The Holy Land (1)
Some time ago, I was reminded that Monsieur Père and Grandma had gone on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Israel, and I asked Noel if he could inquire next time he went to Bonnebosq. He did, and guess what? Mummy entrusted him with two albums, which our grandpa had composed, made of photos and a day-by-day handwritten record of the pilgrimage! He then proceeded to scan the albums (thanks again Noël for the good work!), and I'm therefore able to give you a full description. I suppose some of you had seen and perhaps even read it, but I hadn't, and it was with a lot of excitement that I discovered it.
Here are the scans!
The pilgrimage took place for 3 weeks in 1966, between Monday September 26th, and October 14th. I say pilgrimage, and it really was that, but the trip was organized thanks to the fact that Monsieur Père was to go to Israel to attend a Congress of the International Electrotechnical Commission in Tel Aviv between Oct 10th to 14th. Mum tells me he went free, and so they only had to pay for Grandma. I don't know what was done for Kathleen O'Rawe, who accompanied them. She was a friend from the Church, whom Grandma referred to regularly as being involved in Catholic circles (the Evidence Guild, probably), but I don't know much more about her (she died in 2008). They flew via Amsterdam, Athens, Beirut, and finally to Jerusalem: 4 flights! Owing to some fog though, they had to postpone departure which was planned originally on Sept 25th. On pages 3 & 4, Monsieur Père gives a funny account of the arrangements which were made owing to the delay.
Programme based on the indications of the albums:
(Album 1 is entitled "Jordan" because at the time the West Bank had not yet been regained by Israel, and Jordan's annexation of this territory had been recognized by England. See Jordan's history. Album 2 is therefore named "Israel")
Album 1 (pages 1 & 2 are a meditative introduction)
Sunday Sept 25th: England (back home after flight is postponed): p.3
Monday Sept 26th: Amsterdam : p. 4
Tuesday Sept 27th: Athens & Beirut: p. 5-6
Wednesday Sept 28th: Jerusalem : p. 7-10
Thursday Sept 29th: Bethlehem p. 11-13; Hebron: p. 14-15
Friday Sept 30th: Jerusalem p. 16; Bethany p. 17; Jericho p. 18-19; Kirbet al Mafjar p. 20; River Jordan p. 21; the Dead Sea and back to Jerusalem p. 22 and 23
Saturday Oct 1st: Jerusalem p. 32-38
Sunday Oct 2nd: Samaria, Sikar, Nablus and back to Jerusalem
Monday Oct 3rd: Jerusalem-Israel side (MP in Tel Aviv) p. 39-41
Tuesday Oct 4th: Ein Kerem and back to Jerusalem p. 42-44
Wednesday Oct 5th: Jerusalem - Nazareth p. 45-50
Thursday Oct 6th: Nazareth - Kafar Kana - Sea of Galilee p. 51-56
Friday Oct 7th: Sea of Galilee p. 57-58
Saturday Oct 8th: Sea of Galilee P. 59-60
Sunday Oct 9th: Sea of Galilee p. 61-62
Monday Oct 10th: Sea of Galilee - Tel Aviv
Tuesday Oct 10th-Thursday Oct 13th: IEC Conference Tel Aviv - trips to Jaffa p. 65-67
Friday Oct 14th: journey back: p.68
At Jerusalem airport, with time of arrival
The albums are an account of the visits, and a selection of photos show rather obviously what they did and where they went, but what isn't so obvious is Monsieur Père's enthusiasm and humour, not to mention his writing skills. He writes extremely well, and the text, never boring, never fastidious, makes for a very interesting read. Furthermore, if you've been to Israel, as I have, it's interesting to compare what the sites (and the atmosphere) used to look like almost 50 years ago. There are certain places (like Jericho and the West Bank) which today aren't as easy to visit - well, at least when we went in 2007 we couldn't visit them. 1966 was a year before the Six-day war which was to change so much the country's perspectives. There one or two mentions of the building tension in the narrative (p. 63 notably).
Naturally, as you will see in following posts where I plan to detail some aspects of the records, the religious dimension is very present. But even if this is true, Grandpa's observations as a tourist are not uncommon, and as an observer of mankind to some extent. So that all in all, the "scribe" (as he calls himself) makes his presence once again very close to us.
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