Day 1 – afternoon and evening

Having walked the Mount of Olives this morning, we left the hotel mid-afternoon to visit the Garden Tomb near the Damascus Gate. It is a peaceful contemplative place – particularly as we had reached the Damascus Gate just afternoon prayers finished – it was a bit of a scrum and the tranquility and space afforded us in the Garden Tomb enclosure was very welcome!

We continued up Nablus Road Street (sic) and spent some time playing “hunt the URC kneeled” in St George’s Cathedral before walking back up to our hotel. On the way back we were stopped by a couple of young western women who told us that they were “looking for a demonstration” did we know where one was? The last Friday of Ramadan and the start of Shabbat meant that the Old City was pretty much wall to wall demonstration (which is why we avoided it today) but we pointed them in the right direction and wished them the best!

My good friend Miral was waiting for us when we got back. She has been to all of the Youth4Hope training camps and had agreed to come and meet with our young people to share a bit about herself. Unfortunately this included revealing that her favourite band is Westlife! It was lovely to see her again.

After tea, Khalil Abdinnour came to speak to us about Jerusalem Ark and, in particular, the kids and youth programmes they run. I was delighted that they were able to spend time with us.

Tomorrow is an early start for some – I’m taking anyone who wants to go down to the Holy Sepulchre at 06:30 – before it gets too crowded. A few have said that they want to come – we’ll see :)

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