So realizing that everyone might be getting sick of our trip, I still wanted to post about some of our more memorable moments. These are fun, I promise!
So this wasn't exactly a luxury tour!! Although we had a van, when we also had all the luggage, it was a tight squeeze. Sonia was particularly squished. This is how she traveled after Wes "fixed" it to make it more comfortable for her!
Good Sport Award definitely went to Sonia!
Pictured below is one of my most touching experiences. We hired a guide in Bethlehem who was one of three members of the church in that town. My favorite moment was when we went to "Shepherd's Field". After viewing the fields, we met in a cave where shepherds once lived. Here our guide recounted the Christmas story and bore his testimony.
It was so sweet to sit there on the side of a hill in Bethlehem, listening to the story of Christ's birth. You could easily picture the shepherds watching their flocks and hear the angels bearing tidings of great joy.
The Spirit was strong.
It will be an experience I will always remember.
Also in Bethlehem we went to the Church of the Nativity, which is supposedly built over the exact spot where Christ was born.
To view the spot you have two choices.
You can wait in line for hours with 300 other people until it is your turn to descend the stairs into the church basement . . . or . .
you can bribe a guide to take you down the back way.
We chose to bribe.
Here is our rather pricey guide who gave us a very (and I mean very!) quick tour of the church and then sneaked us down the back stairs two at a time where we never really saw "the spot" due to the 300 people filing by on their knees kissing it.
But it was memorable!:-)
And on a much less serious note . . . While visiting Nimrod's Fortress near Galilee, we saw some teen aged boys climb these rocks for a picture. So, not to be out done . . .
Here is one my most favorite (and funny) moments ever!
We rented a house and shared cooking responsibilities.
On Saturday night it was the men's turn to cook.
They made eggs and potatoes.
But these were not just any eggs!
Wil has a special way of making them.
He mixes eggs and milk together and then strains them to remove the "gunk" which he told us is umbilical cords.
So here he is making his umbilical cord-less eggs.
No, they are not worshipping the computer.
They are trying to hear a basketball game.
Wes and Wil's brother Ken's basketball team played in the national finals while we were in Galilee and they wanted to hear the game--which was not easy.
Unfortunately Ken's team lost, but hey, second in the nation is still great, don't you think!
Truly--Manna from Heaven!
This was our first schwarma place (love that stuff!!)
Here the bread was definitely fresh!!
See that hole in the roof? After the bread was cooked in the store above, they would hand it down through the hole to make the sandwiches.
Jerusalem is exhausting!!
It seems like you walk up hill all day long.
Here Wes takes a little nap on the southern steps before continuing on with our sightseeing.
After a few long days of tiring travel, Darren quipped, "Now I understand why Peter, James and John kept falling asleep."
And last favorite moment--meeting so many of the BYU students from the Jerusalem Center.
We were walking down the street one night when we suddenly heard cheering from this group. Turns out Wes was wearing a BYU sweatshirt and they saw it.
Funny thing . . . see the girl on the far left?
Her brother just happens to be one of my son-in-law's best friends,
And the girl on the far right?
Her father was the mission president in Hungary and we know seven missionaries who served there.
Sadly, the time came for us to return home.
But the adventure was not over!
While flying between NY and Phoenix, we looked out our window to see this!!
It came toward us, flew along side us and then disappeared under our plane, to appear on the other side where it flew away.
Gotta admit. It was pretty cool to see!
So that concludes my tour of Israel . . .
Well, with one exception.
On Friday, in honor of Easter, I am posting pictures of Gethsemane and the Garden Tomb.