Then we’re all off for some final shopping in Mardin's colorful markets, this time exploring those down the hill below the main street, especially busy today because this is the second day of the four day Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.
Finally we make our way back to the cay and baklavas café for another sweet indulgence. The lads there are so pleased to see us back. We have a wonderful welcome and sad good bye as we must not be late for the coach taking us to catch our flight at Mardin airport to Istanbul and thence to Heathrow and home.
One day I will go back to this region to further explore the many treasures it has to offer. There was so much we could not see or do in the time available to us, whether as pilgrims or as tourists. I pray that the Christian communities in this beautiful part of Turkey will continue to flourish. There are mixed signs, but overall I believe there is hope.
Hope is far more than that. It is a firmly held conviction that it is worth taking action to improve something; and it is grounded in spirituality and faith.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said: ‘I've never been an optimist. I've always been a man of hope - I am a prisoner of hope…hope holds on even when things are seemingly doomed and dark.’ ‘We must,’ said Martin Luther King, ‘accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.’
|A rare photograph of the photographer - at Dara|
Finally I would like to thank both McCabe Pilgrimages and Southwark Diocese who made this possible for me.