As the summer sun starts to sizzle, keeping a cool head becomes a priority. Jerusalem hot days give way to deliciously cool nights, perfect for taking a stroll to see what the Holy City has to offer. If you find yourself with time on your hands in the day, here are 5 suggestions for chilling out.
Cool off in the fountains at Park Teddy. Situated directly opposite the Old City Walls and the Mamilla mall, this park, inaugurated in 2013, has fast become a family favourite, with choreographed water displays of 30 minutes each beginning at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 16:00 during the day and after dark, with added lights and music at 20:00, 21:00 and 22:00. Audience participation is encouraged so bring your own towels.
Head for the hills – the Jerusalem hills offer breathtaking views, cooling breezes and, in many places, natural springs with water bubbling up from below that is cold enough to make you gasp. Whilst public transport is possible, it’s not all that practical. For a family friendly hike, try starting with a 360 degree panorama at The Kennedy Memorial before heading out along Shvil Hama’ayanot (‘Path of the springs’) where you can dip at several locations along the way.
The quality and variety of fresh fruit and vegetables in Israel means that you’re never far from freshly squeezed juices. Summer time means mangoes, passion fruit, peaches and grapes are all in season – whatever combination you go for, you can’t really go wrong. Head to Mitz Petel for the best of the best.
If you can’t borrow a bike then rent one at the First Station complex and head out along Park HaMesila – the Train Track Park which follows the winding route of the old train track through Jerusalem for seven kilometres to the Biblical Zoo. The outbound leg is mainly a relaxing downhill journey. At the end of the bike path, cross the bridge to the zoo car park and continue your ride on the dirt road going west. A little work on the pedals and you’ll find yourself at Ein Lavan, where you can bathe in the well-maintained natural springs. If you’re feeling adventurous, continue a little further and you’ll find an ancient mikve (ritual bath) situated next to the track.
Jerusalem does not present a wide variety of options for ice cream lovers, but there is a fairly broad consensus that the best it has to offer is very good indeed. Tucked away on a side street next to Shuk Machane Yehuda, visitors to Mousseline are greeted by a wide array of ice creams and sorbets in flavours including saffron, wasabi, grapefruit and basil as well as more traditional options, which compete with any ice cream in Israel.
Neil Gillman fell in love with eating all of his meals out of a pita on his first trip to Israel. An adopted Jerusalemite since 1996, he is married with 4 children and juggles his home life with sharing his love of food on his blog and working with Olim from English speaking countries.