I had a 15-hour overnight layover in Istanbul, and all I had to show for it were these pictures.
West meets Eastern Europe meets Northern Europe in terms of architecture.
Jerusalem was a bust...so I went to Tel Aviv instead.
I was all set to go to Jerusalem. I had my phone, some snacks and water, a general itinerary (conducive to Nadi-ness) and a scarf to cover up at religious sites. I boarded the train with minutes to spare and was on my way. I transferred to a Jerusalem-bound train in Tel Aviv and was feeling good.
As we neared Jerusalem, an old man joined me in my little four-person 'booth'. With me not speaking Hebrew and him not speaking English but wanting to talk, it made for a comical exchange for on-lookers. I made out that he wanted me to take photos of him...so I did that for a bit.
Shortly after departing Bet Shemet, the train came to a stop. I was not sure what exactly happened but made out from the Hebrew-only announcement that the train would have to return to Bet Shemet. In broken English, the old man told me we would wait for another train. That was fine by me, although the temperatures were starting to climb. While I tried to avoid the old man who had resorted to petting me as we waited, I observed my fellow passengers more closely. There were tourists, like me, young Israelis in the service and large families or multiple families traveling together.
I was relieved when the second train arrived. While I could not shed the old man, I pretended to fall asleep and that seemed to have him stop asking me to be his personal photographer or pet. We sat across from two young girls who were headed to the mall. Just as we were about to reach the outskirts of Jerusalem, the train, again, stopped! I conjectured that the train was experiencing the same problems as the first train. We waited and after a while, the train slowly made its way back to Bet Shemet.
At that point, I learned that no more trains would be headed to Jerusalem, but that the transportation service was providing buses instead. It was now the afternoon, I had left Haifa early in the morning. Even if the bus made it through the Jerusalem traffic in good time, I would maybe only see one site. Fortunately, my friend (with whom I was staying) recommended I go to Tel Aviv instead. And that I did, and it was splendid (<--photos). I guess Jerusalem will be waiting for me next time.
I am like a breeze -- you can find me...