Our last day was epically long and filled with activities and new culinary experiences. We started by visiting Yad LaKashish, Lifeline for the Old, which is a wonderful non-profit that provides employment and social services to elderly immigrants. The seniors make crafts and Judaica in artisan workshops and their work is sold at the very reasonably priced gift shop. I bought an adorable, super comfy travel pillow for less than $12. I HIGHLY recommend stopping by.
We walked to the Old City and visited some shops in the Cardo, which is an arcaded street from Byzantine times. The street has been reconstructed, but some ancient pillars remain, which reminded me a little of the Roman forum.
The Cardo leads into the Old City Shuk, which is definitely a must see because the setting is so historic, but the vendors are aggressive and most of them are selling the same touristy goods.
We stopped at the landmark Ja’far Sweets to try the famous Arabic pastry knafeh, which consists of cheese soaked in sweet syrup and topped with crunchy phylo bits. The sweet cheese was not to my liking, but it was unique.
We walked to the Kotel (aka Wailing Wall, Western Wall), where we had reservations for the underground tunnel tours. The tunnels were fascinating to visit and our tour guide was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I definitely recommend this activity and ordering advance tickets online (thank you R.B.L. for this recommendation and other suggestions!).
The tour left off on the famous Via Delorosa, where we saw a couple pilgrimage groups and school children.
Back in the Jewish quarter, we were fortunate to run into a porter from our hotel who took us to the obscure staircase that leads to the Old City rooftop walk. It was cool to see families wheeling their groceries home via the rooftops. Less exciting were the many stray cats.
After leaving the Old City, we had lunch at Sabichiya on Shammai Street, which is known for having the best Sabich (an Israeli sandwich composed of pita stuffed with fried eggplant, a hardboiled egg, cucumber, tomato, and pickles topped with sauce).
We went back to Mahane Yehuda to pick up rose tea and spices. Along the way we stopped at Marzipan Bakery and bought some of the famous chocolate rugelach to take home.
We stopped at a café in Mahane Yehuda to have mint tea.
For our last dinner, we ate at Little Jerusalem, which is a dairy restaurant in the lovely garden of the Anna Ticho House Museum. This was my favorite dining experience in Israel and if we had gone there earlier in the trip, we probably would have had repeat meals there.
After dinner we went to the bar on the roof of the Notre Dame Center. The Notre Dame Center is a stunning building, but the views from the rooftop are even more spectacular! The bar specializes in wine and cheese, but we skipped the cheese and had some prosecco. I found it a little odd that the menu was only in dollars, but this was actually good because I was able to pay in USD and avoid a final ATM visit.
This was the perfect end to a fabulous trip. Shalom!