Posts Tagged ‘bus’

pilgrimage day 10 – i don’t understand this day

January 25, 2009

Today we left Israel early in the morning. Frank and Jono drove with us to the Jordan border. Everyone was a bit nervous about this border crossing after V made an announcement that Israeli officials can be blunt and rude with us but we should be compliant – and no smiling. It did dredge up imaginings of being cast out into the desert passport-less and I swear one mama was literally wringing her wrists as we stood in the queue at the plane-less airport-type building at Allenby Bridge. After making it through we stood around in the sun with our bus waiting for a new Jordanian bus and guide. We chatted and discovered from Frank that his sister-in-law had landed in hospital the day before which is why he was pacing around on his phone and didn’t come to dinner with us. We all have a very camaraderie-filled goodbye with Frank and Jono and load onto our new bus, which much less luxurious. Our new guide is named Ammar and he is very apologetic for the bus’ lateness. He then collects all our passports (I really hated this mass collecting and processing of our passports) and went to some other office before returning and handing them back again. At this point a very young, armed Jordanian policeman joined us, apparently standard issue for every tour bus in Jordan, these guys don’t want nothing messing with their fledgling tourism trade. We started by driving out to the Jordan river, there was a bit of a walk to get there. It was very hot and the terrain was beautiful and open. We walk down to the river, which is not nearly as pretty as you might imagine – all green and stagnant looking. Each of us were baptised by Fr. on a pier at the river’s edge, very special. So special actually that some folks started emptying their water bottled to gather some Jordan water as a momento. We also visited a luxe chuch dedicated to the descent of the Holy Spirit during Jesus’ baptism.

*sploosh*

Baptism off the pier at the Jordan River

Jordan River Church

Jordan River Church

Next we visited Mount Nebo from which Moses and Israelites first saw the Promised Land, but where God told Moses that he would die on the mountain before being able to enter. Very bitter-sweet. We had a Mass here and I did the reading which, of course, was filled to a healthy proportion of those hard-to-pronounce Hebrew place names. But at least it was in English, at first it look the monk a while to find the reading in English for me! Looking it up now, I see there was lots we didn’t see at Mount Nebo, such as the amazing modern sculpture of Mose’s staff and the Memorial Church of Moses and, most awesome, the view of the Promised Land. Unfortunately, instead of visiting these we were taken to a shop where disabled people make and sell mosaics. I’m all for supporting this kind of thing but, in retrospect, I am bummed that we missed out on the cool things on Mount Nebo, especially that Promised Land view. We were given a demo on how the mosaics are made and given ample time to wander around their shop (where everything was very expensive but I did buy a wooden doll and a blue/silver ring).

remembering Moses

remembering Moses

Next on the adenga we drive to Madaba were we are taken to a restaurant for a pretty decent lunch. We hear that we are supposed to see a church in Madaba but there is a funeral taking place there so we will come back later.

madaba

madaba

friendly boys

friendly boys

What followed was a lot of driving around the Jordanian countryside with very little indication of where we were going. The lanscape was very different to Israel, instead of lots of small square houses cluttering hills, there were large tracts open land dotted with lavish mansions and a few smaller settlements. I got very hiccupy and car sick and caught only tidbits of Ammar’s discursions such as 75% of Jordan’s population are young, they have no natural resources, they have been trying to grow tourism since 2000 and they see people as their best resource. The bus was getting to me, in fact the 10 days of bus was getting to me; I remember tunring to Isabel and saying “It feels like this is our life now, everyday will be like this: We wake up at 6 or ealier, get loaded onto a bus and driven around and see too many places to remember”. Eventually, the bus stopped at a look out point from which you can see the Dead Sea in the distance and some mountain. I have no idea what was special about the mountain or why we had stopped to look at it. After we spent a couple of minutes checking out the mystery mountain we got back into the bus and drove all the way back through the countryside to Madaba.

dotted with masions

dotted with mansions

mystery mountain

mystery mountain

The bus stopped again and I had a little sit down to recuperate from the bus ride before all of us got led at a great speed through these interesting streets, past shops with lots of gypsy/bohemian style wares to St. George’s church. This was actually interesting, The church was built over an early Byzantine church and a mosaic map covers a large part of the church’s floor. The Madaba map has big chunks missing and which is widely believed to be the earliest map of the Holy Land, you can see Jerusalem, Galilee and the Jordan River on it. We got 5 minutes inside the church which was a bummer because the map was really detailed and fun to look at. Then we were rushed back through the intersting streets and hustled onto the bus. This day made very little sense to me, we spent hours driving, seemingly, with lots of time to kill around the countryside and when we were actually off the bus we were still rushing everywhere and couldn’t look at things properlly. When I got back on the bus people were cranky about this. I muttered to myself “I don’t understand this day” and V #2 turned around to me and said “I dont’ understand this day either” which led to some secretive giggling. I had resorted to sitting at the back of the bus today because of my car sickness and there were lots of laughs šŸ™‚

Arabis want peace / Carpet Land

Arabis want peace / Carpet Land

madaba map showing the Jordan river

madaba map showing the Jordan river

Next, we found ourselves at Jordan airport where the Ladeira’s had to do some frantic repacking before boarding a flight to Egypt. I got to sit next to H and Aunty A, who told me a ponderous and hilarious joke about three old sisters. We arrived in Cairo late at night, all our luggage was mounted onto a mega mountain cart and we were loaded onto a new bus with a fresh, friendly guide named Max who made lots of references to Bafana and the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Max tells us the “Cairo” translates into “the overwhelming city”, which turned out the be a most fitting name. He also spouts off other facts like there are 20 million people living in Cairo and 2 million cars, Giza is actually pronounced “Gee-zaa”, Egypt has 117 pyramids and 94% of its land is uninhabitable. Interesting but folks were way to tired for more learning and were falling asleep left, right and centre, including Mae who was next to me. Cairo was busy, people were preparing for Eid which was the next day and it took us a whole hour to drive to our hotel. Once we got there we had to id our luggage by putting stickers on them and get our room keys. Becuase it was so later we were told we could sleep all the way until 8 the next day – a huge treat! Inside the hotel was overkill with bright lights, live music and middle-aged tourist dancing the waltz (I think). T&W promptly put down their bags and took the the floor without missing a beat, it was like something out of a deoderant ad. After a good while of waiting we finally got to our very fancy rooms where I missed the obvious cue to tip the porter, Luisa felt very ill from the plane food and I had a bath with pursed lips (for fear of drinking any to the hectic Egypt water). *snore*

oh clever, pyramid shaped lamps in a hotel overlooking Giza

oh clever, pyramid shaped lamps in a hotel overlooking Giza

Tally for the day: 2 border crossings, 3 churches, 1 river baptism, 2 mountains – 1 known and 1 mystery, lots of countryside bus, 1 short flight, 1 hotel change

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pilgrimage day 9.5 – destination, Jerusalem

January 21, 2009

…After a welcome rest at the Maronite nunnery we had an unusual stop at the Notre Dame hostel, a hotel specifically for pilgrims, which V had mentioned several times. Despite V’s every effort she could not get us a booking there and it was the first time one of her groups was staying only at secular hotels. But we were still going to visit, and were met by a very grand, dignified priest and led into the hostel’s own chapel featuring a very pink Mary statue.Ā  As we entered the chapel, Fr. Chico whispers to me that we were now among the most conservative of priests. In the chapel the dignified priest welcomed us and said how sad it made him that there was no space for one of V’s groups in his hostel. After a short talk we left, climbing the stairs out Fr. Chico whispered to me again that the order of priests here are called the LegionnairesĀ  but a he calls them the Millionaires because they are very rich and feel it is their calling to convert the wealthy. I ask him is he is impressed with them and he said “No, we are not impressed with them” . I ask Fr. Chico about his order; he is from the Cambionnaires which started in Portugal and are dedicated to practicing in Africa and other war-torn and poverty-stricken places. Fr. Chico has no parish but lives in a remote, rural part of Mpumalanga. Next we hauled uphill to a Shroud of Turin museum where we were met by a very lively Irish priest who took us through the museum briefly and told us about some of the shroud’s oddnesses and some of the very convincing evidence from physics, pollen analysis and photography, which suggest that the shroud and its image are not simple cloth and imprint. One of the weirdest things about the shroud is that when photographed you get a negative image and a you get a positive image when you look at the photograph’s negative. There was even a 3D reconstruction of the figure depicted in the shroud using some fancy CG technique, and it really looked like what we think of when we picture Jesus.

Shroud of Turin weirdness

Shroud of Turin weirdness

We loaded onto a bus and were driven somewhere but weren’t told where … oh look we’re at the foot of the Mount of Olives and oh we are taking part in another procession – a Palm Sunday procession. At this point H and Aunty B decided to stay in the bus, they were struggling with bad knees and swollen ankles and it was a good choice. Cynthia would not be held back though, but she really struggled on the walk up. Mae, Tia and I almost lost the group because Mae went back to the bus to fetch her jersey. We had a moment of panic (during which there were some harsh words from me *blush*) as we watched the bus drive away and had no idea where our group was. But, holy-thank-goodness we found the group at an teeny grey dome-shaped building. It was the Dome of the Ascension, which is actually mosque, but is built over the spot where people think Jesus ascended into Heaven. After this we went to Pater Noster (eh? isn’t that a town on South Africa’s coast? No actually it is also the “Our Father…” prayer) the traditional spot where Jesus taught his disciples the Lord’s Prayer. There is a church there among very pretty gardens complete with rose bushes. All around the gardens and the church are tiled plaques with the Our Father in all different languages – even found Zulu and Afrikaans!

in the Dome of the Acsension

in the Dome of the Acsension

Our Father in Sotho, Portuguese, Zulu, Creole, Siswati, Afrikaans

Our Father in Sotho, Portuguese, Zulu, Creole, Siswati, Afrikaans

Then we walked up a steep hill where Clive and I took turns kind of pushing Cynthia up the hill. We walked a steep road up to a look out point where we could see Jerusalem and look down the Mount of Olives over the vast cemetaries. The Mount of Olives is hot cemetary property since it’s believed that those buried there will be the first taken up to Heaven. Plots there are very expensive and there are a number of famous people buried there.

Mount of Olives cemetaries

Mount of Olives cemeteries

cemetary ritual

cemetary ritual

Next we properly began the Palm Sunday procession walking a sharp downhill to Dominus Flevit (translated: Jesus wept), a church built over the spot where Jesus wept anticipating his Father’s will. The church was built to resemble a tear drop and on the altar there is a mosaic of a chicken sheltering chicks in its wings (symbolic of Jesus wanting to shelter Jerusalem). And behind the altar was a big window overlooking Jerusalem.

Dominus Flevit

Dominus Flevit

sheltering wings

sheltering wings

After walking around the gardens surrounding the church for a while (and me falling on my butt while walking down the wheelchair ramp) we carried on downhill to the Garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives. We saw veeeeery old, chunky olive trees and the Church of all Nations, which we were told has 12 domes, one for each nation that funded its building. But looking it up it seems like more than 12: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Italy, France, Spain, UK, Belguim, Canada, Germany, USA and Australia, each country funding different parts of the church. The church is built on the site of a 12th century Crusader chapel which was later a Byzantine basilica which was detroyed by an earthquake. Now it is an amazing Franciscan church, vast and full of mosaics of complex garden scenes and in tones of deep blue, golds and browns. At this stage there was some confusion, and people didn’t know if they should be in the church or wait outside. Frank disappeared and could be glimpsed once or twice pacing up and down talking in a very concerned way on his phone. After the waiting around, a bit of whinging and some how-the-church-should-operate debate, Frank reappeared and we were led to another part of the garden where a Franciscan monk greeted us. We got to do one of the best things of the whole day – we sat for an hour of silence to pray and meditate on peace for Israel and the world. This was very special thinking about Jesus being in the garden and feeling like one of his disciples trying to focus on prayer and tune out distraction and tireness like they were trying to on the night Jesus was arrested. It was also the perfect rest and calm down after a long day.

Church of All Nations

Church of All Nations

devotion

devotion

Garden of Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane

We thought after this long day we would go rest, but instead of going for dinner and resting at our hotel we went for a special farewell dinner at a different hotel. The farewell was out last day with Frank and Jono who we had all grown fond of (although their fondness for us was debatable). The farewell dinner was a bit strange though since neither Frank nor Jono attended so it seemed a bit…er pointless in terms of bidding them farewell. Another notable feature of the dinner was that Tia got a big birthday cake due to a misunderstanding wherein V believed it was a her birthday when, in fact, it was only her birthday 3 days time. Eventually we were taken back to our hotel, people were tired and ratty but the Portuguese contingency was very dedicated – we still got together for a makeshift Portuguese Mass in honour of Tia in one of their hotel rooms complete with hotel table wine and rolls for the Eucharist. And then it was time to pack in preparation for going to Jordan and then Cairo – we did not get enough sleep …

Tally for the day: 8 chuches, 2 sacred sites, 3 mosques, 1 set of ruins, 2 processions, 2 gardens, 1 nunnery, 1 museum, 1 dinner outĀ  (whoa!)

pilgrimage day 6 – two mountains + we are the worst group ever. yay.

December 17, 2008

We started the day with a record: everyone was on the bus on time for the first time. This was a notable achievement since (a) this was something we had been chastised over quite a bit and (b) we had to get up very early and get all our luggage packed to move hotels and towns from Nazareth to Jerusalem. We drove a short-ish while before reaching Mount Tabor, where it is believed the Transfiguration of Christ happened. The Transfiguration was where Jesus took a couple of his disciples up the mountain and was transformed, radiating light and rising on a cloud in between Moses and Elijah. Mount Tabor is one of those sites that isn’t confirmed (I can’t imagine how you could confirm the site of something like the Transfiguration). Getting to the top involved a thrilling taxi ride to the summit where you either held on pretty tight or got thrown around the van like a bean in a baby rattle. Arriving at the top was beautiful – a clean, quiet mountain top surrounded by forest and crowned with an enormous, three-towered white stone Church of the Transfiguration. This Franciscan church was built by the same master Italian architect who built the tent-like Shepard’s Field church. As you approach the church the left tower is dedicated to Moses, the center tower to the Jesus and the right tower to Elijah.

serene & clean

serene & clean

Inside the church was quite and peaceful, there was a group of Franciscan monks there on retreat and they were wandering around inside the cavernous, breathtaking center tower. Unfortunately it was too grand and detailed to photograph properly. There was a center altar in a sunken level in front of intricate stained glass and below a full arch of detailed mosaics of baby Jesus and angels in tones of blue, white and yellow. Up at the ceiling there was a huge golden coloured mosaic of the Transfiguration that was kind of ethereal. We had Mass around the center altar and, although we didn’t realise it, it was a bit stressful for Fr. Chico because we were running late and the next group’s guide had been manically signaling for him to wrap things up. That group unfortunately had to resort to holding their Mass in the Moses tower. I’m not sure why we were running late actually since we had all gotten on the bus on time. After Mass we wandered around Elijah’s tower and outside for a good couple of minutes while waiting for taxi’s to take us down the mountain again. During this time we got to enjoy the mountain top breeze and noticed more and more pilgrims pouring in. While I was showing Fr. Chico how to use his camera he mentioned that Mount Tabor was expecting about 60 groups that day! I consider the fact that we were the first group of the day and got to enjoy it fairly peacefully quite the privilege!

inside the Church of the Transfiguration

inside the Church of the Transfiguration

After the thrilling rattle ride back down the hill and wading through the even bigger crowds at the bottom we were loaded onto our bus and began the long drive to Jericho during which we whooshed past more brown lands and through two fertile green vallies. We passed a big cotton plantation and Frank was explaining what they were in English and I could see some of the Portuguese ladies were lookingĀ  at them with curiosity and confusion. Frank had been pointing out farming areas often but when we had passedĀ  banana plantations on the way to Cessaria the Portuguese women understood (since “bananas” in English and Portuguese are the same word) and got very excited pointing and nudging each other and exclaiming “Aaahh banannaaaas!”. So I turned to Isabel and asked her what cotton is in Portuguese, “Algedou” she said. So I tapped Cecelia, who was closest to me and pointed to the cotton fields and said “Algedou”, to which she replied “Aaah algedou?” and I said “Algedou”. This triggered a cascade of gleeful poking among the ladies and excited alternated exclaimations of “Algedou?” and “Algedou!” and sending Isabel and I into very pleased giggles.

Unfortunately the rest of the ride to Jericho was very bumpy and made me feel very carsick. When we entered PA-controlled Jericho we had to pass an Israeli and Palestinian checkpoint before entering a very dusty brown land with lots of Bedouin settlements. After all the dustiness we reached the lush, green and oasis-ey Jericho, the lowest inhabited place on earth (well below sea level). Here we were supplied with tickets for the Jericho cable car to the Mount of Temptation. Sho! The cable car ride was not easy because I was highly carsick already and the cable car holds some kind of record for being the highest in the world and it stopped in the middle of the ride for about 5 minutes swaying gently and nauseatingly from side to side above the excavations of Tel Jericho. The Tel Jericho was the original city of Jericho, often touted as the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. It is also suspected that the walls of Jericho of might be there; unfortunately the first archeologist working at the site ruined any chance of discovered them by digging from the from bottom of the Tel instead of the top. Bet that ruined her professional rep! The cable car landed us on the side of the mountain where it is believe that Satan tempted Jesus by offering him the world as far as the eye can see. I gotta say looking at the view I didn’t think it was all that tempting but I might have been too nauseas to appreciate its impact. On this mountain there is also a Greek Orthodox monastery we were meant to visit but we were too late and it was closed šŸ˜¦ When we reached the bottom again we got a long break near a busy market and a fountain called Elijah’s Fountain (I don’t know why). I found a large tub of saffron for only $8, and ate a pomegranate, some nuts and a protein bar from Luisa’s ever-giving bag of traveling snacks. After almost recovering from my carsickness we had to get back in the bus for the long drive to Jerusalem (ack!). We saw passed by more checkpoints, desert, mountains and Bedouin settlements. I think there’s an impression that Bedouin implies some kind of bohemian/gypsy opulence (or maybe that’s just my impression), but the real thing is anything but – rickety and spartan.

a mid-air stop to unload people?

a mid-air stop to unload people?

the view from the Mount of Temptation

the view from the Mount of Temptation

When we finally reached Jerusalem Jono*, our bus driver advised against finishing our program as Ramadan was due to finish that evening and the, predominantly Muslim, city would be traffic laden. So we were given the last few hours of the day to ourselves and we would have to make up the sites another day. Our hotel was really fancy again and Luisa, Isabel and I scored an actual suite with a HUGE TV, sleeper couch, chairs, ottomans, desk and lots of space. After settling in we attempted to walk to the Old City center of Jerusalem, but were foiled by road construction blocking our path and instead ran into A & E back from exploring the Armenian and Greek Orthodox quarters in the Old City. At dinner we met up with everyone again including V who looked she had something on her mind. By dessert she could maintian her cordial demeanour not longer and said “I wasn’t going to say anything but…” and continued on to express disenchantment with our group saying that she couldn’t put her finger on it but we were the worst group she had seen in all her 22 years – the *worst*! She told us that we were slow, we didn’t listen to instructions or Frank’s expositions and that we were giving South Africa a bad name among the local tour operators. That really took the wind out of everybody’s sails, with people worrying about whether they were the slow pokes and about having offended popular Frank. V told us we had to improve, that this was like school and everyone just had to pull their weight. Cynthia, whose legs were constantly swelling out of we white tennis shoes and were partially bleeding in one area, stammered apologies for being a lagger. Isabel and I suggested that the language differences with a large number of Portuguese people in our group might be a factor. This suggestion was not only shot down, but V suggested that, to save time, Fr. Chico shouldn’t translate Frank’s explanations into to Portuguese anymore, which was even worse! V explained that she had had a Swazi group with three different languages who coped beautifully so language was not the issue. But after she left the, up till then silent, Fr. Chico leaned in and told us that this model group had had 20 days to complete the same program we were doing in 12! The few of us that were left chatting concurred that the tight, packed program was a problem. The whole thing left me feeling horrible and actually counting the days before this ‘school trip’ was over. Then I felt indignant, we were in Jerusalem and we didn’t come to be impressive ass haulers, we came to be close to God. After all this general yuckness, Luisa, Mae, Tia, Fr. Chico and C and I took a little Friday night walk to a corner cafe to find bottles of water and beer. This cleared my head. Slept well.
Tally for the day: 1 church, 2 long bus rides, 2 mountains, 1 new hotel, 1 chatisement of note

pilgrimage day 4 – the way to Nazareth

December 2, 2008

Early wakeup call, today we changed hotels and cities which meant luggage had to be packed by 6am and then grabbing our breakfast boxes and getting on the bus for the long drive to Nazareth… eh except there was problem with that plan. At the hotel front desk I discovered there was some debacle with our breakfast boxes. V was telling someone from the hotel that they were unacceptable. Something about them being in bags and not boxes, I really couldn’t see what the fuss was about. The word spreading among the group who were milling around before deciding to nab the chance to have breakfast at the hotel. There was a lot of confusion and, in a sort of panic that there would be no breakfast, people began wolfing down big hunks of the hotel’s breakfast buffet. I hiccuped a lot, which led to lots of people giggling at me. We were rushed along with crumbs practically falling out of our mouths to catch the bus and breakfast boxes were cancelled completely.

This odd morning changed the program for the whole day – we missed our Mass slot at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth and V spent lots of time on the phone rearranging everything. Unfortunately this meant that no one knew what was coming up next and V wouldn’t tell us (presumably because she didn’t know herself). I thought it was rather peculiar that we were constantly being hurried along so as not to miss slots but sub-par breakfast boxes were good enough reason to miss them. We drove for hours with Frank talking a lot about the countryside and the highway that we were driving on which was gashed through the countryside. Our first stop was a petrol station where Isabel and I bought some unidentifiable Hebrew/Arabic water and chocolates and then we drove for more hours. Eventually we reached Cessaria where many of Jesus’ followers lived and preached and where Herod lived for a while and which was very hot and desert like (though there was a very lush golf course there). It was visually spectacular: old amphitheatre, a garden with broken pillars and then walking through a gate which revealed the breathtaking city ruins complete with a hippodrome. Sadly we did not have get to walk through the ruins but were loaded onto the bus and driven to another beach were we saw an old aqueduct and people dipped their feet in the Mediterranean, I would have preferred to walk through the ruins more.

many steps

many steps

aqueduct

aqueduct

We finally reached Nazareth; my first impression of it was that it was rundown but quaint. We started at a Greek Orthodox Church built over a well where Mary used to fetch water a few times a day. We were not allowed to take photos in the church and that was kind of blessing since it allowed us to enjoy it – it was beautiful and intricate with many golden lamps a big heavy chandelier. The well itself was surrounded by a fence but there was a small tap you could drink from, although after we drank we discovered the water was not quite safe (lucky we have tough tummies). We walked the route Mary would have walked carrying water from the well to the Church of Joseph (built over Josephs’ carpentry) and then onto the main event: the Church of the Annunciation. Here is it believed that the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her that she was going to have a very special child. The church is amazing, outside there is a courtyard with many mosaics from different countries portraying Mary. It was interesting to see the different cultural portrayals of her. There was even one from South Africa would our tour organiser, V had brought all the way and placed on its spot. When we entered the church we were greeted with high ceilings and a wide open space, no pulpit no pews. This was a bit confusing but then we saw that there was a sunken level with an altar in front of a big black iron gate which fenced off the grotto in which Mary’s house was believed to be located. There was an Italian Mass taking place and later on we got our turn to have Mass – quite a touching one. It was the first time we were able to spend a while at it since we were the last group of the day to do Mass (in this sense the morning-gone-awry worked out quite well). Father Chico’s main message was that we should remember that, in all the madness of the tour, we should remember that we would find God in silences. Our group offered many personal prayers which gave me an insight into the struggles, illnesses and concerns the other pilgrims had.

downtown Nazareth

downtown Nazareth

the Church of the Annunciation in in the background

the Church of the Annunciation in in the background

cultural aesthetics

cultural aesthetics

After Mass we went walking back through downtown Nazareth and were led to – bleh – another souvenir shop. This upset some folks because they thought the shop in Bethlehem was the only shop we would be going to and this shop had some better deals. Isabel and I bought fridge magnets, that girl has a rather adorable obsession with them šŸ˜‰ A couple on the tour – A (pregnant) and E were not digging the fact that we had been rushed through town only to linger at another touristy place so they went off to explore on their own, wish I had thought of that at the time since there were no other chances to explore downtown Nazareth.

That evening we met our new hotel, which V had told us would not be as nice as the one in Bethlehem. We definitely thought different – there was an amazing view, a huge pool and nice food. Us sisters when for a night swim before dinner. Over lots of hummus and aubergines we had a good chat with A and E. So not the super conservative people I thought they were, we discovered lots of common ground from uncompleted postgrad theses all the way to misgivings about the running of the tour and the bossiness of V. Ah it was nice to not feel like the only grumpy troopers – grumpiness decreased and camaraderie increased šŸ™‚

Tally for the day: 3 churches, 1 ruined city, 2 beaches, 1 tourist trap