I took the easiest route to the Mount of Olives, after a lot of map study the night before, down the Via Dolorosa towards St Stephen’s gate, or the Lion Gate. Stepping out of Jerusalem with a backpack, as I’d checked out after an excellent breakfast, I walked tentatively across the slightly damp cobblestones of the via Dolorosa. Descending into the Kidron valley, and then up again the Mount of Olives is good uphill trot, and with a backpack, it was a very slow trot! But in the morning the sun was shining, and the panorama of the Mount of Olives was very biblical indeed – never mind the buses and cars going by!
The garden is not exactly that, more like a park where you could walk about after the heat and dust of ancient Jerusalem, but as usual for a Catholic administered site, it is beautifully maintained and captioned. For once I was happy with the mob of taxi drivers, who told me to go to the grotto first. Grotto? I thought that was more Lourdes – but there is a grotto here, where Jesus went apart from the disciples and prayed – or was it where they slept while He went outside and prayed? Maybe a bit of both – but there is artwork on the ceiling, and a very quiet chapel at the end of a narrow sunbaked corridor. A good resting place for the hike up the hill!
I didn’t notice it until I uploaded this photo to the blog, but it seems to be a typical holy picture halo, this is the mural that shows the Assumption, and no, I haven’t ‘gimped’ the halo!! The flash of my camera perhaps? I have corrected Levels, and increased brightness a bit, but I’m not a Photoshop, I mean gimp, expert!