|Day 6||Free Day|
Today I have had a glimpse of what all this is about.
There was no formal programme for the day so four of us were the guests of one of the staff of the World Centre for the day. After walking down 686 steps (or was it 586?—it's difficult to keep count.) I arrived at the Pilgrim House full of anticipation. At 10.30 we set off for 'Akká.
There has been a lot of work done in the city to try to make it more attractive to visitors but much of the old town must be similar to how it was when Bahá'u'lláh was here. Because we are not on a guided tour, we are free to wander around and are able to view the back of the Sea Gate (which does not have any "Coca- Cola" signs!). We wandered through the town and past fascinating shops selling spices, and selling everyday items like shoes etc. The streets are narrow and crowded, a contrast from the previous day. We stop to eat in a local cafe (20NIS + 4 for a drink). It is clean and the food is well prepared. Satisfied, we wandered back through the streets to the car and drove on to Bahjí.
I cannot describe the feeling of being able to pray at the Shrine. For 1½ to 2 hours I sat amongst the other pilgrims in solid personal prayer, and reading the prayers of Bahá'u'lláh. My one regret is that it is not possible to circumambulate the Shrine, at least not in the way one can with the Shrine of the Báb. I can only hope that my prayers will be answered. But it is mentally exhausting and by the time I came out, I was ready to collapse into a comfortable chair in the Pilgrim House. We drove back to Haifa, the pretty way, in threatening rain (though it did hold off).
In the morning, before going to 'Akká, I had briefly visited the Shrine of the Báb but, as it was open to visitors, was only able to read the Tablet of Visitation. This evening I decided to go back and this time was able to circumambulate the Shrine and pray at the threshold, but not for long. I am tired and find it difficult to concentrate. And then, once again, I circumambulate the Shrines and pray at the Shrine of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Once more I pray to the Lord that my prayers will be answered, but I am so tired that I cannot stay for long and return to the Pilgrim House.
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