Instawalk: Bethlehem

when i picture Bethlehem in my head, i think of inns and mangers, not an overabundance of churches and military checkpoints. to be honest, i didn’t know what at all to expect since it wasn’t until this morning that i really learned about how separated (physically and otherwise) the West Bank really is. for five minutes i tried to get the car’s GPS to get us to anywhere in Bethlehem. i was completely confused as to why it kept complaining no route could be calculated and why it had absolutely no street maps at all of the city. thanks to a combination of road signs and Google Maps, though, we made it to — and through — the checkpoint and to Manger Square. and it wasn’t until we drove up to the checkpoint that it dawned on me: i was entering the West Bank, not really Israel anymore and hence outside of the GPS coverage area. (this is also a side effect of letting someone else do all the planning — i know pretty much nothing.)

sidebar: parkingĀ it’s not immediately clear where you can and can’t park — we asked a policeman and he directed us to a lot on the other side of Manger Square (continue driving through it, start to head downhill, and will be on your left, a big lot). parking was free despite there being an attendant — not sure who pays his wages!

Bread cart

Man selling bread on the way to the Milk Grotto


Chandeliers inside the Greek Orthodox portion of the Church of the Nativity


Church of the Nativity

Kissing where Jesus was born

Kissing the Grotto of the Nativity, the site where Jesus is believed to have been born


Above the Milk Grotto

Heading back out to Israel. Passing by the wall.

Palestinian side of the West Bank Barrier. If I had more time, I’d love to have done to walk along it and look at the street art.

5 Comments on "Instawalk: Bethlehem"

  1. And now you see why the West Bank is still under “Israeli” occupation… The people cannot move freely.

  2. I was only in Bethlehem once and it was for an encounter session with local residents. We (a group of young American Jewish leaders, with a few “older” folks like myself and my husband tossed in for good measure) did not get to explore at all. I think there was concern for our safety and also the purpose was not sightseeing. We did walk along the separation barrier as part of learning about the situation on the ground and had many encounter sessions with residents of the city. Most of the people we met were Arab Christians. It was both a fascinating and a frustrating experience. I’d like to go back.

  3. I think the person in the parking lot was Looking for something to ‘watch’ your car for you. Last week I paid people to ‘watch’ my car in Costa Rica while parked along roads……..

    • i think we could have used a car watcher in jerusalem — we got a parking ticket but i’m not blogging about it until it plays out a bit more. anyways, yeah, i dunno what his deal was. he sat in the parking attendant booth but didn’t charge us on the way in or on the way out *shrug*. (and no damage to car, no ticket)

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