I had a very early alarm call – 5.30 as I was going with some of the others in the group back to the Holy Sepulchre to experience it in a different way from the busyness of Thursday. We left the hotel at 6.00 and walked down. It was a very early start but well worth while; the atmosphere was completely different, it was a place of worship and prayer. We were able to watch a variety of different styles of worship taking place. There was an Orthodox Coptic service, a RC Mass and others besides. It was good to be able to spend time there at this early time. As we gathered in the courtyard outside it was quite emotional sitting in the warmth of the sun listening to the organ music coming through the door.
A quick walk back to the hotel for breakfast and to check our bags on to the coach before just over half of us got driven down to the dung gate at 8.00am. We went to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. In the courtyards groups of Muslim men were sitting studying to Quran. We looked down on the Wailing Wall as we walked towards the Dome of the Rock and the el-Aqsa Mosque. The Dome is even more amazing to see close up – the contrast of the golden dome sparkling in the sunlight against the blue sky.
Our coach met us and took us up to St George's Cathedral where we went to the 9.30 Eucharist which was in Arabic and English. The Bishop of Jerusalem presided at the service, having just returned from Canada. We sat outside in the garden of the cathedral drinking strong Arabic coffee and eating cake.
We left Jerusalem for Jericho, passing the supposed site of the Inn of the Good Samaratin but we didn't stop; perhaps there's a parable in there somewhere! We went in cable cars to the Mount of Temptation, where most of us were tempted by the ice lollies. It felt so hot I didn't know whether to eat mine or to use it as an ice pack.
We had lunch in Jericho before stopping by the sycamore tree of Zacchaeus. As well as hearing our reading, several of us sang the song about Zacchaeus.
A drive of about an hour and a half brought us to the Sea of Galilee where we are staying for the next three nights. After unpacking I went down to the pool where I enjoyed a swim before dinner.