It seems frivolous to discuss hotels at the beginning of a review of this fantastic city, but it is important to choose the best location when spending 4 days. It needs to be close enough to walk to sites and convenient for breaks during/after excursions.
The Inbal Hotel was a good choice.
Lovely room on the 8th floor, with a balcony overlooking a slice of the Old City , and 2 lounge chairs. (These are important factors when over 70.) Swimming unkinked those walking muscles and the terry-cloth robes facilitated going and coming comfortably. The hotel was expensive but we regrouped some losses with the use of the Executive Lounge that came with rooms on the 8th and 9th floors : light meals, spirits, coffee were always available gratis.
And we spent all sunsets up here.
When we arrived at the hotel, our guide Roy Brody was waiting. Over coffee, he laid out our strategy for the next few days. Being both a Brit and an Israeli with twenty-five years of guiding and an art history degree from L.A.—he was perfect for 2 Americans. He had a remarkable understanding of what we wanted to see, and since we were 70+, how many sites. And we were off to The Damascus Gate!
This is the most monumental and crowded entrance to The Old City. Roy steered us around the right side of the arch, over the plaza and into the Souk. This covered and narrow Bazaar wound between the buildings and was packed with small, appealing shops on either side.
Crowded, noisy, people coming and going or just standing still…it was delightful. These Bazaars are a fascinating view into the thriving Arab Community. This El Wad Street with its stone arched walls and ceiling where any empty space, nook, has been converted into a shop or restaurant. The wonderful odors of spices, fruit and cooking permeate the air.
To be continued on 8/18…..