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ByRick Deutsch

Cruise speakers can visit Bethlehem over Christmas

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.

Bethlehem's 30 foot wall.

Bethlehem’s 30 foot wall.

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.

 

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ByRick Deutsch

The Holy Land Comes Alive As You Stroll Old Jerusalem

 

Jerusalem is the cradle of religion.
Jerusalem is the cradle of religion.

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.

Tourists flock to holy sites in Bethlehem.

Tourists flock to holy sites in Bethlehem.

 

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ByRick Deutsch

Key West is a fun destination for speakers | Be sure to see Hemmingway’s house

Key West - Southernmost point in USA

Key West – Southernmost point in USA

Key West was surprisingly pretty fun. The wharf area has a lot of neat shops and attractions. At evening all kinds of, well, freaks come out of the cracks in the sidewalks. Funny costumes and face makeup. My kind of fun.

The town is a gay center of the US and vies with San Francisco for honors.
There are shops full of local paintings and sculptures. This photo is a “mandatory” for your trip. It’s a moderate walk to the west and you can count on a line pf people waiting to get their photo.

Key West is a usual stop fo cruise ships sailing the Caribbean. It’s not exactly cheap, but I ended up buying a needed pair of shoes that I did not see in California. I even rented a scooter for $40 and tooled around the island. They ask you to stay you in the main town, but I had to go north a few miles to see the Naval Air station. While I was in college, I was in ROTC and able to get a hop down there from Andrews AFB. A fun time even back there. I spend 3 days on a young person’s budge – 2 meal a day at McDonald’s!

Oh, I forgot, Ernest Hemmingway’s house is open for tours.

A good read => Alaska

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