Third Time’s the Charm @ the Holy Land

I am on leave again, the second for the current post and I am still spending it here in the country. But this time, I will be hosting friends from the university who became best buddies over the years and don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining … one cannot get enough of the Tierra Sancta to be complaining! 

I started this post on the first day of the trip we labeled “trip of a lifetime” while waiting for each one of them to arrive. As they started to join me here in Jerusalem, the writing took a back seat and only now I am finishing it five days after romping from here to the north and ending the last night overlooking the hills of Beit Jala in the West Bank.

The first time I went around the old city, it was the holy week. The experience was surreal – never imagined I will be spending THE Holy Week in the place where it all happened. It brought out all the emotions one could have reliving the life of Jesus Christ and remembering my parents, especially my mom of how much she wanted to come here when she was alive.

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Palm Sunday entering the Lion’s Gate  from the Garden of Gethsemane

The second time was with a very good friend, who also did visited the holy land in the past but didn’t quite enjoy it with a big pilgrim company. So he decided to come over since I am here and we spent a week visiting the life of Jesus from birth to His resurrection.

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The Icon of Jesus nailed on the cross in Golgotha (inside the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre)

Now the third time, as they often say is the charm 🙂 and indeed it was! It was the most enlightening so far me (at least) and hopefully to my three other friends as we had discovered more than what we asked for – understanding beyond the biblical history of the intertwined countries of Israel and Palestine.

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View of the side walkway in Masada (Photo credit to Wayne)

But as much as we wanted to see all of the sites regardless of faith, we missed to visit the Dome of the Rock because of the celebration of the Eid Al-Adha. Having said that, I take it as a sign that there will be a fourth round to my romance with the holy land before I end my mission next year!

 

 

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