I’m not convinced it was Herod’s Palace.
But anyway, after eating lunch, we went around the corner from the square and into a tiny little shop-front, which had a staircase leading down.
We found ourselves at the first of a complex of three excavated villas beneath the Jewish Quarter.
It was a very strange cat. It would come up to you and rub itself against you and demand to be patted, but then occasionally for no reason, it would turn on you with its grubby, grubby claws. It’s just as well we were all wearing gloves. These feral cats haven’t been vaccinated and it can be quite dangerous to be scratched or bitten by one.
In all honesty, we’ve seen a number of houses claiming to be Herod’s. I can accept that he might have had a villa in Caesarea Maritima and a villa in Jerusalem, but there’s a much larger one claiming to be Herod’s which is now being used as a police station near the Jaffa gate. Given how Jerusalem is “like a cake” (Yuval’s words) with lots of layers, I doubt the police station one is Herod’s house, but it’s much more likely that one of these three belong to the High Priest.
Point 1 – they all have personal mikvehs
Point 2 – they’re close to the Temple (about 3 minutes walk, per Yuval, which translates as more like 5)
By this point, I was thoroughly exhausted. I can’t actually remember terribly much from after we climbed up onto the walls. Throughout Herod’s Palace, I felt like my legs wouldn’t hold me much more – and my feet were hurting so badly, no doubt in part to the fact that I missed a step on the wall and turned my ankle – that I kept finding any and every staircase or low wall to sit on. I got out my notebook and took notes so it didn’t look like I was just being lazy. Yuval has a very low tolerance for laziness or weakness. I’m sure he doesn’t mean it, but it comes across awfully, and no-one else seemed to be having as much trouble.