I took a break from Tel Aviv to spend Easter weekend in Jerusalem and Ramallah. On Sad (Good) Friday, the streets of Jerusalem were packed with thousands of pilgrims come to follow the Via Dolorosa to the Holy Sepulchre, the path that follows the Stations of the Cross through Jerusalem.
I also joined the line, with Sahar, who graciously joined me in the packed Friday city. The crowds were crammed in the streets, and movement mostly happened in short bursts, after many minutes of standing. Various groups chanted as they carried the cross, and others watched and raised their cameras high for a view of the road.
The Old City of Jerusalem dates back to the Roman era, but the area we walked was built much later. Built layer upon layer, it is sometimes difficult to know whether you are walking outside, in a deep channel running between stacked stone structures, or merely looking up through the skylight of a tunnel beneath the terraces. Flying buttresses extend the limits of the walls, opening ground for new passages while carrying space for rooms.
At the end of the walk, the Holy Sepulchre, the crowds became fierce as some overly zealous pilgrims fought for their turn to walk inside the tomb.
In Ramallah, on Saturday, a much happier parade celebrated as everyone celebrated Waiting for the Light, which comes out of the Holy Sepulchre and is delivered to towns in Palestine. Bagpipes blared and teens danced as the crowds followed the bishops into the church to keep the light burning until Easter morning.
I head back to Tel Aviv for my final week before moving on to Egypt.