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OUR TRIP TO THE HOLY LAND - 14th to 23rd May 2019 by Sheila and Frank Harding


OUR TRIP TO THE HOLY LAND - 14th to 23rd May 2019

There were 20 in our group and our leaders were Venerable Paul and Canon Liz Hughes and Tony Boon.  The trip was advertised in Pax Magazine 6 months earlier and we decided to go.  We all met at 6.30am. at Luton Airport for the Easy Jet flight to Tel Aviv where a coach met us for the 2 hour drive to Jerusalem.  Our hotel, The Golden Walls Hotel, was just by the Golden Gate into the old City.  Both old and new are bustling, noisy, chaotic and very busy and we walked everywhere in the city;  through the narrow busy Souks to the Wailing Wall, along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Manger Square.  Oh so busy!

Next day we drove to the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane and looking over the old cemeteries to the panoramic view of the walled city, we could hardly believe we were there!  Another day we went to Masada, a Roman Fortress built by Herod the Great and then on to the Dead Sea and a chance to float…...Frank tried it! 

On Sunday at 6.00am. we walked through the Souks to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for a more peaceful walk around the church.  The trip encompassed all the different aspects of the area, geographical, historical, political and especially the religious areas.  We crossed into Palestinian territory where we celebrated Eucharist at The Fields of the Shepherds, in Bethlehem.  A truly emotional experience, except for the electric fences and walls surrounding us.

Next day we travelled through the Judean Wilderness to Jericho and to the banks of the River Jordan where we renewed our Baptismal Vows and had Eucharist.  Then on to the Ron Beach Hotel by the Sea of Galilee for the rest of our trip, visiting Nazareth, Mount Tabor and The Basilica of the Annunciation and the area of Jesus’ ministry.  On the way back to the airport we stopped at the remains of the Roman city of Caesarea, built by Herod the Great with a magnificent Amphitheatre and Circus.  The trip was very uplifting tinged with sad sights of the walls and electric fences, cutting off the Palestinians from selected areas.  Certainly a trip we will never forget. 

Sheila and Frank Harding

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