Seeing where it all began and where it ended
Trip Start Nov 10, 2013
18Trip End Dec 04, 2013
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Weather report: outstanding, sunny and 70 degrees. Cloudy later in the day. Perfect for walking around the old city of Jerusalem.
Biggest negative to our visit here in Israel is the fact our ship is in Haifa which is north of most of what we are trying to see. So it takes about 3 hours to reach Jerusalem . The good news is the outstanding tour guides fill that down time with information and stories about Israel and its people. We had a different guide today but he was equally outstanding.
Comments on our visit to Jerusalem:
A chaotic city-cars, people, tourists, peddlers
A common theme you hear is that the actual locations and dates of events from biblical times are simply "guesstimates" and based on what people think are likely locations and dates. As our tour guide says: " we have a gap in knowledge and time", which prevents us from being truly accurate about events we read in the bible.
It simply amazes me that three major religions( Jewish, Catholic, Muslim ) all claim the same space in this city. How that happened and how they seem to make it work is beyond me. There is a new IMAX feature film called "Jerusalem " which nicely describes life in Jerusalem and is worth seeing.
Of the things I saw in Jerusalem I think I liked the visit to the Western Wall the best
Bethlehem, on the other hand, was a huge disappointment. I did not know Bethlehem is in what is the Palestine territory, which is located in the middle of Israel and surrounded by a wall and manned by security checkpoints at limited entry points. The Palestine /Israel issue is a whole another complex story worth a chapter of it own. We even had to have a Palestinian tour guide lead us while in the city. Back to comments on Bethlehem. A small church, consisting of 3 separate interior designs (reflecting guess what) built over what supposedly is thought to be where the stable (?) was. Could not get anywhere near seeing the small grotto chapel because of the crowds. We did all sing "silent night" with our tour guide in the church courtyard since it is near the Christmas season.
Headed back to the ship now. There is supposed to be a local 30 person folk group on board tonight to entertain us with singing and dancing. Should be fun. Rest of entertainment has been so-so. Food, however, continues to impress us with its quality and creativity.