Israel Day 7: Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Israeli Holocaust Museum, and Bethlehem

Today was interesting because while we spent time in Jerusalem, we also had to cross the border into Palestinian territory in order to visit Bethlehem.  Our guide, who was a Jewish citizen, was not allowed to travel into Bethlehem with us, so we left him at the border and a new tour guide met us inside the city walls. 

Our morning started out at the Mount of Olives where we overlooked the old City of Jerusalem.  We traveled the path where Jesus would have made his ceremonial entry into Jerusalem on the donkey and we also visited a private garden that would have most likely been very close to place where Jesus came on that last evening to pray before his crucifixion. 

The middle of our day was spent visiting the Israeli Holocaust museum after which we traveled to Bethlehem. 

It was great to overlook the hills where the shepherds would have been on the night of Jesus’ birth and even to look up the mountain to where David was anointed King by Samuel, but our visit to the city of Jesus’ birth was a bit crazy (and not just because the Italian Prime Minister was there at the same time we were).  Bethlehem is definitely a bit overwhelmed by tourists and while we enjoyed seeing the spot where Christ is believed to have been born and even where he spent the early years of his life, the crushes of the crowds and the street vendors make seeing Bethlehem a bit crazy.

Tomorrow we spend more time in the old City of Jerusalem. Some exciting times to come.  If you aren’t following @ambassador_pancakes on Instagram (or on Facebook), you are missing some of the best pictures of our vacation!

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