Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Blogging from the Holy Land, Part 8

We didn't have to be anywhere until 10:45 today, so my roomie and I checked out of our room early and joined some other friends to tool around the Old City a bit and to explore a place that only seemed like it might be a dream.

That particular place was our first stop.  We had heard tell of it but refused to believe it until we saw it for ourselves.  You go to Stations III and IV on the Via Dolorosa and there you will see a plain wooden door.  You ring the doorbell and are buzzed in.  You next come to a large black metal gate, which in our case was open.  You continue up several flights of stairs until you reach a beautiful garden.  You enter the lovely building and ask for the coffee, and are told that the cafe doesn't open until 10:00am.  You hold back tears but go to the roofdeck to take in the view from there.

Since we couldn't get our coffee and apple strudel there, we hopped around until we found another place to sit and relax.  I got some Arabic coffee. Yum.

We shopped some more, and then three of us went back to the hospice when the cafe opened.  It pays to check out early.  The coffee was fabulous and the strudel tasted like angels had made it.
Then we went back to the hotel to load up our stuff and move out.  We had afternoon activities, but we weren't coming back to the hotel except to eat before catching our flight out.

We stopped first at the Garden Tomb.  Our teacher told us that there's no archaeological reason to believe that Jesus' crucifixion and burial took place anywhere other than the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but this was helpful for allowing us to imagine what a garden tomb might look like.  We also celebrated communion there together, and it really was a lovely setting.
Then we went to the Holocaust History Museum, which was not lovely.  But it was important.

Our final stop was Ein Karem and the Church of St. John the Baptist, where he was likely born.  I didn't take my camera with me so I'll have to wait until others post pictures.

We returned to the hotel for dinner and some final words about leaving the country, and then hit the road!

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