"Hi, this is Chippy and Nay from HOTfm WA. It must be some ridiculously hour of the morning over there yeah?"
As the haze starts to clear from my head I realize what's going on, the two chirpy callers are ringing for an interview :) I don't know what their producer feeds them for breakfast but to sound that good first thing in the morning is sickening. But thanks for thinking of me guys :)
Starting to drift back off my second wake up call comes in the way of 1000 Imams all yelling at once. Not since Istanbul have I heard so many voices competing for the airwaves.
Pleased there's daylight the next time I wake a rush of excitement rushes over me. This is it! Jerusalem here I come. Heading to the roof to get a look at my destination in the day I'm pleased with how close it looks...
Only four kilometers to go feet...
Father Roberto meets me for breakfast and for possibly my last "new experiences" of the road pours a big pot of coffee over my cornflakes. Tastes great though, cheers mate :)
Steph and Renee call wanting to meet up and join me for the last stretch. To save confusion I pick a big tower on top of the mount of Olives as the meeting place and set off.
Even the steep hill can't dampen my spirits and very step is a pleasure. Finding the tower is a mission though, it can be seen from all directions but not found :( A quick phone call and an alternative meeting place is all it takes before three very happy pilgrims set off for the old city.
It's strange how life works. Three years ago it was these same three pilgrims walking the Camino De Santiago together when we first met Dan, the guy who's idea is was to do this journey, It seems very right that this is how it's ending :)
Spotting the huge golden dome of the Rock and stopping briefly at the Gethsemane to gaze at the ancient olive trees where Jesus once sat it really hits me where I am. Jerusalem!
Lion's gate appears before us and I prepare for my big entrance...this is it, my journey is coming to a close :) The ancientness of the place is seeped into everything but the tourists are thick!
First stop is the wailing wall, after navigating the throng of mesmerized Jews I manage a little prayer and continue on towards the rock...
"What, it's closed!?! But it says here it is open till 14:30"
"Yes, but now it's Ramadan. It's closed"
"What time does it open tomorrow?"
"From seven thirty to eleven"
Oh well, tomorrow it is. But my pilgrimage will still finish tonight at the pub ;) I'm not dragging my backpack down here again tomorrow morning...
Two of Renee's friends, Quinton and Beverly, join us for the short walk to my third to last destination, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
What's a "Sepulchre" you may be wondering?
Don't know but rumor has it that this is the placed Jesus got nailed...to the cross that is :)
The place is packed and I have to laugh as a huge group of Russian pilgrims push and shove their way towards the entrance of an ancient wooden structure which is obviously the central point of interest in the place. Finally one of the priests looses it...
"Get back! Get back. Look where you are...are you animals?!?"
Renee's treat for finishing is a night in the King David hotel. This five star oasis is THE perfect place to put my feet up and relax....
As the afternoon draws to a close I have one final destination before I hang up my boots...the pub ;)
I couldn't think of a more appropriate place to conclude this adventure so making my way down to O'Connells Irish bar I waltz up to the counter and order a Guinness...
Beer never tasted so good...