Bethlehem is in Palestinian territory which has a high concrete wall around it, several kilometres from Jerusalem. Our Israeli guide can only take us to the carpark at the gate as Israelis are not permitted into Palestine. We were picked up by an Arab with a Honduras passport who took us to the Church of the Nativity, Jesus’s birthplace. Across the road is the Mosque where men were gathering for Friday prayers.
We had to bend down to get in the church as the crusaders had walled up the entrance and only left a small space so as you go in you are humbled before God.
There were many people in the Armenian area waiting but our guide said wait while I talk to the police. Next minute we are in the area where Jesus was born. We touch the spot, go to the manger, take a quick photo and we are out, because the Catholics are about to have a procession.
We then go to look a through an iron gate at the Catholic church. Our guide said this gate is always locked. A man comes with a key to unlock it for the return of procession and indicates we can go in. We have a good look.
Next our driver takes us to the shepherds field, where the Angel visited the shepherds. We look in a cave where they probably sheltered.
We are then driven back to the entrance, where we have to show our passports to return to the Israeli section. Never underestimate the value of an Australian passport.