So I have been on a roll as far as running into history-making events while I travel and in this case it was Pope Francis’ visit to the Holy Land. Now, I’m not particularly religious, but I still thought it was a huge deal so of course I had to snatch a ticket to attend his mass in Bethlehem.
It started bright and early since we had to ride in a bus for nearly two hours to Bethlehem from Taybeh through one of the scariest roads in the world called Wadi Na’ar (translates to valley of fire, so you can imagine the curves). Though I am not the earliest of risers I was super psyched about this beautiful sunrise I got to see climbing over Taybeh.
We got there and everything was super organized and we were given Vatican and Palestinian flag as well as some other swag, which I got a little too carried away with. Then the waiting began…if you have ever been in the Middle East you will know that once late afternoon rolls in the last place where you want to be is in the smack middle of a plaza with no shade, yeah we we there.
But we made the best of it…
Then Mr. Pope Francis took the stage and gave a beautiful mass, asking for peace and justice especially in the Holy Land, a remark that angered and joyed many. He also invited Simon Peres (President of Israel at the time) and Mahmmoud Abbas (President of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank), To the vatican to restart peace talks after they had fallen through once more.
Some people had some real cool T-shirts like the one above and it was very exciting to see people be so overjoyed about seeing the Pope because their faith means so much to them.
Additionally during the wait I noticed the creative decoration they had set up for the event. In this one in particular there is a scene from the bible (John 20:27) where Jesus tell Thomas, “Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” However you will notice that in the photo there is an overlay and in this case it is the finger of an Israeli soldier reaching to touch a Palestinian identification card.
With this I leave you I will keep on posting hopefully less erratically. But before that:
What do you think about these types of visits?
How do you feel about Religious travel? Have you ever done any types of pilgrimage?