Bethlehem, Palestine

From the Damascus Gate we took a bus to the border crossing of Bethlehem. Check point 300. The border was an intimidating massive concrete separation. As if to move large amounts of cattle though many long fenced hallways. But we were merely a dozen or so tourists, no cattle. A quick passport check and we were on the other side. Greeted by more taxis than there were tourists, I almost felt guilty that we had decided to walk. It was only 3km to our destination. A Russian college student also had been advised to walk by a friend of hers who lived in Jerusalem. Though without a map she tagged along with us, and our trusted Google Maps. It was still a Muslim holiday and everything was closed. Bethlehem was a ghost town.

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In no time we arrived at the Church of The Nativity. Built above the cave traditionally believed to mark the birth place of Jesus of Nazareth.

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Beneath the Alter of the Nativity, the 14 point silver star marks the spot traditionally believed to be where the Virgin Mary gave birth.

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Google Maps had decided to take us down some interesting alley ways… Siobhan insisted, partly from her own worry but also because she was embarrassed that our new found friendly Russian had trusted us to guide her back to the checkpoint, that I ask a family that was dining in their court yard if we were heading in the right direction. Of course we were. Eventually the narrow dirt ally way kicked us back out on to the main road.

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Our detour had taken us back a different way than we came. Allowing us to walk along the barrier/ wall. A car pulled up just as we were back near the main road. (The white car in the last photograph) and offered to take us on a tour of the refugee camps and/or the Banksy artwork on the wall. Unfortunately we were pressed on time to catch one of the last remaining buses back to Jerusalem. Next time.

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