a highlight of our visit on Sunday. we visited the the basilica (a Catholic church with particular significance), of the Annunciation built over the well and possible house where the Virgin Mary lived as a girl. Parts of that actual building and a later 4th century church on the same site are incorporated into the present church built in 1960. It is a wonderful vision of preserving old with new. The lower church preserves the 1st century remains and has a feeling of a womb. The upper church includes and entire wall from the 4th century church and has a brilliant feeling of light and space, and includes artwork commissioned from around the world of the Virgin Mary - fabulously creative pieces. Here is a picture that tries to incorporate a bit of both spaces. A large opening in the floor allowed one to look down from the upper space into the lower space. Nazareth is in the West Bank - that area of land between Jordan and Israel that is illegaly occupied by Israel, but not officially a part of any country. So the Palestinians are without a country. This seeming tension actually has felt surprisingly benign. We have seen arabs, Jewa, Palestinians, Israelis (all of whom are not Jewish), Christians, and muslims all living together in the same towns. And i have felt very safe. hmmmmmm?