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My fourth and final chapter to reach Jerusalem


I haven’t written or published anything in a while, and of course, there’s little excuse. I have hardly kept my family and friends informed of this pilgrimage. I can tell myself that I always fail to publish when away on pilgrimage and away from my keyboard at home, and that a tablet PC is totally unproductive—which it is. I’ve been battling with my poor health both abroad and since returning home. So this is a start. I’m back in the saddle, so to speak.

Some of you already know that I began this pilgrimage to Rome with 3 companions (Ann Milner, Vanda Szolucha, Father Franz Pfaff) in 2008 from my home in Winchmore Hill, London and that this year (2013) was the fourth and final chapter of my journey to reach Jerusalem.


Greek Cross (the London flag incorporates the Greek Cross)

Canterbury Cross

St Peter’s Cross (Vatican City)

My route south from Canakkale, Turkey was based on information shared by pilgrims: Ann Milner (2011); Vittorio Ferlin (2011); Anacleto, Mario and Rinaldo (2008); Brandon Wilson (2006); and Mony Dojeiji (2001). With the exception of Ann Milner they are members of the Facebook Group: Confraternity of Pilgrims to Jerusalem which was co-founded by myself and Ian Brodrick.

My navigation aids included lots of maps, an Android Tablet PC with Google Maps, and a trusty compass. I also relied heavily on local people’s advise and information.

I had experienced the archetypal yearning to practice the type of embodied spirituality that is to be found by going on pilgrimage. I have a stirring that leads me to want to walk in the footsteps of earlier pilgrims and directly experience holy places. I leave pieces of myself scattered over the route of countries crossed as did those who went before me, as will those pilgrims who follow me.

No matter how weak and far from the Christian religion I may feel before going on pilgrimage—during the time on the road I’m changing and experience lightness and freedom despite the hardships and on-going uncertainties (the availability of nice nutritious vegetarian food is high on my list of on-going uncertainties), and the monotonous routine of repetitive long-distance walking and daily chores. I explore new horizons. I’m in contact with God.
I’m also reminded about how much I don’t know why I want to undertake these journeys. I accept whatever comes—pilgrimages are among the most demanding, and therefore most rewarding, of all religious disciplines.

My journey was uneventful until I became seriously unwell within sight of Izmir, Turkey. My route planning capability was affected and I was aware of making errors. I took a bus to Kusadasi as I was unable to plan a route from Izmir. The Google Maps’ route made my head spin. I would like to know if anyone has walked this section.

It wasn’t until I reached the island Kos (Greece) that I sought medical help in the hospital. The doctors’ tentative diagnosis was Bronchitis, and prescribed Klaricid 500mg tablets, twice daily and Trebon-n sachets 600mg, once daily. I was not comfortable with the sachets and binned them. I could not understand their purpose.

When in Rhodes (Greece), I changed my route by purchasing a flight to Tel Aviv, Israel via Athens, Greece. I travelled from Tel Aviv by bus to Haifa and walked back to Tel Aviv and continued to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Old City of Jerusalem.

The Old City is a holy place that embraces sites sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Western Wall, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre are a camel’s spitting distance from each other. It’s also a city where people continue to live—the ancient paving stones bear witness to generations of Jerusalemites.

I was in need of some pampering and decided to stay in the Jerusalem Panorama Hotel instead of one of the Christian lodgings in the Old City. The hotel is nearby the Old City (equidistant from the Lion and Dung Gates) and offers stunning panoramic views. The Palestinian owners and their families were kind and supportive.

Of course, I mustn’t forget my 70th birthday celebration during this my final chapter to reach Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Cross

I was issued a pilgrim Testimonium by the Christian Information Centre, Jaffa Gate, Old City of Jerusalem. I was directed there by a priest in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and later went back to show it to him. He was delighted despite being surrounded by a throng of clamouring visitors. I’m rather proud of this Testimonium. There may be other issuers of pilgrim Testimoniums in the Old City.

I thanks God for directing my steps toward Jerusalem and keeping me from the hands of every foe.

I intend to publish a detailed account of my pilgrimage (from start to finish), once I get over the shock of not having a future pilgrimage destination to look forward to.

N.B. The crosses are symbolic of those significant cities along my route: London, Canterbury, Vatican City, Jerusalem.


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