Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Nazareth, Israel~Day 6~Part 1

Our friends must really trust us, because beginning on day six of our trip, they gave us their car! All I can say is, "Thank God for GPS and well marked roadsigns in English!"

We headed off to Galilee and Nazareth after a disastrous stop at a gas station. Let's just say, I went inside to get a couple Cappucinos, when I hear Dallas's voice come over the loudspeaker, "DOES ANYONE SPEAK ENGLIT?! I NEED HELP! I CAN'T FIGURE THE GAS PUMP OUT!" Oh, how I wanted to pretend I didn't know that man!
Yes, it was Dallas.
Someone came to his rescue, we got our Cappucinos and headed off to Jesus's hometown, Nazareth. Nazareth is an Arab occupied town. After having been there, to ME, that means that there is a mainly Arab-Muslim population in that town, which also means that not so many people speak English as do in mainstream Israel, where EVERYONE speaks "Englit." They speak primarily Arabic in Nazareth-except the one guy who gave me "a great deal" on olive wood products.

When we arrived at the church where Gabriel announced to Mary that she would be with child, we found "rockstar parking" and walked right up to the church.

"The Basilica," as they call it, was very modern looking for the most part, excepting this worship area, which was built around ancient ruins. Ancient meets modern. Israel does this so very well! People were taking Communion in this beautiful church, but I couldn't help but snap some pictures!

If you look up in the Basilica, you might have a flashback to Epcot Center or Space Mountain, but the expansive architecture definitely makes you aware of what a grandiose and miraculous event occurred there once upon a time.

Below is the outside of the Basilica.

RIGHT next door is the Church of Saint Joseph. It's much humbler than the neighboring Basilica. There are two stories attached to this church. One is that it was Joseph's home. The other is that this church was built upon his carpentry shop. Seeing as how we know so little about Jesus' childhood, if this was Joseph's carpentry shop, then Jesus would likely have spent many a childhood memory on the grounds. This is where he would have learned the trade of carpentry!

Inside, the church was simple, but very beautiful.

I loved the archways, the wood detailing on the ceiling and the stained glass.

In the basement of the Church of Saint Joseph, this candle was burning.

That was our whirlwind trip to Nazareth. We did not spend a long time in either of these beautiful churches because we had the entire Sea of Galilee to see that day as well, but when we got back to the car, there was a parking ticket on the windshield!

Background: When we parked, we, being the good citizens we are, went up to the parking meter, which was only printed in Hebrew except for one sentence, which read, "For English, look to the flag." That sounds weird to me, too, but we looked all over for any "flag" that could give us a clue as to how to pay. Since no flags or meter readers were in sight, we thought, "Well, let's just go take a peek at these churches real quick."

Flash forward to when we got back to the car: I grabbed the parking ticket, groaned, and couldn't read it...not a single word. Fortunately, I looked over and saw the meter readers. Dallas then says, "GREAT! They're Arab! Take the ticket and go talk to them! They'll love your eyes!" Great. Let me tell you, I felt like I was walking the plank on my way over to the meter mafia. I walked up and asked, "Does anyone speak Englit?" One guy looked at me, well, they ALL looked at me, but one guy said, "NO. Arabic." Great. GREAT. So, I continue (in English-remember, not only do I not speak Hebrew, but I DEFINITELY do NOT speak ARABIC!), "I got this parking ticket, but I can't read it." Then, I motioned for them to follow me over to the meter, which they obliged to do. I read the only English words, "For English, look to the flag." Then I pointed to the sky and called out, "BUT THERE'S NO FLAG! ...and I don't speak HEBREW!" One of the gentlemen pushed three buttons, and ba-da-bing! ENGLISH! Thanks, bud, but that doesn't help me NOW! So, I asked the men if I could pay now. Again, in English, which they don't speak. The first man took my ticket and tore it up and said, "No" (I'm assuming that means that I didn't have to pay it). I was filled with gratitude and got a head nod and a couple of annoyed smirks, and we were outta there!

Tomorrow, it's OFF TO GALILEE!

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