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scott2010 / Israel trip, Easter 2010 / Israel Day 1

Israel Day 1

4 April, 20104 April, 2010 0 comments Israel trip, Easter 2010 Israel trip, Easter 2010

We celebrated our first day in Israel on Holy Thursday. We're staying at the guest house Franciscan de Marie - a quiet, clean, safe place by the bustle of Damascus Gate. The nuns are lovely, and one speaks very good English (the rest speak French), so she has been an angel.

 

Franciscan de Marie guest house

 

After breakfast we headed out with the tour guide we booked through the Travelujah site. We drove to Masada and had a vigorous debate on the way about healthcare in the United States (we were 6 Americans in the car with an Israeli guide). Masada was an incredible site to behold.  Initally a Roman Garrison, the site is best known as the location where the Zealots took their own lives rather than surrender to the Roman soldiers according to Josephus.  Watch out if you are visiting this site in the summer time.  It was blazing hot in April!  After that we went to a quiet spot on the Dead Sea, where we floated in the murky, salty water, covered ourselves in mud, and relaxed in a hot sulfur pool. All in all, it was an excellent and relaxing trip.

 

Masada overlooking Dead Sea

 

When we returned to Jerusalem, we wandered around the old city, trying to familiarize ourselves with the place before the crowds arrived the next morning. We visited the churches of the Coptic Christians and had a short chat with one, who blessed us on the way out. The highlight of the day was the service we attended at the Church of All Nations in the Mount of Olives, located on the site where Jesus stopped to pray at the garden of Gethsemane. It was a very moving service conducted in about six languages; the priests read psalms and appropriate gospel passages for the events of Holy Thursday. We got there about an hour early and were able to get a seat, although it did get very crowded. Upon leaving the church, we saw a candlelight procession up to the top of the mount that is a tradition on Holy Thursday.

 

A wonderful start to our trip! It is unbelievably moving to be in the Holy Land at such a sacred time.

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scott2010
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Trip to Israel, Easter 2010

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