Oh Little Town of Bethlehem

Trip Start Jun 29, 2009
Trip End Aug 18, 2009

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Flag of Palestinian Territory  ,
Friday, July 17, 2009

Jerusalem to Bethlehem, Palestine (West Bank):

Go to Damascus Gate and catch bus No. 124 or No. 21. We took bus No. 124, it cost 4.00 NIS and took 30 minutes to get to the Security Wall. The Security wall is the entrance into Bethlehem. We felt like we were being herded like cattle. We had to go through small corridors and gates and our stuff had to go through a security check. Again it was easy for me to go through because I was a foreigner, all I did was flash my passport, I didn't even have to open it and they let me through. No questions asked. Not so easy for Palestinians- they have to show a bunch of papers and scan their hand before they can be let into Bethlehem. On the other side of the wall we were now in Bethlehem. There were lots of taxi’s waiting for people who go through and need a ride. To get back to Jerusalem do the opposite.

Shepherd’s Fields: When Jesus was born, Angels appeared to some shepherds near by in the fields. There are a couple of places that it’s believed that this happened. I think we went to the Latin Quarter. There was a small church and a couple of ruins and some cool caves. There were also great views of Bethlehem. And it’s pretty apparent to see new/illegal Israeli Settlements on Palestinian land.

Nativity Church: This is a really big and old church that is built over the cave that is believed to be the site where Jesus was born.

We also went to see some people who make Olive wood carvings. There are many figurines, (baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph and the 3 wise men) in the market places in Bethlehem and also in Jerusalem. We got to see where they are produced and sold. And these Olive wood carvings are also sold around the world, like the store: Ten Thousand Villages.    

We were also taken on a small informative learning tour with a friend that works in Bethlehem. He showed us some places where illegal Israeli settlements were and also where soon they will become. He also introduced us to a Palestinian woman who is part of a micro-credit program. She got a loan and made a garden and was able to sell her produce and make money. She also creates beautiful dresses that we got to try on.

I really enjoyed Bethlehem and we had a great Taxi drivers who was very kind and wonderful.
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