Tuesday, 12 June 2012


Its fascinating hearing myself reply to the variations of "how was your holiday"?

For a start it didn't feel like a holiday at the time and even more so now on my return.  It was draining but then I expected it to be.  However, I still feel like I want to grumpily refute the contention that it was a holiday.  Yes - I got on a plane.  Yes - I stayed in lovely hotels in great locations.  Yes - I visited a lot of special sites, some more tourist-y than others. But I never once saw it as a holiday, nor did it feel like one.

The other popular question is did you enjoy it more than last time?  The answer to that is quite simple... there is no way that I can compare the two.  One was virtually all new and fresh.  The other was mostly familiar.  The two groups I travelled with were similar, with some common pilgrims but even so the dynamics were different.

So it was a pilgrimage, definitely not a holiday, and it was not comparable with the previous trip.

The next question is invariably "what was best"?  Now that one has caused me to chew it over even more.  All sorts of ideas came to mind but only one stuck there.  The best part of the last few days were the "A" team.  Our driver, Riyadh, and our guide Khalil.  They both made our journey so special and so illuminating.  Yet both were - are - Muslims... however, there was not one person on our journey who didn't agree with that evaluation.

Pilgrimages are about journeys and the companions we find along the way.  Often it is those people, those friends who make or break the journey.  The "A" team made it and were undoubtedly were the best feature!

By the way - the physical unpacking of clothes and other sundry bits - still has to be attacked but that will eventually get done once I get back home - to Norwich...

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