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The Holy Land

Jerusalem, Israel, West Bank

Thurs.May 19.Still docked in Ashdod.Met at 7:45am for our overnight in Jerusalem.Drove around the city.Saw the wall separating the Jewish and Arab areas.Our guide,jewish, has
Arab friends and said it was now difficult to visit each other.Saw the Dome of the Rock, the 3rd holiest site in Islam.

Walked the Via Dolorosa where the Stations of the Cross are marked on doorways.It is very narrow and crowded and we were told to stick together with our guide.The whole is a vast bazaar and we would have liked to have spent some time there.I took a picture of a handprint on a wall where Jesus is said to have leaned when carrying the cross.

We went to the Western (Wailing) Wall.Men and women have separate areas separated by a wall.The square was set up for a ceremony for the new graduating recruits.

We visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on the hill of Golgotha,site of the crucifixion,
burial and resurrection.
We had lunch,then drove through the Judean Hills to Bethlehem.Our Jewish guide could not enter so had to leave us and a Christian Arab guide took over.We visited the site of the manger in the Church of the Nativity.
We then returned to our hotel,the Leonardo Plaza,where we just had time to shower,change and were off to another hotel for dinner.We were shown into a lovely garden where there was a table of middle eastern hors d'oeuvres,delicious.That would have been enough for me but we were escorted to an open area beyond the swimming pool
where there were tables for 8 and a stage.We sere served a lovely dinner,too much food.
We were happy to learn that left over food is given to the poor.We had an M.C. who was a
terrible commedian and 3 wonderful musicians,one of whom sang.The last event was a pyrotechnic display which was magnificent.This was quite unexpected.

Day 2 Fri May 20.We left the hotel at 7:30am,drove through the Judean desert and Jordan valley to Tabgha where Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes.We saw the Mount of Beatitudes in the distance where the Sermon on the Mount was preached. We saw the Sea of Galilee which is quite a resort area.We had lunch in Galilee then went to Yardenit where
the River Jordan separates from Galilee and where Jesus was baptized.Many people come here to be baptized.

We went to Nazareth,to the Basilica of the Annunciation,largest church iin the Middle East.

Our last visit was to the church of St.Joseph,built over his carpenter's shop.
We arrived back to the ship in Haifa,had a tour of the city,saw the large Baha'i Temple
and magnificent gardens.

We were all pretty tired.Now 2 days at sea and then Sorrento,Italy.

permalink written by  edoyle on May 23, 2011 from Jerusalem, Israel, West Bank
from the travel blog: World Cruise
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