I spent a week recently in Jerusalem, a city I know well from my younger days, visiting my mother.
Jerusalem, as many know, is an ancient city, from approximately 2400 BCE located in the Judean Mountains, approximately 2500 feet above sea level. Toronto, by comparison is only 250 feet above sea level.
Jerusalem is a relatively small to moderate sized city, and having arrived two days earlier I decided it was time to get out and walk. My 16k route took me from the new city to the old city, walking primarily along quiet city streets and a 6km rail trail, following part of the old Ottoman Jaffa-Jerusalem rail line. Once I reached the old railway station, I continued to the Old City walls, and walked up Jaffa street, one of the city’s main thoroughfares. Now on my way back to my starting point, I passed major government buildings such as the Supreme Court, and the Parliament building, as well as the Israel Museum and one of the two campuses of the Hebrew University.
In addition to being a city filled with new and old sites, as well as gorgeous vistas, did I mention that Jerusalem is really hilly?
Jerusalem is breathtaking both because of its sites and views but also because of its altitude and its hills. While my first 16k walk this trip was tough-due to altitude, hills and perhaps my jet lag, I am pleased to say that after walking around town more casually, virtually every day, I was able to complete my 2nd walk along the same course with much less effort, a mere 4 days later…..I was no longer breathless when power walking in Jerusalem.