My trip last week as a cruise ship speaker from Montreal to NYC was a blast. Cold but fun. We stopped at Quebec, Halifax, Bar Harbor,Boston, Newport and ended at New York. Saw the new One World Trade Center in Manhattan. It’s up and looks great. The beveled sides reflect the sun from every angle. Freedom Tower is the common name.
Seeing it and thinking of the disaster in 2001, makes you very sad that other humans could have done this. I recall the images of the towers falling and the huge dust clouds. As we sailed up towards the Hudson river, it made you proud to see it. Everyone of the 900 passengers was fixated and clicking shots. I took mine at 12 Megapixels, but had to shrink them to work on this WordPress site.
One reason I really like speaking on cruise ships is the exposure you can get to parts of the world you may have only read about. On a cruise last year, my wife and I toured Israel. The stops included Bethlehem. This current Christmas season reminded me of our time there. It was almost surreal to travel by bus and arrive at the Palestinian controlled Bethlehem. As we approached the town, our bus was boarded by an Israeli army person. Passports checked. The whole town is surrounded by a 30 ft high steel wall. Really.
We were told that the Israeli’s got tired of dealing with the covert bombings that originated from within, so they built the wall. It was no problem once we were inside. All of the religious buildings and artifacts from the birth of Christ were all open to us and there was no uneasiness. The guides presented a clear picture of what we were seeing and the events that occurred there over 2,000 years ago.
This trip was special and we really enjoyed the education and learning of the realities of today’s world. As a cruise ship speaker, this was all opened up to me.
A trip to the Old Jerusalem is a lesson in the ability of several religions to live in peace. Christians and non-Christians alike claim a heritage to the sacred ground. They regard the site as holy and key to their beliefs. The bible comes alive as you tour the Wailing Wall, the Garden of Gethsemane and Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The biblical stories hit home as you can finally see where the Old and New Testament were acted out. Walking the same streets as Jesus did over 2,000 years ago is mind-boggling. Letting go of the political climate, it does the soul well to hear the stories of man’s belief in a deity.
It is a special treat when you cruise ship docks up country and you are transported to these revered places. After your tour of Jerusalem, you often include Bethlehem. Due to the Palestinian – Israeli issues, the town now has a high steel wall surrounding it. Bethlehem is administered by the Palestine Authority, yet tourists are allowed to safely visit the birthplace of Christ.