14 Mar 2012
Round Jerusalem with a pushchair
The heart of three of the world’s religions, divided by culture, history, quarters and peoples, Jerusalem has drawn pilgrims, tourists and armies for centuries. What you tend to see slightly less of is toddlers…
With dog-leg bends in some of the old city gates to stop a direct charge by soldiers, the uneven steps and narrow alleys are just as tough to navigate with a pushchair. Especially in the rain. But on a family holiday including my 14-month-old nephew, where there’s a will there’s a way.
Starting at the Zion Gate, we wandered into the Jewish quarter to the Western Wall – better-known as the Wailing Wall – and the holiest place on earth for Jews. Above it was Temple Mount, with the famous Dome of the rock and Al Aqsa mosque, closed to tourists that day, although the call to prayer rang out across the divided city.
After passing through the Armenian quarter, with brightly coloured pottery in the shops, we reached the Christian quarter, with Arab stalls lining the way to the Via Dolorosa, where Christ walked his final journey to the cross.
Jerusalem’s history and ongoing conflict is too complicated to try to sum up in a short blog post, but however religious you are, it’s impossible not to be fascinated by the unique mix of cultures, the weight of the centuries and the buzz of the ancient streets.
Best of all for my future plans, with a bit of teamwork and a sweet-tempered little boy, it’s possible to do it all with a pushchair as well.