We tried to make an early start as we wanted to see the Temple Mount as it has very restricted opening hours. We packed up as we were moving hotels and were out (into the rain) by 8:30. Not bad we thought but not good enough. We had to walk slowly as the cobbled streets were lethal in the rain and we arrived at the entrance point to find that the queue to get through security was out of sight down the road. They may have been increased security due to yesterdays bomb. We decided that it was not worth the wait as the queue was hardly moving and it only had another hour of being open.
We decided to walk the via Dolorosa and see the stations of the cross. This involved following a route from the bottom of the city to the top. At virtually every station, there was a church or chapel of varying denomination. We arrived at the final ones to see the Church of the Holy Sepulchre - the place of the crucifixion. The church was full to bursting and was very confusing - it is not one church but several - each denomination having it's own little piece. Some chapels we could not work out the significance, especially as the place is on 3 levels.
After this we went out into the rain again to walk back to Temple Mount. When we got there it had stopped raining and we joined the queue for the12:00 opening time. After a 20 minute wait, we found out it did not open at 12:00 but 12:30 - but by now we were committed. The Muslims do not allow you to enter the Dome of the Rock or the Al Aqsa mosque so you can only walk round the compound. This is very different from the old town - a wide open plaza with the Dome standing alone in the middle.
After this, we went off to change hotels and then head off to Yad Vashem - the holocaust museum. By this point it was tipping it down and Fran insisted on a taxi rather than a bus. This proved expensive as the guy had to go all round the place due to the one way system, traffic and road works for the new light rail. Eventually we got there and went in. The place is very modern in a beautiful garden. It was also very full with many tour groups. Getting round them was difficult and it made it very slow. The exhibition was moving as it related more to individuals rather than the numbers and facts. Unfortunately, we could not go round the grounds as it was pouring again. We took the bus back and froze waiting for it - spring in Jerusalem is freezing.
We got back to the hotel - no news as we have no TV or internet so we don't know if it is all quiet in the world.
Next day was our last of sight seeing in Jerusalem, another day with rain! It was also the 1st Jerusalem marathon so the streets were quiet. We headed down to the Jaffa Gate to tour the city walls. We went to find nobody at the gate - climbed down to find out why not - 'this part is closed as it goes past the Muslim quarter as it is Friday' (despite a notice to the contrary). We then tried the other section but some officious policeman would not let us cross the road as it was on the marathon route - despite no runners being in sight. We were sent down the road - then sent back up again. After a little bit of a breakdown in Israeli-UK relations, his boss got involved and we crossed the road.
The walk along the walls was OK - lots of good views but not a lot else. We alighted at the Dung Gate to then go to explore some other sites. The first was the site of the last supper - it summed up Jerusalem - the top floor was a chapel, the middle a synagogue (tomb of David) and the roof had a minaret on it. After this we went back to the new town as Fran wanted to buy some presents - all too expensive - Jerusalem is a tourist city and things are London prices and more. After this we went to see a few more churches - the only one open was the Lutheran church with a bell tower that you could climb for the views. That was the good news as it was in the dry and it was raining heavily again.
As it dried up we set off to go up to the Mount of Olives. This involved a Palestinian bus (it is in E. Jerusalem) but getting there was relatively painless. The ides was to start at the top and walk down passing the various sites on the way. The first site was the chapel/mosque of the ascension - a tiny place full of Russian prostrating themselves. After this we walked down to the viewing point over the old city. Not so good in the drizzle. The Jewish cemetery here is below you and seems to stretch for miles. The route downhill was very steep and slippery with the rain. It took us past various chapels and churches - the best looking one a Russian Orthodox convent, unfortunately it was closed. We arrived at the bottom (the garden of Gethsemane) pleased with ourselves - we had remained reasonably dry. It was then the climb back up to our hotel - situated at the top of the old town.