Monday, January 3, 2011 – All of the pilgrims (nearly 400 of us!) were asked to arrive at the new Pilgrim Reception Center at 54 Hatzionut Street sometime before noon. There, in small groups, we attended a brief orientation, got our group assignments (ours was M), and got our schedule.
In the afternoon, we gathered outside the Pilgrim House and were greeted by two of the Counselors from the International Teaching Centre (more about the ITC in a future post). After a prayer, we proceeded to the Shrine slowly and circled around it — all 400 of us!
Sometimes it’s the little things that make an unexpected impression on us. For example, do you know how long a line of 400 pilgrims is when they walk all the way down a long foot path, around a very large sacred building, and down another very long foot path? As we were walking back to the Pilgrim House, I looked to my right and realized that a very long line still hadn’t reached the Shrine.
We waited for the caretakers to open all the doors to the Shrines for the evening, so that we could go on our own as we pleased. This was our first visit to the Shrine of the Bab, as well as the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. (More about them in a future post, too!)
At the end of the evening, we walked back with our fellow pilgrims, the Roshan family, to our hotel at the bottom of the mountain on Ben Gurion Avenue. It was truly a marvelous day!