and only found out the masses were still in session. so we decided to have lunch first althought it was a bit early. but, we didn't have breakfast, it was just fine. we settled with a restaurant by the square by the name of, well, the square restaurant. it turned out rather nice. i had a palestinan sampler. and the real bonus is that i, for the first time, had a taste of the taybeh beer (golden) - the best beer i had on this trip. later on i got the permission from wife to give it a go on the smoke pipe. but the waiter told me it was just regular tabaco smoked through a pipe, not really worth for an experience.
our waiter is a palestinian young man (sadly i started to call people young man more frequently a few years ago), born in haifa, his mother has an israeli passport and father without it. he has 9 siblings - all live in the states except him. by his own words, he did want to live in the states becuase he would be like "fish without water". said he has many israeli friends but resent what their government does. had a nice time chatting with him.
after lunch we went back to the church. by now there was a huge line waiting to get to the basement. we were approached by a tour guide offering us 20usd to go through a "family line". we felt pretty bad to cut the line but if we didn't we would be spend at least the next three hours or longer in the queue. so we went with him. but we didn't feel very good. it was very crowded in the basement and the line moved very slow. we ran into the indian group here, again. i understand the importance of this spot for the belivers and tourists alike. i just hope there's a better way to let everybody see this spot. the whole thing was kind of rushed. i did see the star, but i didn't get a chance to give the silver star a good stare because i felt i was interrupting the faithfuls waiting in line.
after that was done. we took a taxi and asked him to take us to the other bus station, bus 124 (?), coming back from a different route with a stop at the separation wall. but the cab driver pulled a fast one on us. he took us straight to the stop for bus 21. upon our protesting he laughed and drove us to a section of the wall and took some pictures, and took us back to bus 21. we still paid him 20nis. but if you are looking for the experience to walk through that check point seen on many videos you will have to insist on what you pay for.
on our way to bethlem noboday had to get off at the checkpoint. but on the way back all the palestinians had to get off the bus and be checked before getting back on. our passports got looked at by an israeli soildier, no questions asked.
back to jerusalem, we took a nap and headed out again to check out the dormition abbey and david's tomb, which went very successful this time. i was told not to take photos at david's tomb where no signs could be found. one guy was pretty intense seeing me carring a camera.
we hailed a cab on the street to take us up to the viewing point on the mount of olives. he told us that one way would be 45-50nis, round trip 120 with half an hour waiting. we finally agreed on 110nis. since the sun was against us we couldn't get a good family photo taken he took us to another spot and got us a good family photo. to reward his nice act we told him that we would take his ride to the airport tomorrow night.
i am getting tired of saying this by now: this turned out to be another nice and successful day!
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