Friday, September 3, 2010

Today I am packing and getting ready to leave.  I'll have to pack a lot of memories also.  It has been a wonderful time  here exploring places I never knew about or even thought I would visit.  Let alone visit them numerous times to really appreciate them.  I hope that you have enjoyed reading my blog.  It was nice to think about the day's events and let you in on them.  This is my last blog from Israel / Holy Land. The pictures are of the Ethiopian Church in Jerusalem.  That was one of the few places that I didn't get to visit so I made a point of seeing it on Friday.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Today we went to the Holy Cross Monastery. It is down the hill from my apartment on Aza Street. It is in a valley with the Knesset atop the hill on one side and the Israeli Museum/ Shrine of the Book on the other side. This is the place they say the cross which Christ used was grown. The present building is from the 1100's and not much has been done to it since then which makes it interesting. Like a lot of the Greek Monasteries, they have birds in large cages, animals around.

After that we decided to go to a Mall to see the differences between ours and theirs. The only thing is that it is three stories instead of all one level, the stores are much smaller in size and there are a lot of bakeries there.

Then we went to Yad Vashem, the holocaust Museum. Every time there I seem to learn more about this tragedy. We walked around the outside memorials also.

We came back to the apartment and Steve and Judy prepared to leave this evening. I will be preparing to start packing myself as soon as they leave. The Pictures are from yesterday. They were taken from the top of the Mount of Temptation.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Today we went to Bethany to visit the Tomb of Lazarus. The Wall now separates Bethany in half. Although it is still on the Mount of Olives, you can’t get there from the top of Mount. You have to go all the way around the city. The tourists no longer can get there easily. So there aren’t many that visit this beautiful sight. When we got back to Jerusalem, we went to St. Peter’s Church. That’s where St. Peter denied Jesus. It’s also a beautiful place to visit especially the view over East Jerusalem. Then in the evening we went to Mahane Yehuda, the local outdoor market for Jerusalem. It’s kind of like a perpetual Farmer’s Market except much larger. Then we went to Ben Yehuda Street to take in a little local flavor of the town. The first picture is of a sign showing that the USA is paying for the new road into the Palestinian Area of Bethany (or Al Eizariyah as it is now called because of the Wall being built right through the middle of the town.  The second picture is of the congested Arab Bus Station in Jerusalem.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today we went to Jericho.  It is in a Palestinian  Area.  So to play it safe, we used my friend Walid, a Palestinian taxi driver.  He makes every trip enjoyable, memorable and fun.  We drove through these narrow roads to get to the main highway from Bethlehem. The USA has paid for many of these roads in Palesine, since Israel has cut them off basically from the world. It would be much easier to go out of Jerusalem, but Walid cannot cross the border / checkpoint.  What a shame.  Maybe the talks that start on September 2 can remedy some of this.  Anyways, first we went to swim in the Dead Sea.  That is always an experience since you can float in about six inches of water.  Then we went to Jericho.  The USA paid for a huge training area and also train the Palestinian Police and some Military in this facility.  With all the Mosque arguments going on in New York City, it's interesting that there is a new Mosque inside the walls of this USA paid facility. We went to the Mount of Temptation, Zachaeus' Sycamore Tree, a branch of the Jordan River, the spring that has fed the city of Jericho for 10,000 years.  On the way back to Jerusalem, we stopped at The Mosque of Moses. On to Bethlehem and said a final goodbye to Walid.  In the past month, he was a big part of my travels.  So I willl miss him. Did I mention that he is huge.  He has been Mr. Palestine for two years and also Mr. Egypt in the past years The pictures are of Walid, Steve and Judy.  The other two pictures are of the Dead Sea.  The water level has dropped so much that perhaps in 20 years, it might just be desert. By the way we did not go into the bar and it is 1371 feet below Sea Level or 418 meters.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Today we did a lot of walking.  We took a total of three buses to get to the Mount of Olives.  Then we walked the Palm Sunday Walk.  We left from Bethpage up the Mount of Olives, down to the Dominus Flevit Church, on to the Garden of Gethsemane and Gethsemane.  Went to the Rock of Agony Church and the Tomb of Mary Church.  Then we walked the Via Dolorosa or the Way of the Cross being able to have all the stops including the sites of Crucifixion and the Tomb. They was hardly a line especially at the Crucifixion. When we went by St. Ann's Church it was closed over the noon hours, so we went back.  Got on a bus and came home.  The pictures are of the inside of the Church of All Nations or the Rock of the Agony Church. The church is deliberately dark to imitate the night time when Jesus was betrayed by Judas. Instead of using glass, they used Alabaster.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Today we spent time in the Old City. First we went to the Armenian Quarter to get a view of the whole Old City.  We went to the rooftops and walked around seeing all of the Old City from a different view than from the ground.  Then off to the Jewish Quarter which is all pretty new.  The Jordanians bombed it in 1967 when they retreated in the War.  After going to the Western Wall, we went to the Davidson Archaeology Center where we enjoyed  movies describing the recent excavations and discoveries.  Then we walked  out into the area to see first hand the items described in the movies.  It was very interesting especially the steps that they found that lead to the Second Temple.  Of course we climbed them and looked at other ruins from the 1st century throught the 7th.  Then we went to the Mt. Zion Area where the Upper Room, King David's Tomb and the Dormition Church are located.  In the evening, we went to Mass at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. The picture above is of Mary "sleeping" before she was assumed into Heaven.  In the background is the Chapel of the Pentecost.  The Last Supper and all of these events took place in this area.