A short adventure trip around the sites of Jordan, before heading to Israel for the Scotland qualifying game.
  • Day8

    Church of St Catherine of Alexandria

    October 12, 2018 in Palestine ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    The midnight Mass beamed from Bethlehem to television viewers worldwide on Christmas Eve is celebrated in the Church of St Catherine of Alexandria.

    This 19th-century church adjoins the 6th-century Church of the Nativity, built over the cave where Jesus was born. It even shares a wall with the Nativity church.

    The Church of St Catherine is the parish church for Bethlehem’s Catholics
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  • Day8

    Bethlehem, Palestine

    October 12, 2018 in Palestine ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    After lunch we head to Bethlehem. On the way we pass the St. Andrews Scottish Church, with the Saltire flying from the tower.

    We had to pass through a huge wall, where we had to change mini-buses and tour guides. Neither was allowed to pass through. Once inside Bethlethem, we visited the Church of the Nativity. Entering the church that marks the site of Christ’s birthplace means having to stoop low. The only doorway in the fortress-like front wall is just 1.2 metres high.

    The previous entrance to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem was lowered around the year 1500 to stop looters from driving their carts in. Today’s basilica, the oldest complete church in the Christian world, was built by the emperor Justinian in the 6th century. It replaced the original church of Constantine the Great, built over the cave venerated as Christ’s birthplace, and dedicated in AD 339.

    Before Constantine, the first Christian emperor, the Romans had tried to wipe out the memory of the cave. They planted a grove dedicated to the pagan god Adonis, lover of Venus, and established his cult in the cave. Steps lead down to the Grotto of the Nativity.
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  • Day8

    Western Wall

    October 12, 2018 in Palestine ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Judaism’s holiest place is the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. Part of the retaining wall erected by Herod the Great in 20 BC to support the vast plaza on which he rebuilt the Temple, it is venerated as the sole remnant of the Temple.

    The wall and the plaza in front of it form a permanent place of worship, a site of pilgrimage for Jews and a focus of prayer — often petitions written down and placed between the huge stones. The Jewish name for the wall is the Kotel.Read more

  • Day8

    The Cenacle and Tomb of King David

    October 12, 2018 in Israel ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    King David's Tomb is a site considered by some to be the burial place of David, King of Israel, according to a tradition beginning in the 12th century. The majority of historians and archaeologists do not consider the site to be the actual resting place of King David.

    The Cenacle, where Christians commemorate the Last Supper is directly above the tomb.Read more

  • Day8

    Jerusalem

    October 12, 2018 in Palestine ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Jerusalem’s Old City walls, built in the early 16th century by the Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, have eight gates. All but one (the Gate of Mercy) still serve Jerusalemites and visitors streaming to its markets, and sacred and historic sites.

    The Zion Gate:Bearing Jerusalem’s earliest biblical name in Hebrew and English, this gate’s Arabic name is the Gate of the Prophet David, as the Tomb of King David, on adjacent Mount Zion, is only a few steps away. Zion Gate leads directly to the Armenian and Jewish quarters.

    The Dung Gate: This gate’s unusual name derives from the refuse dumped here in antiquity, where the prevailing winds would carry odors away. This gate leads directly to the Western Wall and the Southern Wall Archaeological Park.

    Gate of Mercy: This gate, in the eastern Temple-Mount wall, may be the best-known of them all. Also called the Golden Gate or the Eastern Gate, it has been blocked for centuries, and is said to be awaiting a miraculous opening when the Messiah comes and the dead are resurrected.

    Lion’s Gate:This portal is named after a pair of ferocious-looking animal carvings that flank it. They are actually tigers, the heraldic symbol of the 13th-century Sultan Beybars. It is also called St. Stephen’s Gate, after the first Christian martyr, who tradition says was stoned nearby. Lion’s Gate leads to the Pools of Bethesda, the Via Dolorosa, and the markets.

    Herod’s Gate:Despite its name, the notorious Judean king had nothing to do with this gate. In Arabic and Hebrew this north-facing gate, which leads to the Old City markets, is called the Flowers Gate. Some say the name derives from a rosette carved over it. However, in Arabic a similar word means “awakened,” and may refer to a nearby cemetery and the hope of resurrection.

    Damascus Gate:This most imposing of Jerusalem’s gateways also faces north and is named for the grand city from which Jerusalem’s rulers once came. It is always a busy thoroughfare, thanks to the bustling markets within. Below the 16th-century gate, archaeologists have uncovered part of the entryway built by Emperor Hadrian in the second century CE.

    The New Gate:This is the only Old City entryway not part of the original design of the 16th-century walls. It was breached in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire to allow Christian pilgrims quicker access to their holy places within the ramparts.

    The Jaffa Gate: This was the destination of Jewish and Christian pilgrims disembarking at the Jaffa port, hence its name. It led (and still leads) directly to the Jewish and Christian quarters, as well as to the most popular parts of the market.

    We enter through the Jaffa Gate, where it's upper sign is pre-1948, the important language is uppermost. The lower sign is post independence where the order of importance is Jewish, Arabic, English. We then pass through the Armenian quarter to the Zion Gate.
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  • Day8

    Mount of Olives

    October 12, 2018 in Palestine ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Most of us get up early, to go on our day tour. We have a quick pass through Jaffa, the ancient port where Tel Aviv is, before heading eastward.

    We first visit the Mount of Olives to get an overview across the valley to the old city of Jerusalem, within it's city walls.

  • Day7

    Sammy Ofer Stadium, Haifa

    October 11, 2018 in Israel ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    We travel north along the coast for well over an hour to Haifa, where we go straight to the Stadium. The Sammy Ofer Stadium, also known as Haifa International Stadium is a nice modern 30,000 seat stadium. We lose 2-1, a terrible performance from us.