Quick Impressions of a Happy Day

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Driving back to the hotel, late Saturday night, after a very happy day. Since we have to be at the airport in about 5 hours I am going to get a quick post in with the day’s highlights (and there were many!) Forgive the choppy writing.

**Nazareth is a city of vibrant energy and beauty. Waking up in the guesthouse, the open courtyards below us and the blue sky above. A fabulous Arabic breakfast — hummus and labne and salad with cheese and bread.

**Visiting the Church of the Annunciation — mosaics of Mary and child from countries all over the world, and a new facade built to pull all the ancient pieces together — brilliant architecture and the most beautiful stained glass I have seen. A Catholic mass in process and the swell and echo of the music so beautiful it hurts your heart.

**An Arabic market full of shouting and color and wonderful smells and my first visit to a mosque, quiet and spare and solemn.

**A stop in a shop for strong coffee brewed with cardamom and small pastries filled with goat cheese and nuts and honey.

**A spice market smelling like the Middle Eastern shops of my childhood — reviving long sleeping memories of Saturday morning shopping trips to New York with the family to buy bread and cheese and za’atar. And a shawarma shop with sizzling lamb and warm pita and a million salads and sauces to put on top.

**A kaleidoscope of saturated color and wonderful taste and new memories to savor as we push through the traffic on our way out of the city to the next .

**Sitting on a rock by the Sea of Galilee. Walking through the stunning gardens at the church marking the spot where Christ is said to have given the Sermon on the Mount.

**Heading north across the Jordan River to the Golan Heights to the home of a Druze woman who cooks us a feast of rice and salads and meats and hummus and bread. Talking and laughing with her in a mix of three languages. A really special moment.

Driving through the night with an early morning flight. So tired and so happy. And really grateful to Amir Gadnaor who planned and executed a trip so far beyond our expectations that I am in awe.

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