Wednesday, November 12, 2008
And if you were on the trip with us, please leave me a comment telling me which part was most enjoyable for you too.
I'd really appreciate the feedback.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
This blog doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to the 16 others who made the pilgrimage with us to Israel.
I’ve tried to reflect as closely as possible, in words and photos, the very special experience we’ve all had so it will be a permanent reminder of this special time we’ve shared together.
For each one of us it will have been different, and reading this blog will give you just a taste of what it is like to go to the country where our Christian faith all began. We’ve touched our very deepest roots in Old Testament history and felt deep bonds with both the Israeli and Palestinian people.
And we’ve walked where Jesus walked – quite literally – and visited the hillsides, mountains, lakes, streets and synagogues where he taught.
If you know one of the group who Boak and I been delighted to have travelled with over the last two and a half weeks, please ask them to tell you more about their pilgrimage and what it has meant to them.
I pray it has brought each of them closer to the real Jesus, and I pray that you too have been found this an inspirational journey.
We are now enjoying a brief interlude of R & R on our way home. If you would like to follow my normal blog you’ll find it at http://www.snippetsnscraps.blogspot.com/ .
When at home I mostly blog about quilting and stitchery, books, food, cooking, entertaining, church activities, gardening and ‘stuff’. Life at home is not nearly as exciting as my travels!
We were delivered to the El Al check-in counter at Ben Gurion Airport with nearly 4 hours to spare, but the interrogations, bag searching, x-raying and being told to wait for no apparent reason meant there was little time to take advantage of the duty-free shops air-side. It was trying, but we did as we had been instructed.
I was at the head of our queue, and when asked if I had been given anything by anyone here in Israel I felt I had to answer truthfully that our local tour company operator, Naftali Steg, had given me (and all of us) a shoulder bag on our arrival.
“What was in it?” I was asked.
My reply, that it contained a welcome letter, a map and a cap, didn’t placate my interrogator who insisted I open my suitcase then and there and show her the bag in question. So there I was, on the floor, in the middle of the El Al terminal, with my suitcase wide open, underwear on display to all and sundry, fishing out a harmless souvenir bag I had buried right at the bottom (Murphy’s Law). Not happy, Jan – but I just did what I was told…. At least it meant that none of our other group members needed to show theirs.
You can probably detect a slight (!) note of irritation here, and this is principally because, although I was happy to go through the extraordinarily rigorous security procedures if it meant a safer flight, when we came to the final screening we found that there was no limit at all on liquids, gases and aerosols carried on!
Ooops, I forgot to tell you.
No, none of our faithful remnant was arrested by border security.
‘A’ had to catch an earlier flight than the rest of us, so her driver met us at the border and whisked her off to Tel Aviv leaving twelve of us to spend the final few hours at Mini-Israel with Gadi, who was joined by Naftali when we had our farewell dinner.
The crossing back into Israel was lengthy and the many times we – or our bags, or our passports - were checked was just as mystifying as it was 3 days ago when we crossed over into the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Our bags were x-rayed by this little mobile unit, and we were given the quizzing we’ve come to expect. This time, though, we were allowed to keep our passports instead of losing sight of them for around 20 minutes, as we did when the Jordanian officials took them on Monday. On the other side of the Allenby Bridge there were real tanks and real soldiers with machine guns trained on our bus and, although I like to think I have a healthy sense of adventure, I make it a rule never to argue with a machine gun. Hence no photos.
When we were finally allowed to walk through Immigration into the Promised Land we were greeted with warm smiles and bottles of ice-cold water (appropriately branded!) by a team of friendly young Israeli women doing national service. They were a delight!
Before we reached the Allenby Bridge border crossing we stopped briefly at a roadhouse. It had the usual souvenir emporium attached, but amongst the ‘same old, same old’, I spotted this lovely piece of embroidery (on a cushion-cover, I think). I have no idea whether it’s hand or machine made, but the beading, embroidery and goldwork did it for me.