|Well it arrived. The last day. What a wonderful day it was too. We started early leaving for Herod's Gate and began our journey at the Church of flagellation. Not a wonderful name but, there were the first two stations at this point. Different people were chosen to read at each station followed by the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be prayers. Then a chant was sung, this had been organized by the Bear family. It was very moving. On the way out of the church I bumped my head on a cross, which I thought was very fitting. We travelled the busy but not overcrowded streets, as children were going to school, markets were opening etc...I am glad. Did it early as later in the day it was so crowded!! We visited each station around the markets and finally moved into a large area outside the Ethioian section of the Holy Seplechue Church. Here we had the last four stations, it would be too hard to do them in the Church. Catrina shared the Tenth Station and this was very special. When Barb began hers it was too much and Richard had to finish and we were all very teary for her. Then wee went inside.
It was amazing! Already there were large crowds gathered and lining up for the various sections of the church. We went around to a small chapel and had a very lovely and moving mass, offering our prayers for our famiilies and friends. Then we moved outside and lined up with the other thousands of people to see the tomb. Aft an hour of slowly walking we made it. We were rushed in. Catrina was made to go in with some others in front of us and I went in first of the group behind me. We did not get a lot of time here but at least I was able to say a quick prayer unlike others as I could get inside quickly and the oldies were slow enough for me to do so! Then we am our way out to St Helen's Church. Here we heard about her efforts and the pit full of crosses etc... Finally we headed back out to the rock. We had had to wait for the Fransicans to say prayers as it was their turn. We made our way up the stairs and like sardines were crushed from all around and slowly moved forwards to the altar. Crawling under we were given a very short time to touch and move out. The Greek Orthadox priests continually moving us on in a very cranky manner. Now here is the best part- today wasn't my first time here! Nothing weird - last night a few of us went up to the Old City and in the peacefulness of night, and Without the crowds we got to pray and be at the rock for a good time of quiet and prayerfulness. We also had the lovely accompaniment of a small Russian group who continually sang their prayers while each of their group went to the altar. It was all very moving.
The afternoon was spent having lunch, a little bit more shopping before packing and resting.
Ww then borded the bus and went to the Armenian quarter for a traditional meal, our lt meal, together. It was a wonderful night. We were having a lot of fun. Little gifts were given out to our drivers, guides, Colleen, Troy and Richard and then they gave us little medallions as a reminder of the journey. One of the funniest things was Richard ordered the bubble pipes for people to have a go. After a little coding I too had a turn. - bad mistake! At the time it was incredible. I had an aniseed one and it was beautiful. I did get very lightheaded too! But I paid for it during the night! My lungs are still aching and I have a bit of coughing as a result! Well you only get here once. But never again!