Blogs from Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel, Middle East - page 3

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Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem June 23rd 2017

Dear Blog Readers, Alarm clocks were set and breakfast was chowed down to make it out of the hotel for 8am. The plan was to get to the Western Wall as early as we could in order to beat the queues to head up onto the Temple Mount above it - one of the most sacred place for Muslims and Jews in the world. For it was here that the large slab of rock under the golden Dome of the Rock is where Muslims believe Mohammed made his ascent and where Jews believe Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son. Once we paved through the old city, we cut across the area of the Western Wall and were surprised to find no queues. The security guard there just shook his head and said, "Ramadan". Damn! After a ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem June 19th 2017

Dear Blog Readers, The Sun is setting and the evening prayers are being blasted from the speakers nearby. The evening leaves a dusty haze as the Sun sets which makes a change from the haze of Heathrow induced pollution back home. Another action packed day as I write this post nap before heading out into the city centre for some dinner. The plan of waking at 7am fell through predictably but we were sat down for breakfast at the hotel by 8am somehow. The breakfast buffet here is something to behold. We think it has catered for pretty much every nationality. Just some of the things on the menu include noodles, smoked herring, pickled onions, and my personal favourite, tuna pasta salad. As is White family tradition, we attacked the buffet with gusto but didn't find ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem June 18th 2017

Dear Blog Readers, We are back! We booked a week away in Israel with no real reason other than Laura missing out on it when she went on a secondary school trip due to political unrest...they ended up going to Syria instead. She sees this as her own personal pilgrimage of one of her favourite musicals. As has often been the case, relatively little planning has been involved but we booked some flights (BA) and a nice hotel (Grand Court) accompanied by a guide book and my Panama hat. We had a couple of lounge passes so decided not to slum it with the plebs at Terminal 5 and went at the buffet for three hours like it was an endurance challenge. The flight over went smoothly, as did the landing, but I struggled to stay ... read more

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 20th 2017

Alas, it was my final day in Jerusalem. I could easily spend so much longer here as it was fast becoming my favorite city. I would finally be able to go up onto the Temple Mount itself. I had mentioned that this was my plan at dinner the previous night. The French girl, whose stay in Jerusalem overlapped exactly with mine, asked if she could come along. We made plans to meet at breakfast and then walk over. It would have to be early. As non-Muslims we had only a narrow window to visit, 7:30am-10am. Getting there early we wouldn’t have to worry too much about line length and would have more time to explore. We walked down the narrow lanes of the Old City where locals were setting up for the morning’s business. There are ... read more
Prayerful at the Wall
Temple Mount
Intricate Detail

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 18th 2017

I had been anticipating my day on the Mount of Olives since quite early in my planning phase. Especially understanding that it was the hill where Christ arrived and descended into Jerusalem, setting off the momentous events of Easter Week all those many years ago. I had already figured out that the best way to go would be to egress out of Lion’s Gate, which was just down the street from the pilgrim house. My peek out the gate and toward the green tree strewn hills the previous day already had me excited. What was out there? It was time to find out. I wanted to do everything on my own. No tour. No taxi driver. Just me alone to wander and ponder. The first steps were easy as I descended out of the Old City ... read more
Garden of Gethsemane
German Hospice
Where Jesus Ascended into Heaven

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 16th 2017

This day I awoke bright and early at 4AM. Actually, it was more like pitch black and early. I spent the time until breakfast listening to music, thinking, and praying. Thinking always leads me to pondering my present and unseen future. All of a sudden, I felt compelled to stand up and dance in the dark to the song “Through Heavens Eyes” playing on my ipod. Pouring all my emotions and prayers into it, hoping God would see me and be pleased. “So how can you judge what a man is worth by what he builds or buys. You can never see with your eyes on Earth. Look through Heaven’s eyes.” With those lyrics hitting home I finish with a perfect flourish and stand there spent. The room felt full of God’s presence. At that very ... read more
Via Dolorosa
My Room at the Pilgrim House
Church of Holy Sepulchre Entrance

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 15th 2017

My first days in Jerusalem were a whirl of activity, walking and wonder. I usually take it easy on my first day, but this was Jerusalem! I had to get out and see it all. So even though I had just arrived that morning, after a short deep nap and an energy bar I headed towards the Old City. I walked through East Jerusalem, which was not as foreboding as I was lead to believe, to the Damascus Gate. One of the seven portals into the Old City. Inside I was hit with Jerusalem. The cold, the damp, the scents a combination of falafel and incense, the different exotic styles of dress, the religious megamonuments had me living in a dream. The spot where Christ was crucified was down this street. The Western Wall and the ... read more
Western Wall

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem February 14th 2017

The idea of taking a pilgrimage to the Holy Land had been in the back of my mind for years, but something had always stopped me. Whether it was terrorism concerns or wanting to do something more freewheeling and “fun” I had held back on purchasing that weighty plane ticket to Israel. This time was different. I felt God leading me and saying that this year was the time. I was ready. One reason why it worked out so well was because I was not working. I had the time and space to research, pray, and consider what I was about to embark on. For my research, I first bought every guidebook imaginable. What was perhaps the most helpful was reading Rev. James Martin’s book on Jesus and his own pilgrimage in which he wrote that ... read more
El Al
Walls of the Old City
East Jerusalem Hotel Room

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem March 11th 2016

To Jerusalem! We woke up early (as we do, since we get the sun in our face) to head off to the bus station today. Busses run about every 10 minutes from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, so it wasn’t like we had to get there at any specific time. The ride is about 45 minutes, and drops you off near the city center. We walked up to the central market, where Marie took me to her favorite restaurant. We got Beef Azura, which, as far as I can tell, is cinnamon-infused ground beef in a soupy mixture ladled onto a grilled eggplant. They love their grilled eggplant here. Regardless, delicious. We then walked through the market, where we picked up challah bread, dates, and baklava, all of which were delicious. From there, on to the old ... read more
Western Wall
Dome of the Rock
Church of the Holy Sepulcher

Middle East » Israel » Jerusalem District » Jerusalem March 9th 2016

For those of you who have been holding off on coming to Israel because you are world travelers and still have some Muslim countries you want to visit, we can let you know that you don’t have to wait any longer. Israel has stopped stamping passports. When you arrive they print a small sticker the size of many visas we’ve had and hand it to you. They do not affix it to your passport pages; they do not stamp your book. We believe they realized their political and religious issues had negatively impacted tourism or circumstances and they were impacting people’s ability to travel to other countries. So – problem solved. They are not stamping the passports. The amazing thing about having the wonderful opportunity to travel is being exposed to the differences in nations and ... read more
Walling Wall
Viewpoint near St. George Monastery
Jordan River Baptisim




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