|Day 7||Visit to the Monument Gardens and the Temple Land|
Another day! In every way it gets better and better, though I have to admit that in my exhaustion I feel that I am more of a tourist than a pilgrim.
This morning we visited the site of the future Bahá'í Temple on the top of the mountain, 300m above the city of Haifa, back there down in the bay. There was read the Tablet of Carmel (which is the manifesto for the work being undertaken on Mount Carmel), but it is noisy and it is difficult to appreciate the peaceful atmosphere here. The obelisk at the site, and a duplicate one, will be incorporated into the overall design.
And then it is back to the bus and we are driven down Hatzionut, through the newly lowered road to enter the Monument Gardens. [Aside: I am told that before the Bahá'ís started work on lowering the road by some 6m, there were about six accidents a day by the corner of Shifra Street. Since the work started, there had been none.]
It is difficult to capture the atmosphere of the gardens due to the noise of traffic and the building work around us. But we try our best. Visiting first the Shrine of Munhírih Khánum and then Mírzá Mihdí and the Greatest Holy leaf. Unless one calls out the prayer and the readings, they cannot be heard above the noise. Once again, all too soon, we return to the Pilgrim House. There being no formal activity for the rest of the day, Brynhild (with whom I have shared this Pilgrimage and who is like a sister to me) and I walk down to the Templar colony, by way of the House of ‘Abdu'l-Bahá, and then down Ben Gurion Street. The view up the mountain is just amazing. Even though only a few of the terraces are complete, the image is there and one can almost see the final effect. We seek out the Templar house with the words "Der Herr ist nahe. 1876" inscribed over the front door. If only they had known how "nahe" He was!
And then having visited the ATM and booked sheruts for our return to Tel Aviv, we take the cable car up the mountain to the top of Carmel. We have a shwarmi and cheesecake and cappuccino and fall in love with the two sweet little cats who keep the floor of the falafel shop clean. We visit Avraham Ohana, small shop for "souvenirs". Brynhild and Avraham had a great time together as he knew the kibbutz where she had worked years ago. Then, after picking up some of my photographs, we head back down 700+ steps, back to Puah Street and then on to the Pilgrim House. Although I am thoroughly dehydrated, I am drawn into the central room to listen to Mr Furútan talking informally to the Pilgrims. This man is so gentle and he comes to the Pilgrim House every night, just to talk and reminisce. He is an inspiration to us all, and an example.