Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Israel 2010

This is the first opportunity I've had to post here since our arrival in Jerusalem one week ago today. Last time I looked, the menu bar was all in Hebrew. But today, I was in luck and caught it in English.
There is so much to tell about this trip already. I've been making notes in my journal and in e-mails I've sent to relatives. I think I want to devote time to getting it all straight in my mind, and post with photos (if I can figure out how). This much I'll say for now: We're staying in the Austrian Hospice, 37 Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem (old city). It's very comfortable--self-contained bedrooms and breakfast included. No television, but I'm able to use the computer in the lobby free of charge. There's a dining room where you can buy lunch or dinner until 9pm, but the menu is quite limited. Schnitzel or spatzle, soup, salad, and their idea of a sandwich. A sandwich is a basket of 2"thick round slices of French bread and a plate of cold cuts, cheeses, and sweet peppers and tomatoes. You make your own "sandwich"out of that! However, across the street is an Arabic pizza place, and there's an Armenian restaurant down the street at Station 4 (the hospice is at Station 3 of the Via Dolorosa, for those of you who are familiar with saying the Stations of the Cross in church). The Armenian restaurant has a better menu, but more Arabic than European. However, I do recommend the Austrian Hospice to anyone traveling in the Holy Land. It's quite inexpensive, given its location. The New City is more expensive!
During the past week, my husband and I have visited most of the traditional Holy sites in and around Jerusalem (from a Christian point of view, at least). And we've been to Abraham's tomb in Hebron, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the Dead Sea, Jericho, the Jordan River, the Sea of Galilee, Capernaum, Cana, Nazareth, Tiberius, etc. The ""etc." may or may not need more elaboration when I actually post the details of the pilgrimage.
Many of the places in the Holy Land are under the supervision of the Franciscans, so we feel more at home than we otherwise might. I forgot to bring my Franciscan cross with me, but my husband is wearing his wherever we go. It has caused several other Franciscans, of all three orders, to stop him and shake hands in recognition. The first time being in St. George's Cathedral, where we attended Mass on Sunday morning. A woman (an Anglican priest) with a group from Devon, England, came and said, Ït's nice to see a fellow Tertiary." She gave us her business card, so if we have a chance we'll call her to say hello when we're in that area next month.