Friday, May 21, 2010

The adventures of Sophie Hagiraffa in Jerusalem

The adventures of Sophie Giraffa in Jerusalem.....

That sounds  pretty good.

But do not get too excited.... The only adventures were mostly being stuck in traffic, being lost for hours, seeing three times the same streets and yet not being able to find the stores when finally in the right place!

I should have been very frustrated but actually I found it pretty funny. I think I really enjoyed myself there. ^__^ Call me crazy but hey! I was in a way visiting Jerusalem! I have been there only a few times in my life so it was another opportunity. On the other hand my brother-in-law who came along to help me out , did not enjoy it and was becoming more stressed by the seconds.
Oh I forgot to mention: we did have a map. The day before I went to Steimatzky, probably the largest bookstore in Israel and bought the "Golden Atlas" edition 2011. Yessir!  And I even worked on the streets before getting there.... See?

 Well it did not help!
 It did not help one bit and I really do not understand how we were not able to figure our way in an easier way.

To our defense I must say that the Atlas does not mention  the roads restricted to bus and taxis ....and of course those are the ones we counted on. I now hope the Jerusalem municipality or police have no cameras installed and have more to deal with than lost drivers breaking the laws.
The Atlas obviously cannot mention  the roads that are being worked on and that are closed to all traffic and coincidally those were also the ones we were counting on! Ahhh bad bad bad luck ^__^

But we did see a lot of various areas of Jerusalem, from Ramat Eshkol, in northern Jerusalem ( where I saw a place carrying Ella Baché products--- special info for the French readers of the blog ;)  ) to MeaShearim, home to ultra-Orthodox Jewish fundamentalists, to King George Street in central Jerusalem and Talpiot....We saw the gates where hundreds of tourists and school students started their visits and  the famous windmill. It was originally built to serve the milling needs of the residents but it was never operational because of the lack of wind where it was situated.

Some pictures found online to illustrate our driving marathon:

King George Street where Sophie can now be found
                                                                     Thank you Yaacov!

The Windmill

                                                               source- Thank you Dror Bar-Natan

Part of the Gates and Citadel.
I am pretty sure I drove down that road twice at least but it was far from being empty!

                                                   Another Thank you Dror Bar-Natan!

In the distance ( and from the other side) we saw " that Holy Land Complex" that has been on the news for the past weeks for being " A massive corruption scandal involving some of the most powerful people in Israel and an almost universally loathed building complex in Jerusalem" ( quote from the Treehugger)

( for more beautiful pix of jerusalem, I invite you to Jerusalem Shots where  Mikhail Levit  is a contributing photographer. )

...we passed a few times by the Jerusalem Train Station that suffered a fire at some point, the top floor was completely burned! Let me reassure you: this is the old train station not in service. I could not see whether it was used for something else or not , even after 2 times passing by it. We also saw the Moshava Hagermanit, the "German colony" now an upscale neighborhood.
Jerusalem is a city of neighborhoods in the mountains, lots of up and down, no obvious straight roads, many streets with no names or if so we have not seen them! We saw one lady on a bicycle. It was odd enough to notice: not only the traffic was insane but ---lucky for her-- she was going downhill....I could not help wondering  how she rides uphill in those conditions.
In those 8 hours there, as you may already know if you follow our hero Sophie ha giraffa on Facebook, we did find one new home  in the Pa'amon Center. It is a store on King George Street ( parking on Agrippas). On the ground floor  "Ourson" has owners originally from France. It was a very easy job for me: I did not have to explain anything re Sophie. Catherine already knew everything and was very happy to have Sophie finally in Israel.
We went on to check a few more stores... some had sadly disappeared, some were closed, some we simply could not find the street. Gloups!  So I guess I will need another Jerusalem Sophie Marathon one of those days.
We ended our day at the Malcha Center aka Jerusalem Mall, in the southwestern neighbourhood of Jerusalem. We had a very late lunch and said Bye! Bye! Jerusalem...( thought it did take us another hour to find our way out... Those who know the area: do not laugh! We saw very few green signs indicating Tel-Aviv after a long long day!)
I regret not thinking of taking any pix on that day. Of course I was focusing on not getting arrested by the police, not running over anyone but still! I could have taken a few shots here and there when stuck in traffic. By the way I must say that all the people I asked for directions were very helpful and right!!! So if you are ever lost in Jerusalem, ask away!
Overall it was a great day! Exhausting but great! I am ready to do it again ^__^.... I am not so sure about my brother-in-law though. Maybe I should invest in a GPS....?

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