Just for those who may be liturgical types and like that sort of thing: I will be in the official procession from the Armenian Cathedral into the Holy Sepulcher for the service of Holy Fire at the Holy Sepulchre on Saturday evening. Jerusalem rocks...
Working backwards - today was a day at Masada (no trip to Israel is complete without it - and especially for a classicist) then a float in the dead sea, and then Qumran. Spent a bit of time at Cafe Hillel on Jaffa St, catching up on some reading.
We were two days around the sea of Galilee - Nazareth, Mount of Beatitudes, Tabor, and Tiberias.
The sea of Galilee is a surreal experience for the pilgrim - holy places side by side with night time disco boat cruises. The church of Peter's Primacy, the site of the feeding of the 5000 - so much of Jesus' ministry took place around and on these waters.
The mount of transfiguration is quite remarkable - an ancient monastery exhales memory of prayers. I spent more time wandering around the ruins of the monastery than in the church. We had a great ride up to the top with our Bedouin friends - they have traded in their camels for taxis, but the Bedouin flavor is still there. They have a character and way of doing things all their own.
Dinner on the edge of the sea of Galilee - overlooking the water.
The mount of beatitudes is a small hill overlooking a plain which cuts into the side of the hill - it's easy to see how one gospel sees this event as the sermon on the mount and another sees it as the sermon on the plain.
We toured the Holy Spulchre - home of the tomb of Jesus and of the bedrock of Golgotha - where he was crucified. The building itself houses worship space for 6 denominations - all sharing land in a single structure which is really beyond description. Artwork, architecture, a living worship community - surrounded by the heart of Old Jerusalem and the old city walls.
Visited the western wall yesterday - thousands of Jews at prayer - managed to make my way up to the front and touch the wall itself.
And early this warning went the wadi quelt - the Judean wilderness of Jesus. - great view of Jerusalem in the distance, and a stark landscape that somehow supports the roaming shepherds who still tend their flocks.