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Journey To Jerusalem From Jordan ... Repost Of March 2009 Trip Report

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May 11th, 2010, 07:12 AM
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Journey To Jerusalem From Jordan ... Repost Of March 2009 Trip Report

This is a sectioned and edited repost of a trip I did to Egypt, Jordan and Israel in March 2009. I hope the information and my experiences there will still be helpful to others planning to visit or bring back fond memories for those that have.
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May 11th, 2010, 07:14 AM
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JERUSALEM

Photo Link ....
http://www.dotphoto.com/go.asp?l=DMB...er&AID=6149651
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May 11th, 2010, 07:24 AM
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40 YEARS


The "Moses Syndrome" is alive and well as I set of to enter "The Promised Land".

6:20AM .. At the main bus station I have a falafel and strawberry "Fanta" for breakfast(1JD). We wait for enough passengers to show up before we leave for King Hussein Bridge. Taxi(12JD) and Money Exchange (40JD for 100NIS) offers are made.. Both are no bargains. The bus is 3JD plus 0.5JD per bag.

I am the only tourist on the bus with men sitting in front and women in the back.

8:30AM ... At the Jordain Border, I walk around to tourist side and start the Jordain departure process. Bags are x-rayed in one building and then I walk freely with my bag to another building. At WINDOW-1 my passport is taken. WINDOW-2 does something with my passport and tells me to pay 5JD at WINDOW-3. There I get a stamp and take it back to WINDOW-2 who smiles and tells me I will get my passport back on the bus and "To please take a seat in ... "DEPARTURE LOUNGE-1".

Half an hour later a bus arrives to take us to Israeli Border(3JD plus 0.5 per bag). As our passports are given back by an official who has not seen us before a humorous exchange takes place with a few Arabic women ... apparently their passport pictures are too similar.

Two Checkpoints and King Hussein Bridge along with the Israeli Border comes into sight.

We are taken off the bus by the Israelis and passports are checked as armed soldiers watch. I and another passengers decide to take pictures and we are soon approached by plain clothes officials. They are polite in again checking our passports and asking to see the pictures we had taken. We were asked to delete the pictures but "You can take all the pictures you want once officially across the border". In my traveling bliss it is easy to forget where I am ... This is a Military Zone.

Back on the bus we are driven to the arrival terminal. Passports are taken and given a baggage sticker then it's through normal airport type screening.

Next.. Immigration. "Why are you in Israel, Will you go to the West Bank, Where will you be staying, Do you know any one in Israel?" ... Do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around.

Two more passport checks then customs which is easy since all I have is a backpack. I miss "Welcome To Jordon".

While waiting for a shared taxi(37NIS) to Jerusalem I have an informative conversation with a Jordain American. I am told picture taking can sometimes delay the border crossing 2-3 hours... Sorry. Born in Jerusalem prior to 1948 he has to visit his birthplace as foreigner. There is only about 50 miles between Amman and Jerusalem and prior to 1967 it took only 1 hour to cross ... today we spent more time than that at the border alone.

En route to Jerusalem we pass settlements on the West Bank and have one more Passport Checkpoint before entering the city.

11:45AM ... With the call to afternoon prayer being echoed from somewhere behind "Damascus Gate" I arrive at "The Holiest Of Cities". Most beautiful, Most disputed.

Not far from "Damascus Gate" I check into The New Hashimi Hotel .. A strict Islamic house that allows no alcohol, smoking or unmarried couples in rooms. It is located inside the Old City (40E Per Night) and has great city views from 3rd floor balcony.

The Old City is an exciting area filled with ancient history and everyday life. Within it's boundaries are most of the holiest sites to Jews, Muslims and Christians.. The Wailing Wall, Dome of The Rock and Church of Holy Sepulchre (Site of The Crucifixion). Today, Jews, Muslims, Christians and Armenians share various parts of the city in peaceful coexistence which has not always being the case. A military presence is through out the city with male and female soldiers carrying M-16's.

The remains of ancient Jerusalem can be seen although many parts have been built upon with shops, restaurants and homes.

The Walled City has seven gates ... From Jaffa to Zion all with histories of their own.

A self-guided roof top tour finds me like a rat in a maze looking for cheese ... through narrow passages, up and down stairs and dead ends I am delightfully lost. At one point I pass through a home or shop with Jewish men wearing "Square Black Boxes" on their heads. They cheerfully give me some sense of direction.

I sample fresh bread with spices and olive oil, pastries and fresh fruit on my afternoon stroll. A pita filled with salad, vegetables, French fries and fried chick peas ends my evening.

JERUSALEM DAY TWO

Fresh pita with equally fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and hot tea starts my day along with friendly smiles in Hashimi's breakfast room from Islamic men and women.

I walk towards Mt. Olive with a detour to The Wailing Wall after passing "airport type" security. The solemn sounds of ancient prayers and rituals are a sight worth witnessing. A 20 min walk from here is Mt. Olive ... again a place significant for Jews, Muslims and Christians.

After Mt. Olive I hop on a city bus(5.9NIS) for a free tour around the city before disembarking at Jaffa Gate. Here I meet up with a "Free 3-1/2hour" walking tour of the city.

We hit all the important sites in the city except "The Dome of The Rock" ... Get up early for that one Sunday - Thursday with no entry after 1:00PM. Our guide gives us "The Cliff Note" version of the important sites with interesting stories to go along with them.

We learn about all the communities in The Old City and their history here. We take it all in, including a guided roof top tour!

My highlights .. revisiting The Wailing Wall and putting my hand in the hand print believed left by Jesus on "Via Dolorosa" ...The path he took to be crucified.

Our guide does a great job and he is deserving of a nice tip at the end of the tour. Tonight ... I fly home from Tel Aviv with great memories from a wonderful experience.
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Dec 14th, 2010, 04:09 PM
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Hi,

Thank you for the great photos and detailed info on crossing the Jordanian-Isreali border. It will certainly be helpful on our Egypt/Jordan/ Jerusalem trip this March. We only have a day and a half in Jerusalem. We plan on being at the King Hussein Bridge first thing in the morning and return before it closes the next day. Although you departed via the airport, would you know what time we should leave Jerusalem to safely cross the bridge? Thanks!
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Dec 14th, 2010, 06:43 PM
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As I recall it was about an hour drive from the border to Jerusalem with one military check point just before entering the city. I think it will be easier and quicker going the other way. I think the border hours are 8am-4pm. The earlier you get there the better.

How will you travel to the border? Shuttle service is available from outside the Damascus Gate. For Jordan I would recommend a rental car from Avis. They have a location at the Jordanian border and it will make it easy for your return. Driving in Jordan was not to difficult just get good directions to and from the King Hussein Bridge. The rental car I had gave me the flexibility to take in all the sights with ease.

If you are driving in Amman it can be a bit of a challenge but I found the Jordanians friendly and more than helpful.

Safe Travels
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Dec 15th, 2010, 04:54 AM
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Thanks for the reply. We are planning on renting a car at the Jordan airport. It's reassuring to know that you did not find driving difficult. Because of time constraints, we are not planning to go into Amman at all...So maybe if we leave Jerusalem at around 1300, we should safely make the crossing. I will look into the shuttle service. But since there are 4 of us and on limited time, I may opt for a driver/cab. Sometimes preserving my peace of mind, trumps cost...I've been reading your travel blog, great fun (and very helpful)!
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Dec 16th, 2010, 05:12 AM
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pasqualino,

Are you crossing from Jerusalem to Jordan or vice versa? If you are coming from the Jordan side I would allow more time. Glad the postings are helpful. Will it be your first time in Israel and Jordan? I really enjoyed there and hope to do some more traveling in the Middle East. Lebanon and or Syria would be interesting places to see.
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Jan 11th, 2011, 05:04 PM
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Hi,

Sorry for the late reply, I haven't been on Fodor's in a while. We are going Jordan to Jerusalem and then back to Jordan. Yes, it's our first time in this area.
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Jan 12th, 2011, 03:49 AM
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I'm eagerly awaiting more about your trip. I just decided to put Jordan on our trip list (have a friend who's living in Amman) and am craving all the info I can get. Thank you for posting. We are also looking at Syria for the same trip.
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Jan 12th, 2011, 08:44 PM
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Pasqualino,

I would definitely allow a fair amount of time crossing from Jordan to Jerusalem. I don't recall too many private cars making the crossing at KH Bridge. I took a bus from Amman and was then placed on another bus to cross the border after being processed by Jordanian border officials.

Maybe others have crossed by private cars and will post their experiences.
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Jan 13th, 2011, 05:15 AM
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Not sure what you mean by crossing the border with a private car. Rental cars from either country are not allowed to cross the border.

Israeli cars can cross into Jordan, however it is a lengthy procedure including proving certain levels of insurance, proving ownership and then having temporary Jordanian plates issued. Certainly not something possible or worthwhile for a tourist.
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Jan 13th, 2011, 07:26 AM
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Oreet,

Thanks for the clarification. I hope it will help "pasqualino" with his/her travel plans. You also helped assure me that my memory is still working as I did not recall seeing many cars coming from the Jordanian side of the border.

Even on a bus it was complicated. I can just imagine the process for private cars.
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Jan 17th, 2011, 02:34 PM
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Sorry to mislead you. We plan on crossing the bridge on the bus, like everyone else. We are going to leave our rental car at the Jordanian crossing for 2 nights. I'm hesitant about this, but the rental car company told me it should be no problem. I had read that car theft is not a problem in Jordan because of the severe punishment.
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Jan 19th, 2011, 09:32 AM
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pasqualino,

Whew, a much better option! Maybe you can do a one way rental to the border and save a few bucks. I originally had a car booked with Avis as a one way rental from Aqdaba with a drop at the border with no additional charge.

There are also numerous car rental companies at the border including Avis.

Remember, NO PICTURES at Israeli Border!

For a different experience would recommend the Hasihimi Hotel in Old Jerusalem. It's a strict Islamic hotel (no smoking, alcohol, married couples or singles only ... etc) located in the Arab section inside the Damascus Gate. Reasonably priced, great staff and great views of the city from their balcony where they offer free breakfast!

Will be interested to read about your experiences in Jordon and Israel. I think you will have a great time
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Nov 3rd, 2013, 01:02 AM
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I'm planing a short trip to Jerusalem tomorrow from Amman and plan also to visit Nablus on one of my days.....is this going to cause me a problem at the border when questioned? Thx
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Nov 3rd, 2013, 02:41 PM
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moremiles,

It been years since I was there but I do not think you will have any problems.

Just be patient and no pictures until clear of the border crossing.

For me, the process just seemed a little more of a pain than it should have been but did give me an appreciation for the history and security issues of the area.

Have an enjoyable trip
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