Thursday, February 13, 2014

"You have arrived at your Destination" (Nazareth)

This is the spot where Mary first received word (from an angel) that she was to be the Mother of Jesus. There is a lovely church built over the grotto. After an exciting trip here (see previous blog) we were ready for anything! The Church is beautiful but on the outside as you walk through the courtyard, you are struck by these lovely mosaic depictions of Mary and Jesus from other countries. I am going to guess they are gifts. Here are three of my favorite from China, Thailand and the US.

Today's audience was quite small so we were able to get up closer to the grotto. As mentioned the church and surrounding areas were quite beautiful. Look at those beauties who appeared also!
After we left the Church, we headed off to see a Greek Orthodox church. This involved us wandering through the neighborhoods of Nazareth and the nearby market place. It was fascinating and often times I felt like Jesus and Joseph could appear at any moment. Thanks to Anna's sense of direction we made it to the end but by then we decided that this had been the adventure and we didn't go to the church. 

As we returned to the main area, I saw this man. I said to Anna: "oh look an Arab in a wheelchair playing the accordion: to which she replied : "Oh you don't know how often I've seen That!" When we walked by him, he played When the Saints Go Marching In. I am sure it was for us!
We left Nazareth and programmed the GPS to take us a scenic overlook. I should say that Anna programmed the GPS as I am doing the driving and she's the map reader, etc. Well we drove for about 50 minutes and ended up in a small village at the end of a dead end road in a cow pasture to which "Patricia" the GPS proudly announced "You have arrived at your destination". We laughed and decided it would make a great picnic spot anyway. As we were sitting on the ground, enjoying our sandwiches and Coke, a huge tour bus also came barreling down the road, turned around and left. We don't know if their GPS was "funny" too or if it was a turnaround. A perfect example of just letting things happen to you while traveling.
And speaking of letting things happen. We saw this lovely Church on a hillside from afar after leaving the big city of (XX-insert name here when Anna tells me ;-)! So we decided to drive there. It turned out to be the Church of the Beatitudes where Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount. It was totally beautiful place and is actually a working Franciscan Sisters Convent. We even ran into our friends, the Singing Korean Choir who were singing in the Chapel. (we've been following them accidentally to three previous sites). But it's the picture below that will stick in my memory the longest. I don't know if the Nuns saw the humor in their work, but it made me laugh for a long time.

While leaving the Convent, we saw another church in an opposite hillside. Anna says "Oh I've been there Mom, we have to go!" We drove up to a totally modern, almost futurist (Anna said alien ship) Monastery run also by the Catholic Church. This church, finished in 2003, is a look to the future. They have a totally different view. The statues above were actually place on top of a building which allowed this great view. I appreciate visionaries . 

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