We arrived in Jerusalem late Sunday afternoon before Yom HaShoah. We grabbed an early dinner (Burgerim) and unpacked for our week long stay in our location- perfect (next to Waldorf) apartment. On Monday ( April 28th), we went to the Kotel, roamed the Jewish Quarter, walked up to Ben Yehuda, and then on up to Mahane Yehudah where we had dinner at Pasta Basta .
On Tuesday, our guide was Aaron Shaffier. We walked the Ramparts from Jaffa Gate to the Dung gate with stops along the way where Aaron pointed out details from antiquity to current, at times reading from the Tanach. I was surprised to open spaces in the old city (basketball courts, large parking lots, empty lots, etc). Being on the wall certainly gives you another perspective. We then toured parts of Ir David, went through Hezekiah's Tunnel (one of the most memorable moments from our trip), toured more of Ir David, watched the 3D movie, went to the Davidson center and walked around the Southern wall of the Temple Mount, then hit a few highlights of the Jewish Quarter, and finished off with the Rooftops of the Old City in the Christian Quarter where children were playing. It was an awesome day. We saw so much and were able to understand so much more because of Aaron. I highly recommend him as a guide.
On Wednesday morning, we were in line by 7:15 to ascend the Temple Mount with Rabbi Richman from the Temple Institute. There were around 15 of us. We spent around an hour and a half there. This was also a highlight of our trip. We then had breakfast at one of the Bagel places in the Jewish Quarter (very good). We took a cab and spent the remainder of the day with friends in Har Nof. We returned to Mahane Yehudah for a few grocery items and wandered Ben Yehuda.
Thursday morning we had breakfast at First Kitchen at First Station. It also was very good. My daughters loved the French toast and hope to duplicate the sour cherry syrup/glaze at home. I found out I had a few holes in my research as not much was open other than a couple of shops and restaurants. It seems everything comes to life late in the afternoon. However, we did find a couple of souvenir items of the shops that were open. We called a cab (Yehudah Levy from Labatt's guide, we also used Yehuda seven years ago from Labatt's guide) and headed to the Israel Museum. We were at the museum for about four hours. In that time, we viewed the Jerusalem/Second Temple model, the Shrine of the Book, and special exhibits in Jewish Art and Life. When Yehudah picked us up from the museum, we made arrangements for him to pick us up early Sunday morning for our transport to the aiport. We had Yehudah drop us at Bardak, a wonderful pizza place at the corner of David HaMelech and Keren HaYesod. It was fantastic! See my review for more details. Afterwards, we walked the short distance to our apartment, rested for a short time, then strolled around Ben Yehudah.
On Friday, our only plans were to pick up food items for Shabbat lunch and pick up any last souvenirs. We walked to a nearby supermarket on Agron for most of our lunch items. Later, we found Marzipan's at/near Mahane Yehuda and each picked out some delicious items. We then had FishenChips for early lunch (yum!) We shopped, made sure we had enough shekels for the cab fare Sunday morning, and people watched. We attended Shabbat of a Lifetime that evening with other guests from South Africa, Italy, Brazil, and San Diego. Our hosts were most welcoming.
On Shabbat, we slept in, went for a few walks, including Yemin Moshe, and the Kotel one last time. On Motzei Shabbat we went to the Mamilla Rooftop for dinner. The view was amazing and dinner was very good.
On Sunday morning, we headed to the airport. Once there, it took about 45 minutes to make it to our gate. We enjoyed our trip and hope to return in 2016.