|L to R: Linda, Lynette, Pat, Janet, yours truly, Sonja|
There are five or six chapels on the grounds, interspersed with beautiful landscaping and fountains. The insides of the chapels strongly reminded me of the churches we visited in Ukraine on our choir mission trip in 2008. There is lots of gold/brass, beeswax candles, and icons. We had permission to go into any of the churches and even take photos. However, we were instructed to never go behind any of the curtained off areas where the altars are located. At one point we saw a visiting nun kneeling in prayer, bowing three times, and then rising to her feet to kiss the icon in front of her. We all commented on how difficult this would be for each of us!
At one part of the grounds, I noticed a man clearing away brush from an orchard. I asked him if the trees were lemon trees. "Yes," he replied. Then I asked if there were olive trees on the grounds. "Yes," he said, but went on to say "I don't have the blessing to speak to you." I apologized and went on my way, not realizing he was one of the monks. Wasn't that a kind way for him to respond? I thought so.
Here are some of the many photos that made this day so special. Double click on them to enlarge.
I loved this journey and hope to remember it for a long while. Such a treat for the eyes in the dry, sandy land.