I’ve been a bit tied up with Christmas.
Or at least I would be if I was living in the Ballkans.
Where today, the last Sunday before Christmas, it is tradition to tie your father up until he promises to bring presents on Christmas Day.
Mums don’t get away with it as they have to go through the same thing the Sunday before.
The old Yugoslavia is, of course, no more and proud old nations have reformed in the Balkans.
There are some cities in the world where you just feel the hand of history on your shoulder and Sarajevo is one of them.
With its Muslim and Christian traditions.
And for being the trigger point for the start of the First World War and the Siege of Sarajevo in the Nineties..
Both church and mosque sit side by side in the Bosnia & Herzegovina capital.
And while there are constant reminders of the conflicts in Sarajevo.
In its museums and beautiful City Hall people mix freely, just wanting to put past differences behind them…
The constant refrain is that their leaders let them down… www.visitsarajevo.ba
As do the two religions with Jesus a prophet in Islam and the Old Testament forming Muslim history too.
While, of course it is also the story of Judaism and Jesus is central to that story too.
And so while Christians celebrate Christmas as their own it is worth remembering too that we share Jesus with these two other great religions.
Like Sarajevo, Istanbul https://visit.istanbul.com is at the crossroads of the great religions.
With the Orthodox Church seeing Constantinople, one of its previous names, as the headquarters of their church.
While we all know about the Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/wham-bam-thank-you-hamam/ and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/30/voting-for-turkey/
And here’s some Holidos and Donts advice in the column which gives you a manual on how to thrive and survive on your travels…. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/10/07/holidos-and-donts-saunas-and-hamams/
Jordan www.visitjordan.com is another ancient centre point for the world.
Where you can stand on Jordanian land and almost touch the Orthodox Christians bathing in the River Jordan.
Where the Israelis claim that John the Baptist baptised Jesus… the Jordanians claim it is on their side further back from where I’m standing here.
And, of course before all that there were the ingenious Nalbateans who built Petra.
Which we all know Indiana Jones came a-whip-cracking away up to.
Now what are my kids up to with that whip and ropes?
MEET YOU IN THE PEWS