Tag Archives: jerusalem

Live and let live

When you travel to a distant place (not only physically) from the reality of everyday life, the tendency is to happen an initial astonishment. In my case, this “shock” is usually accompanied by a greater improvement of the senses, and here I am not referring only to the “sixth sense” … I look more focused; the hearing gets more concentrated to the sounds or to the silence; the smell gets absolutely intensified … I live the present, as if I didn’t remember of the past or even about the expectations and anxieties of the future.

These sensory connections allow me to live the here and now, in a state of attention. I feel alive and complete, as I often forget to exercise when I am in my “natural habitat.” This is then, for me, one of the great benefits of moving toward new experiences.

I will never forget my first days in Jerusalem. I felt absolutely “lost” and this had nothing to do with not knowing where I was. No. I felt absorbed in a new reality. A reality in which religion utterly dictates people’s lives. I even felt a bit “unfaithful.” For a Christian Catholic woman who grow up her faith in the midst of a parish community, experiencing Jerusalem in the first two days, was at least a reason for a lot of meditation.

Pelas ruas de Jerusalém provando novos sabores

Through the streets of Jerusalem tasting new flavours.

I also hope to never forget the surprise I had when I realized that, yes, it is possible to live in the midst of rivers in the Amazon. The boat shuttle to come and go everywhere. The trade with scarce items kept on “palafitas” (houses above the water). Children who can’t go to school in the heavy flood season. The life that is maintained through the nutrients offered by the forest itself and rivers. The fact that, in the XXI century, a family doesn’t have television at home and only know the outside world through the news heard on a radio stack. This was all shocking to see with my own eyes.

Água que não acaba mais (a época das chuvas ainda não tinha nem começado)

Water everywhere (the rainy season hadn’t yet started) – market in the background.

Goiaba colhida no quintal da casa de caboclos

Guava harvested in the backyard of the caboclos house

The stay in Jordan was short but lasting enough to realize the lack of presence of women in day-to-day tourist activities, such as the maintenance of a Bedouin camp where we spent the night in Petra. The men served the meals; they were also the responsible for entertaining the tourists with their singing and clapping of synchronized palms. I didn’t see any woman in the place. I’m not sure if this is due to the fact that in Jordan 90% of the population is Muslim, according to Wikipedia, but seeing a reality so different from the one I live in my country was a true expansion of consciousness.

Campo beduíno em Petra (essas barraquinhas brancas são os quartos).

Bedouin camp in Petra (these tents are the bedrooms, dining room and collective restrooms).

Confraternizando em Petra

Confraternizing in Petra

Last but not least, I remember Cuba. Anyone who goes to Havana and is not impressed, definitely didn’t experience the reality of the place. In Havana, there is almost no advertising. The only ones that exist make reference to the socialism and the figures of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. I didn’t even see the picture of the brother Raul. I don’t believe that the “regime” still works in its entirety, but by official propaganda, it is in full execution. I don’t think I have ever seen a people so similar to the Brazilians as the Cuban. And I’m not just talking about the physical characteristics … they’re rhythmic, they love to dance, and they share an admirable positivity. I wish I had taken candies to distribute to the children. These items are absolutely rare there.

Na Fusterlândia (ainda escreverei um post contando sobre esse lugar em Havana)

In Fusterland

Dentro de uma farmácia em Havana (repare na foto de Che no mural)

Photo taken inside a drugstore in Havana while a guy treated my newly injured foot (note Che’s picture and message about the Revolution on the mural)

Essa foto poderia ter sido tirada em Salvador ou em São Luís do Maranhão não fosse pelas crianças jogando basebol.

This photo could have been taken in Salvador or in São Luís, Maranhão State, apart for the sport (baseball) chosen…

What to do in Jerusalem

It was not easy to decide how we would spend our time in Jerusalem. We wanted to make the most of it. We planned, researched and this was the result of what we managed to do in 4 full days in this incredible holy city, which also served as a base for other tours to Jordan (Aman, Jerash and Petra), Bethlehem and Masada / Ein Gedi / Dead Sea. <3

Experiência israelense

Israeli experience

1st day:

The arrival in Jerusalem was quiet, after the initial feeling of discomfort at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. I say this, because I was approached by security agents as soon as I left the plane, and still in control of passport, for another so many minutes. My impression is this over-control was due to the fact that I arrived in Israel by myself. Do what!? Young women traveling alone are still seen in a “different” way in countries not as “closed” as Israel, so we can imagine …

Leaving the Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv, just to the right, I picked up a Sherut, which is like a small bus that you indicate where you want to stop. In my case, I signalized that I would go to Jerusalem and stay at The Post Hostel. And so it happened.

Sherut

Sherut

The first impact when arriving in Jerusalem was to see the sun reflect on those predominantly beige buildings, especially on the walled part of the city. Beautiful!

After I stayed at the hostel, I did not even feel like exploring the city. It was cold. Yes, Jerusalem in March, to my Northeastern brazilian standards, is a cold city.

So, I decided to go into the Middle Eastern cuisine and ate a shakshuka, in the hostel itself, which was delicious.

Shakshuka

Shakshuka

2nd day:

In Jerusalem, at some moment, there  will be necessity to contract a guide service. So I took advantage of the Free Walking Tour that left the Jaffa Gate, one of the best known in the city, to get an overview of the place.

Vista da cidade muralhada nas proximidades do Portão Jaffa

View of the city near the Jaffa Gate

It was a 2 hour tour, where we had the opportunity to pass through the Armenian, Jewish, Muslim and Christian districts. They are connected to each other. The differentiation among them will be noticed due to the constructions and the profile of people that you see walking the streets. Amazing!

Orthodox Jews on the Streets of Jerusalem

Orthodox Jews on the Streets of Jerusalem

In that same day, I took advantage of the fact that everyone was preparing for the Shabbat, a period of time guarded by the Jews, which basically begins at the sunset of Friday and finishs as far as the first 3 stars appear in the sky, around 7 pm, and hired a “Shabbat experience” to get to know more about Jewish culture. Absolutely interesting experience.

Em frente à placa do Muro das Lamentações

In front of the Western Wall sign

3rd day:

After a day and a half in Jerusalem, I began to adapt a bit more to the rhythm of the city. I do not know how to explain. Maybe that’s exactly what I heard from an expatriate in Jerusalem. She said there is so much “energy” together, referring to the religiosity of the people, that, eventually, certain things may not work normally, like the TRAM that stops because someone had a “crisis” inside some of the wagons. This I witnessed!

On the third day, I made the Via Dolorosa.

É no Lions' Gate que se inicia a Via Dolorosa

At Lions’ Gate begins the Via Dolorosa

On the evening, we went to meet the “Old train station”, set of bars and restaurants a little away from the walled city.

4th day:

We discovered “a must see view” of Jerusalem at the Austria Hostel, which is near one of the stations of Via Dolorosa. In order to have access to it, a value must be paid.

Vista a partir do Austria Hostel

View of Jerusalem from the Austria Hostel

Following, we went out to explore a little more the Holy City through a guided service. We visited again the Wailing Wall, the Dome of the Rock, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Via Dolorosa, the gates of Jerusalem, the Holy Supper room, etc …

Dentro da Igreja do Santo Sepulcro (emoção)

Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (speechless)

5th day:

Due to a change in schedule, we spent a little more time in Jerusalem, where we had to visit the Holocaust Museum called Yad Vashem. We spent a good few hours, circling through so many sad memories of stories and lives that have been changed forever by the unscrupulous power project of a few. The entrance to the museum is free and it is easily accessed by the TRAM that circulates around Jerusalem.

A única foto que consegui tirar no Museu do Holocausto (ainda fora)

The only photo I could get at the Holocaust Museum (still outside)

As hard as we tried, we could not see everything we wanted in this amazing city. Already aware of this, we did not get frustrated and took advantage of it as much as we could. If anyone asks me, yes, I would like to go back. Jerusalem is the place to be no matter the weather, the age or the reason. <3

Jerusalem’s imagery

An initial contemplation, through images, of the most intense city I have ever had the pleasure of affixing my feet.

Jerusalem, it was impossible not to surrender to you. <3

Jerusalém: impossível não se render à sua grandiosidade

‘Jerusalém: the center of the world”

Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock

Muro das Lamentações

Muro das Lamentações

No bairro ArmênioArmenian district

Via Dolorosa

Via Dolorosa

Seguindo os passos de Jesus

Following the path of Jesus

Venda de camisetas no bairro muçulmano

T-shirts store in the muslim district

Na  entrada do Museu do Holocausto

Entrance of Holocaust museum