Thursday, September 12, 2013


Day 2: December 23, 2012

2000 years ago, “Joseph and Mary went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem. And Mary brought forth her firstborn son, Jesus.” (Luke 2: 4 &7)

Bethlehem is located in the Palestine Territory and it confuses many tourists and pilgrims because if you want to go to Bethlehem, searching for flights using “Palestine” will not give you any match. The only options are flight to Amman, Jordan and Tel Aviv, Israel.

During my entire travel, Palestine and Israel are currently on a truce situation. Upon arrival in Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, all visitors are subject to quite invasive and interfering Israeli control.

My cousin and her 3 friends met me at the airport. From there, we went directly to Bethlehem to visit the Church of Nativity. One of her friends is an Israeli national and he is not permitted to enter the territory. And so, we just alighted at one of the check point gates of West Bank, near Jerusalem. We passed through a path provided by the Israeli police and at the end of this path, there were taxis waiting. We bargained the fare to 30 NIS for each passenger going to and from the church. Dealing with Palestinians is quite hard.  They insist to tourists to pay for the fare that they want, so be alert in dealing with them. They always give suggestions on where to go then they tend to overcharge.

I found Palestine a very quiet place. It is so quiet and peaceful, almost like a ghost town. If Joseph and Mary experienced difficulty to find a place to stay, now tourists and pilgrims willnot experience the same. There many hotels and hostels in Bethlehem.

Going back to Jerusalem, we passed again the path with high walls and barred wire.  We need to scan our belongings and showed our passport to Israeli police before they allow us to enter Israel again. My cousin and her friends were a bit scared. They are OFWs and never experienced this before, because they always joined a whole day tour.

Other option to go to Bethlehem is to take an Arab bus from Jerusalem. The terminal is located in front of Damascus Gate or you can join in a daily pilgrimage tour. Ask your hotel or book online.

I am not a professional photographer. I am not a good writer, I am just a traveler.

Christmas Tree set  at the Manger Square
Manger Square
The Mosque of Omar, the only mosque in Bethlehem
The church of Nativity - originally commissioned in 327 AD by Constantine and his Mother Helena

Inside the Nativity Church
Inside the Nativity Church
The Altar - Nativity Church

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