1.02.2012

Day Trip to Bethlehem

---I'm trying to catch up on some trips and updates I never blogged from last year.---

These pictures were from early December when we decided to try to beat the Christmas season crowds and head to the West Bank to visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, one of the oldest continuously operated churches in the world.
Ron and the kids entering the "door of humility"---built small so that all who entered would have to bow.
Kaitlyn wearing Grandpa T's hat.
When we arrived, the Armenians were holding their mass in the Grotto of the Nativity (the spot where Jesus was said to be born) so we couldn't go down then.  While we waited, we went to the Church of St. Catherine.  This is where midnight mass is held every Christmas Eve and broadcast throughout the world.




Across Manger Square is the Mosque of Omar, the only mosque in the city.

Souvenier shops line the streets on our way to The Milk Grotto.
We got to look around one of the shops, which makes souveniers out of olive wood.
The Milk Grotto is considered sacred because tradition has it that while Mary was nursing Jesus here, a drop of milk fell to the ground turning the grotto white.
  


We went back to the Church of the Nativity to go to the Grotto of the Nativity.  There was now a long line, but our guidewas able to get us down there without standing in line.  It was quite small and crowded.  You can see the crowd trying to take a picture of the exact spot where Jesus is said to have been born.
This was the best picture I could get.

Afterwards, we went for shwarma and falafel and to walk around Manger Square a bit more. 

It was nice to see Christmas decorations...not something we see often in Israel.

There was some neat graffiti on the walls which lined the road back to the Israel/West Bank border.  I wish I could have gotten out of the car to take more pictures.

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