Here we are, the very last of my summer break 2019 travels!
I think the Galàpagos to Jerusalem flight sequence was one of the longest I’ve ever experienced. It went a little something like this:
- Take a panga boat from the cruise ship in the Galàpagos to the shore, early morning August 9
- Take a ferry to another part of the island
- Take a bus to the tortoise reserve
- Take a bus to the airport
- Fly from the Galàpagos back to coastal city in mainland Ecuador, midday
- Fly from the coastal city to Quito, afternoon
- Fly from Quito to Atlanta, late night
- Arrive in Atlanta, early morning August 10
- Fly from Atlanta to New York JFK, morning
- Fly from New York JFK to Tel-Aviv, late afternoon
- Arrive in Tel-Aviv, early morning August 11
- Take a shared cab from Tel-Aviv Airport to hostel in Jerusalem
- Arrive at hostel in Jerusalem, late morning
By the time I made it to my hostel in Jerusalem, I was exhausted — but not super sleepy. I was tired from all of the traveling, from moving from boats to buses to ferries to airplanes to taxi cabs over the course of 48 hours, but I had actually managed to get a decent amount of sleep during the commute. It maybe wasn’t a great quality of sleep, but at least it was sleep.
Arriving on Israel on my own was rather scary. I mean, I’ve done it before — arriving in airports in new cities in new countries and having to make my way into the city — but Tel-Aviv was different. I’ve traveled on my own in Europe, but not before in the Middle East.
The remarkable thing about traveling and being nervous about doing new things is that, assuming you actually do the thing, your nervousness doesn’t matter much. Being afraid to try something new affects whether you’ll actually do the thing (say, try to find a sherut shared taxi from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem), but it doesn’t affect what happens after you’ve decided to do it. I was nervous to approach the cabbie and ask if he was going to Jerusalem, but that didn’t change whether or not I was going to have to do it or not. I had to make it from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem, and that was that.
And I did make it. The cabbie wasn’t exactly a friendly guy, but thankfully, we didn’t have to talk long. A 45 minute drive later, he dropped me at my hostel, and I was on my way.
I was actually a little too early to check in to my room, and so I decided to go for a walk around the city to pass the time. The hostel had a place to store my bags, which was nice, and the concierge was able to point me in the direction of a free tour I could take later in the afternoon.
Before the tour began, I wandered around the area a little to see what there was. I had arrived during a holiday, which made it so that most of the shops and restaurants were closed. As it turned out, though, I didn’t mind — that also meant the streets were emptier, which made taking pictures like this, on a shopping street that might have normally been busy, possible.
My free walking tour covered the four quarters of Old City Jerusalem — the Jewish Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, and the Christian Quarter. Since it was free, we didn’t actually go into any of the sites, like the Dome of the Rock or the Western Wall, but that was okay. I ended up seeing those later. Our guide took us to see a beautiful view of the city from a rooftop and to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (honestly, one of the least exciting “holy sites” I visited — and that’s the one that was supposed to be most important to my religion). For free, it was everything I needed.
The one thing I was hoping to do on my tour that I didn’t was make friends. I was supposed to go on this research trip with someone else from school, but she didn’t end up getting the grant to go. I wasn’t looking for like, a best buddy, but I was hoping to talk to some people and maybe get to know someone from my hostel whom I could travel a little with. But to no avail.
That’s about it for today. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the next one with more updates on my trip to Israel-Palestine this summer. Don’t forget to check me out on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, Bloglovin, Twitter, and Tumblr! For business inquiries, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Sweat: The Middle Eastern sun