The weather forecast for today, Wednesday, is not so good! In a word: ‘showers’! In another word: ‘cold’! Time then, to discover more of Israel, but from the inside of somewhere! 🥶🥶
To maintain our sense of adventure (but mostly to dodge the showers!) we’re diving again into the world of Jerusalem’s public transport system. We’ve already experienced Trains, Planes and Automobiles…
So today, we tried the Tram (or Jerusalem Light Railway – JLR – to give it its official name here). Opened in 2011 after much delay and over-spending (sound familiar??), it features just a single line each way (east-west, totalling 23 stops). and and it’s popular too, serving 130,000 rides per day.
We boarded at nearby Jaffa Street heading for Mount Herzl (currently the final stop until the planned extension goes ahead). It cost us 5.90 Shekels (£1.29) for a single ticket. Super-cheap! 👍
On launch, JLR was free to use, but there’s now a paid ticketing system that’s operated through machines at each station. Alternatively, you can purchase a CityPass card (a sort of Jewish ‘Oyster Card’).
A few caveats: the machines are fussy about bank-notes – nothing bigger than a 20; there’s a maximum number of coins that can be used for one ticket purchase (15?); it didn’t seem to like our visa card, and absolutely no trying to pay the driver; There’s probably an App too, but we didn’t see anyone using one.
Once on-board, just to keep us on our toes, there’s also a ‘ticket validation system’ where you must get your ticket ‘punched’ using the machines near the doors. Ticket Inspectors were everywhere, so it’s not worth hiding in the toilets!! (mainly because the Trams don’t have them!) 🤔
What’s our destination today? Unlike yesterday and the day before, no scaling any heights for us, we plan to keep our feet firmly on the ground and so we headed for Yad Vashem, the Museum and Monument that perpetuates the memory of the 6 million+ Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. Built in 1953, it’s incredibly popular and well-supported.
It only took us around 20 minutes to get there plus a fifteen-minute walk downhill once we exited the Tram (it’s well signposted!)
On arrival, it became clear that there was plenty to see here, and consequently, it’s perfectly possible to ‘make a day of it’. Having said that, we were there for just over three-and-a-half hours and we found it quite moving and emotionally draining.
Our first stop was ‘5’ – The Holocaust History Museum – a triangular shaped construction where the exhibits were assembled in a zig-zag fashion. It’s not the prettiest of buildings inside, but maybe that’s the point!?
My photographs here don’t really do it justice, as they only capture a small proportion of what’s on show! Why? Well, there didn’t seem to be many other people taking pics, and then I found out why not! A firm tap on the shoulder from an official, about an hour in, reminded me that I shouldn’t be taking ANY photographs at all!! Ooops!!!!!😮
Even if you only have a casual interest in the Holocaust, you are bound to be impressed by the exhibits here….
A mix of static displays, film archive, AV displays and (very) detailed information boards have probably one of the most (if not, THE most) comprehensive collection of materials we’ve ever seen in a Museum (and we’ve seen quite a few!).
The displays were endless and what for us, made it feel even more real, was the filmed interviews with survivors, and also the clothing on display – shoes and tunics of the dead! 😮 Most definitely NOT for the faint-hearted with nothing censored. 😥😥
For many of us, the 1993 film: Schindler’s List has, in recent years, been a dramatic reminder of the Holocaust. What brought it all home here was the actual list itself on display!!
Of course, there were many others who helped the Jews during the WWII, and also on display was a comprehensive catalogue of others who saved the lives of many Jews and their families…
But perhaps the display that was guaranteed to cause the most jaws to drop was the final exhibit: The Hall of Names…
This is an area of permanent record cataloguing the names of all the Holocaust victims…
…the work is ongoing and consequently, some shelving remains empty until more information is uncovered…
It felt like the most appropriate way to end our journey through the Museum.
On leaving, the weather forecast had come true. It was cold… VERY cold and it was raining quite hard. We quickened our pace and took a look inside the nearby Hall of Remembrance…
The names engraved in the floor are the sites of the 22 Nazi murder sites – extermination/concentration camps. The flame burns continuously next to a crypt containing ashes of victims brought back from the extermination camps.
The weather got worse! Next stop: The Pillar of Heroism commemorates Jewish resistance during the Holocaust.
Phew! What an experience!! We spent some time over a coffee reflecting…
For us to spend as much time as we did here, surprised even US! There is so much to absorb, even if you spend most of your time (as we did) in just the Museum. If you’re in the area, this place should be on your list!
So far, on our mini-break in Jerusalem, this has been the place with the most WOW FACTOR! 🤩
A quick walk back to the Tram stop where we only waited a matter of minutes for our ride back to the Hotel. It turned into a really wintery day here and so much of a contrast to the previous few days. A good day to be inside then!!!
More photos of the holiday so far
(and none of my chat!)
Looks like tomorrow is another cold and wet one, so I think we’ll do something indoors again – see you on the other side! 🙂