Saturday, August 28, 2010

Today we went to the Nazareth Area. This is where Jesus grew in Adulthood and Middle Age.  We went to Mt. Tabor where Jesus showed himself to be God.  He was transfigured before the eyes of three of the Apostles. It is on top of a Mountain all by itself, up from the Jezreel Valley.  Even with four busloads of people it did not seem crowded at all.  It was hazy today, so you couldn't see as far as uusal, but it was still beuatiful.  We took a shortcut to Nazareth, really a rock road from a small town to a divided highway leading into Nazareth.  Went to the Church of the Annunciation and the Synagogue where Jesus studied and taught.  Even went to the Precipice where the Leaders of the Synagogue wanted to throw Jesus over for blaspheming. But he walked through their midst.  And then drove back to Jerusalem.  Another wonderful day.  I have named my project as "Praying the Path of Jesus". So I took a number of pictures today of paths from the Nazareth Village.  I will probably use one of them as the cover of the Project.  Here are a few samples.
This blog is for August 27.  Today we went to the Sea of Galilee area. We had a little more trouble than usual with the Car Rental & GPS. But got everthing worked out and off we went. After a two and half hour drive, we, we went first to the baptismal place of Jesus. Went through the city of Tiberias and stopped at the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish. After that we went to the Primacy of Peter and went to the Sea of Galilee. Afterwards we had Mass and was joined by a young man from Poland. His nickname was "Magic". He was a very nice person. Then on to Capernaum to see Peter's home and the synagogue where Jesus taught for many years. Our last stop was the Mount of Beatitudes. It was the most beautiful place of the day. We got to our guesthouse just in time for a swim in the Sea of Galilee before supper. The pictures today are of the view of the Sea of Galilee from my room's balcony.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Today we went to Bethlehem and went first to the Basilica of the Birth of Christ.  The last times I had gone there, the Armenians were having a very long service in the grotto.  This time a Franciscan was there, saying that the Grotto would be closed for an hour.  He said that a Mass was going to start.  I asked if we could attend and he allowed us to join a very small Spainsh speaking group.  It was really great to spend about 45 minutes in the place where Christ was born.  I'll always remember that time.  It was one of the highlights of the trip for me.  When we were finished the Armenians were ready to start, so we were really lucky.  We went to the other sights that I have mentioned before in Bethlehem.  If all of you could meet my Taxi Driver, Walid, your minds would all change about Palestinians.  He is the most gracious, kind person you could ever want to meet.  He is Catholic, belongs to the Nativity Church, father of 4 children. His wife is Armenian and speaks very highly of her.  I have met some of his family.  These are not the Palestinians portrayed by the Government or the Media.  I will see him for the last time on Tuesday, I'll get his picture for all of you.

In the Afternoon, we went to  Ein Karem.  This is the town where Mary visited Elizabeth while both of them were pregnant.  Also we went to the birthplace of St. John the Baptist.  It was a wonderful day.  Tomoorrow morning we leave for the Sea of Galilee Area.  They only have internet service in the lobby where we are staying, so I'm not taking my laptop.  I won't have a blog tomorrow but will resume when I return.
The pictures are of the market where the locals shop in Bethlehem.  I concentrated on the Meat Section because it is so unusual from our stores.  The meat hangs outside and people come and have certain cuts selected and cut while the animal hangs.  We think the pictures are of goats.  And the third picture is of some of the vegetables in the market.  I only took one picture but there are over 30 fruit stands with wonderful fruits for sale. Bon Appetite!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

This morning I went to the Holy Sepulcher Church for Mass. The Franciscans have it before the pilgrims come into the church or while it is still on the calm side. They live within the Church. Since there is only one door in the whole church, they are literally locked in every day. One said that a Friar had an appendicitis attack one night and the heads from the three controlling religions of the church had to vote to see if the Church could be reopened so he could go to the hospital. None of the religions have the key, it is owned by a Muslim family who gets paid to open and lock the church every day. The lock is on the outside of the church. Like everything in Israel, it is all very complicated. No one wants to lose the little they have. After that I came back to the apartment to make arrangements to go to the airport to welcome my new guests, Steve and Judy for the next week. They arrived safely at the ariport and after a long taxi ride through Jerusalem we made it back to the apartment. We headed out for the late afternoon and evening. We went to the Holy Sepulcher for evening prayer and then waited around for the crowds to leave so we could go to the crucifixion site. Above are pictures of the landscape between Jerusalem and the airport.  You have heard in Scripture, "Going Up To Jerusalem". They weren't kidding.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Since my time is running short in the Holy Land, I decided to go to different places in the City that I have not as of yet explored.  I went to some new developments.  If you would just wake up in this area, you would think of Miami Beach or San Diego.   The buildings are so similar.  Perhaps the architects all have gone to the same school.  I have pictures of two areas. 

Then I got back on the bus and went to the Ultra, Ultra Orthodox neighborhoods and everything sort of changes into black and white and baby buggies.  Even the stores are showing the latest in black and white.  The men wear white shirts with a black suit/robe and hat even on the hottest days.  The women wear a combination of  black and white or all black.  The women even wear something like snoods.  A fabric hood that bunches in the back.  Many of the women have to wear close cropped hair because of their Ultra Orthodox husbands and they wear wigs when outdoors.  All the wigs are the same style, so they are easy to pick out. They have to be hot, hot, hot.  The men wear a four cornered undershirt on the inside of their shirt which has a string on each corner, sometimes on the outside.  These four strings flap in the wind when they get in a hurry.  They also wear black big rimmed hats and even fur hats in the summer.  What's up with that.  Someone look up the reference in the first five books of the bible.  It must be terribly important.  Somthing we must have missed.  See the pictures of the Present and the pictures of the people wearing the clothes of the Past.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Today I went to the newer part of the City and just walked around looking at the differences between the old and the new. There are quite a lot of similarities between the two. The buildings are all made out of stone. The architecture is basically the same; a lot of arches and walls. But there is a suspension bridge by the Central Bus Station that sticks out like a sore thumb. It is bright white and is built on hill so it is visible from over half of the City. The pictures are of the Soccer Stadium and also a new Arena that they have just started excavating the foundation. They decided to build the arena next to the Stadium so they could share the parking areas. The pictures are of the Stadium and a rendering of the Arena.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Today, we toured through the Armenian Section. There is a wonderful observation area right at the corners of the 4 areas of the city, We walked through the Jewish Section. Most of it was destroyed in the 1968 War and is now mostly rebuilt. The most famous synagogue in Jerusalem at that time was totally destroyed and now is rebuilt. It just opened a few months ago. The Western Wall was next and we also saw the Plaza of the Dome of the Rock. One of the most interesting parts of the day was exploring the ruins of the Southern Wall of the Temple. These Excavations started in the 1970's and are really very interesting. Since they were hidden for centuries, nothing was removed or disturbed. We saw the steps to the Temple from the Second Temple and the Arched walkway and the market stalls below. It was fun walking around amid the ruins. Then onto the City of David. There we walked the ramparts walk for a short piece. We went to Schindler’s Grave. The tomb is overflowing with rocks, the symbol that someone was there to pay their respects. Then up the hill to the Dormition Church, King David’s Tomb & the Upper Room. So it was a full day. We had a bit to eat and some last minute shopping and Alex is ready to catch a ride to the airport. It was great to have him here for a few days. The pictures are of  the ruins of the Second Temple area.  The First is of the Cardo Area. And the second picture is of the main entrance to the Temple.  The steps closest are the ones that lead into the temple and the ones far were the exit from the temple.  There was greenery in between.  They already knew about traffic flow abck then.  It was great to walk the steps of so many from the past, especially Jesus.