When I knew that I was visiting Israel, and had only three days free to do non-work related activities, I started investigating tours, and itineraries. Looking at it now, I began in Nazareth at the Church of the Annunciation, and ended in Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, visiting Bethlehem in between. In Jerusalem I abandoned the pre-packaged tour, and did a lot of it myself, including staying at an ancient pilgrim’s hospice, walking and praying the way of the Cross, and walking out and back from the Garden of Gethsemane. I hope that somewhere I touched a real historical and physical spot that Jesus walked.
What was the most significant? That’s its a real place, with real people, real history, and real problems. But, I saw very little of the problems, and it is a safe, warm and friendly place to travel.
So I went Annunciation, to Galilee, to Jordan, to Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The start and end points are chronologically correct, the rest was determined by geography. Jesus and the disciples were certainly super fit, to walk all over this hilly land! Everytime Jesus “withdrew to pray”, he climbed steep and rocky hills, outpacing the unfit and the lazy! My feet and legs are aching, my ankles twisted frequently on the picturesque cobblestones, and yes, my heart was full of joy as I entered each holy place, especially Jerusalem and the Temple Mount!( only viewed that, as it is closed to non-Muslims on the weekend), The closest I got to that was the Western Wall, or the Wailing Wall. As it was Saturday, Shabbat, no cameras or mobile phones allowed – so much for bfortes suggestion to sneakily take a picture using a phone!
Of course, its easier to literally walk in the footsteps, the answer to the call “Follow me!” is a bit harder.