Merry Christmas everyone!!
1. Get a ticket for the Church of the Nativity ahead of time.
I went with the Anglican church in Jerusalem http://www.j-diocese.org/.
They even provide a bus to Bethlehem.
2. If you find your own transportation to Bethlehem do not take a taxi.
They will charge almost $50. The best way is to go to Damascus Gate
in Jerusalem to the Arab bus station and take bus 21. Too easy.
3. Be prepared to bargain. Everything is negotiable.
4. You will also see a lot of kids running around selling
gum or post cards for one shekel. It is kind of sad, but you just
have to learn to say no or you will be penniless and have a lot of gum.
|My first stop in Bethlehem was to get some coffee. So I went to|
my favorite coffee shop, Starbucks. Wait...this isn't Starbucks.
|It was pretty good coffee though =)|
|Getting ready for the President of Palestine's arrival.|
|The amazing Christmas tree in the middle of manger square.|
Santa!!! Handing out gifts.
|The parade to welcome the President.|
Christmas singing in Manger Square.
Most of it is in Arabic.
|Stores decorated for Christmas.|
|Hey there Mr. Soldier. Merry Christmas to you.|
Soldiers were everywhere because of the President being there.
|This is the Church of the Milk Grotto. Where it is thought|
that Mary, Jesus' mom, spilled some breast milk.
|They have Sunday School!! Maybe I should teach here =)|
|Night time, it looked awesome.|
|This is the Church of the Nativity. |
It is built over the spot that they believe Jesus was born.
And it started to rain as I waited for the 9 pm service.
|Waiting in line to get in. Some people had umbrellas and|
others, well, they used whatever they could find.
|By this point, I was soaked and miserable. I really wanted to go inside.|
|And I am outside again. The President decided to come to part of our service.|
So he took about 15 people out of the room so he could fit. I was one of them =(
|Okay, now he is coming out. He is the man with the black hat on in the middle.|
|Inside and now part of the service!|
|The original church floor. They are trying to restore it.|
|In my room for the night. My shirt is off and air drying.|
|So this is the room that I slept in Christmas eve night. It was|
nothing like a barn, but it did have wild animal print!
|Breakfast Christmas morning.|
(Pita, hummus, olives, jam, and hard boiled eggs)
|A view from where I stayed of the little town of Bethlehem.|
To wake up where Jesus first woke up was a very memorable experience. It was also nice not to open up presents when I woke up. I was able to just focus on what matters on Christmas. This experience was definitely worth it and once in a lifetime. If you ever get the chance, do it!! It really makes the Bible come alive, not that the Bible is dead. But you know what I mean. I put as many pictures and videos as I could of Bethlehem. Enjoy!!