Thankyou for letting me blurt all this out here (Days #0-#2 on the 'teeny-tiny' thread). I have a very fugitive memory, so it's great to have this opportunity for recall. At least in 6 months' time, when it all seems a dream, I can refer back!
Day #3 up bright and early as usual. I was feeling a bit better but took diminishing doses of loperamide throughout the tour, just for confidence's sake. Not ideal, would never have done it at home but couldn't risk being caught out on a coach.
We set off for Bethlehem. I have minimal geography but apparently it's a much windier (winding, not with wind blowing) route now than it used to be, because of security restrictions. I just enjoyed the ride.
We were crossing into Palestinian territory, which meant going through checkpoints, and armed guards got on. That was OK, I'm used to security but the Wall was harder to take. Maybe not so much at the time, again, I've worked in places with separation walls before but later it began to affect me.
We stopped at an Olive Wood Co-operative for a much-needed shopping break. Lots of lovely stuff but very expensive. Maybe we should have gone there later in the tour, when we'd got more of an idea of costs and how much we'd got left. I know I certainly didn't buy all I could have done, for fear of running out of money by the end of the week. And of course, we get used be a steady supply of cheap tat but part of the point of going to the Co-operative was to pay prices that would help support the livelihoods of people who find it difficult to get work in other ways.
We visited Herodion, the man-made mountain King Herod built as fortifications. The guide explained to us that when it says in the Bible that Jesus said, 'If you have faith as big as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain "be moved to the sea", and it will be moved', he wasn't just making comments about random landscape, it was this security mountain, the symbol of the opppressor that he was talking about.
We looked down into the valley and onto settlement villages, including one built over a massive water supply, which basically occupies the water supply for the settlers and their base community and potentially denies it to the former inhabitants. See me picking my way here? I have Massively Strong opinions about settlements but I know that other people have equally strong but opposing views. So I'm moving on.
We then went to Beit Sahour, site of the Shepherds' Fields church and worship places. We had Mass there.
We then went up to the Arab Rehabilitation Centre at Beit Jala ~ but it's time for me to go across to church and say Mass here, so more anon.
Thanks again for the blurt-opportunity!
02-02-2011, 08:41 AM
I hope you don't mind an extra paragraph in your thread, but I have a question. I remember you were worried about your wardrobe. What did you wear, and were you comfortable throughout your trip?
02-02-2011, 10:03 AM
oo, thanks for the question!
I loved the clothes I wore!
I travelled in a khaki/gold trouser suit with a longline jacket. The jacket came in handy the first day when it was coolish but not cold enough for a coat.
The second day I wore a long skirt with a waist coat. It was Orvis, red linen with flowers on. I word my black clerical shirt under it, ready to snap the collar in when I got to see the bishop. I wore floral leggings under it. All religious sites in Jerusalem require modest, knee and shoulder covering dress, at least one requires skirts for women, so I was covered - in all senses!
The next day, still needing to see the bishop, I had the same shirt on. This time with jeans and a long-line padded waistcoat with a kind of ethnic feel about it.
The other days I wore jeans and tops, sometimes with a denim jacket. A couple of days I wore a wide denim skirt, with floral leggings underneath/thick tights.
It was an absolute joy that the only clothes decisions I had to make every day were
is this OK for the sites I'm visiting?
do I like this?
"Does it fit?" never Once came into the equation, because everything did, and well. Oh yes. A great clothing time.
02-02-2011, 12:33 PM
Rosinante, I have read your posts in other forums, didn't realize you were a priest. I am enjoying your travelogue and think you are very brave. I have been afraid to go to the Holy Land because it is so volatile. Looking forward to the next day of your trip.
02-02-2011, 01:08 PM
bargoo, do you mean you've on other 3fc threads or other sites? Just, I don't let the priest bit out on other sites because some of them are kind of mean, and I don't want people to work out my real i.d. 3fc chickies - well, you're all different! :hug: :hug:
Security wise, Jerusalem and Tiberias were fine but, just because the culture is so very different, I'm not ready to travel alone yet. but boy, it was good!!!!! :kiss:
02-02-2011, 02:59 PM
Just 3fc threads , I don't do other forums as I have found 3fc most helpful. For instance , I am in cancer treatment and have checked out some of the cancer boards. Can I say depressing ? On 3fc we have every manner of problems besides weight issues and I find great spirit and encouragement here. Re: being a priest , I belong to the Presbyterian Church , we have an Episcopalian Priest who attends regularly with the blessing of her Bishop. She cannot be a member of our church but is quite active here and occaisionally preaches a sermon here.
02-02-2011, 06:35 PM
I agree. Theren are only a couple of other sites I post on, and that not often; but once someone from site A asked me if I was the same person as on site B (I use the same username, which is not Rosinante), and I got a bit scared as to how easily someone who was determined to could track a person down.
I love the 3fc community!
Have a :hug:
02-04-2011, 08:48 AM
Rosinante - I'm jonesing (craving) for another chapter of your travelogue. I know you must be busy but pretty please?
I haven't been this hooked on a vacation story since The George Pierrot Show.
"Pierrot had started his World Adventure Series at the Detroit Institute of Arts during the Depression. Detroiters paid 25 cents each to hear his talks and watch his films about his trips around the world.
His television show featured the films and talks of other world travelers, such as the bicycle rider and humorist Stan Midgley. Occasionally, some of his guest's tales would drag on and Pierrot was seen dozing on his set more than once. But his whimsical humor and rambling tales delighted his loyal fans."
02-04-2011, 11:47 AM
Thank You Rosinante for sharing your Holiday experiences with us! I've enjoyed reading them.
02-05-2011, 10:33 AM
I find myself logging on to 3fc hoping to find another installment of your travel recap lol.
Delighted to hear you were so happy with your clothes, and yay for jeans and cute clothes!
02-08-2011, 03:08 AM
So dragging myself out of creeping depression (eating too much, walking too little, sighing a lot) to write part 2 of day #3. Thanks for asking!
After Mass at Beit Sahour we had lunch somewhere, ...... oh yes, just been back to the brochure and checked. We went on to the Arab Rehabilitation Centre at Beit Jala. This is Palestine, and it's a hospital that caters particularly for people with disabilities but provides care to anyone in the area. Sometimes they even pay for people to travel there, because the area is very poor. The hospital was providing us with lunch, and it looked wonderful. I was still on scant rations because of my insides but the little I ate was good. What I began to notice, from here on in, was that no-one, No-one in our group, apart from me, ever said thankyou to the people who made us lunches (we always had lunch out, the other meals at the hotel). It seemed very odd to me. I know everyone was being paid for it but how hard is it to say thankyou? How rude is it not to? One of my very few Arabic words is Shukran but the least linguistic Briton could have told the least linguistic Palestinian 'thankyou' in English with a smile, and got the message over.
After lunch we went up on the roof, where the view is fantastic. Except when it's pointed out to you that that strip of beautifully tarmac-ed road, just 100 yards from the hospital, is not road at all but foundations for the next phase of the separation wall..... Here is where I'm very well aware of the risk of offending people, so I'll try and pick my way. The separation wall is to protect Israel from terrorism from Palestine. On the one hand, one can see the reason for it, sad though it is. On the other hand, and it's a matter of open record, not propaganda, the wall is being gradually pushed out into Palestine, and land is very gradually and silently (as far as the world is concerned) being enclosed into Israel. A few hundred yards Behind the hospital, the wall is already built. One hundred yards in front of it are foundations for the new phase (the wall's not a straight line, it's wiggly, and the hospital is kind of inside a finger-shaped bit, with wall all round the finger). Whatever the political situation, ordinary people who've never hurled a bomb in their lives, are being divided from family and friends and livelihood, and that's sad. Once the foundations, that looked like nice, new tarmac, had been pointed out to me, I saw them in quite a few other places throughout the trip. Strangely, they affected me more than the actual wall did. A wall is up, it's there, deal with it; the ribbons of foundations just sitting there quietly, calmly, going to go ahead regardless, I found them upsetting.
Back on the bus, and our driver did an amazing bit of manoeuvring to get us backwards through parked cars, then on to Bethlehem. The Church of the Nativity is big and barn-like, with a very low door, built deliberately low to stop Crusaders on horse-back riding in. We went down stairs to the Grotto of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, which is marked with a 14 point star and hanging lamps. We then got shuffled off into a kind of tunnel (out of all the other pilgrims' way) where we sang 'Away in a manger'. It should be kitsch and it is but it's moving too.
After that, we got half an hour just to wander in Bethlehem. Now that was a plus! When I was last there, in the 1980s, the political situation meant that we just shot in on a coach, almost ran into the church under armed guard, then back on the coach and off. To be able to wander in modern Bethlehem was a great treat. It was just getting towards evening, and I have some photos with lovely light in them.
Back on the bus, back to the hotel, dinner and bed. I don't usually struggle to get to sleep anyway but here, it was tiring both physically and emotionally, so I'd go to bed, try to remember to lie face down to cut down on snoring potential and before I knew it .....