I enjoyed these Thursday evenings very much; they always lent variety to my daily existence. Peter and Sam wanted me to experience Egypt and “The Holy Land” of Palestine. I wanted this too, but I realised that it had to wait until I had finished “Livets Bog”.
In the autumn of 1961 I was ready to accept their friendly offer of a trip to Egypt and Palestine. And on 12 October we flew with SAS to Egypt.
We landed in the evening at Cairo airport, where a stewardess asked us if we wanted a guide. She knew “Egypt’s best guide”, who was called Ali Muhamed. He was a 50-year-old Egyptian, the sheik of the nearby town of Mena with 10,000 inhabitants. He worked for SAS and could speak a little Danish.
Now he found rooms for each of us at the hotel Mena House, which is half-an-hour’s drive from Cairo. The hotel is situated only a couple of hundred metres from the Cheops pyramid, the Sphinx and two smaller pyramids. But since it was now completely dark we could not see anything.
However, early the next morning I got up and went out onto the balcony, and now I saw the sun rising behind the gigantic Cheops pyramid. It was a wonderful sight. We enjoyed our breakfast in the hotel garden surrounded by lush palm trees.
Then Ali, our guide, arrived with three camels. He thought that we should start the day with a ride round the Great Pyramid. We were not used to riding camels but luckily they were three quiet, peaceful animals. They knelt when one wanted to mount them and sit between the two humps.
After the ride we, of course, had to see the inside of the pyramid, of course. Many years ago an entrance had been found that led to the long, steep corridor, which, via an enormous number of steps, ends in the King’s Chamber in the middle of the pyramid. The only thing in the King’s Chamber now is a black granite sarcophagus.
Was this sarcophagus used for royal burials?
No, that’s a misunderstanding. It has never been used as a coffin. The common opinion about the pyramid is that it was built by the Egyptian king Cheops, who lived in Memphis around the year 2800 B.C. But this is quite wrong. The pyramid is actually 80,000 – 90,000 years old; it was built by means of spiritual forces for use during the initiation of the future pharaohs.
It was only those pharaoh-candidates who were spiritually the strongest who could resist the many mental trials that they experienced within the pyramid.
The pyramid was built in prehistoric times by a brotherhood or community of initiated people who came here from other more highly developed planets in order to assist in the forming of human civilisation here on Earth. They built the pyramid by psychic power, by a kind of materialisation or projection of the atoms of the substance.
When the candidate for initiation, after many difficulties and dangers in the lower subterranean corridors and caves, had finally reached the Queen’s Chamber and had gone through the initiations there, he could ascend to the King’s Chamber, where the great decisive trial awaited him. He was laid in the stone coffin and, by means of magical and hypnotic powers emanating from the adepts who were in charge of the initiation, his spirit (or I) was liberated from his physical organism for a while and, in the spiritual world, he was initiated into some of the secrets of the universe.
||The sphinx and the pyramids were only a few hundred metres from our hotel.
|Ali, our guide, thought that we whould start our day with a ride around the great pyramid
||In the middle of Cheops pyramid lies the King’s Chamber with its granite sarcophague.
|We saw some of Cairo’s monumental mosques and other attractions.
||On our way home from Egypt and Palestine we visited Athens and Rome, where we saw the Coliseum and St. Peter’s.
If he thereafter was able to return to his physical body fully conscious of, and remembering, what he had experienced he was regarded as an initiate and entrusted the task of being king or leader of the rising generation.
In a vision I saw how the pyramid looked in those days. It was shining white, for its sides were covered with a hard porcelain-like material. Today there is desert around the pyramid, but in my vision there was a fertile oasis with lush palm trees.
As we were to go on to Palestine, we could stay in Egypt only for 3 – 4 days but all the same we managed to see a mass of interesting things, first and foremost Cairo’s great national museum of Egyptian archaeology, which contains most of the great grave finds.
And, still with Ali as our guide, we visited some of Cairo’s monumental mosques and in the Arab quarter we went through an oriental district of narrow, colourful bazaar streets thronged with people. And in a kind of gondola on our final evening we had a beautiful sail on the Nile.
But we were to travel on. Bidding Ali a heartfelt farewell, we flew from Cairo airport over the Sinai Peninsula and Mount Sinai, where Moses was given the tablets with the Ten Commandments on them.
After an hour’s flight we landed at Jerusalem airport in Jordan. At that time the city was divided by a wall between Jordan and Israel. We stayed at a cosy little hotel on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It belonged to a small Arabic family, and the host himself served lovely vegetarian food for us every day. In the evening there was a curfew because of the tense situation between Jordan and Israel, so we had to keep indoors after dark.
We stayed in Jordan for five days. Here too we found a charming guide; he was Armenian and showed us round many of the Biblical sights and holy places. We went to the River Jordan and saw the place where John the Baptist, according to tradition, baptised Jesus.
We went to the church at Bethlehem, Isaac’s grave, the Garden of Gethsemane and many other places.
Near the Garden of Gethsemane was the house of Caiaphas. Here we saw the deep cellars where Jesus was whipped.
From there we walked through the Valley of Kedron by the Via Dolorosa (The Road of Pain) to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is situated within the city wall.
As the name suggests, this church is said to have been built over Jesus’ grave, but there are various reasons to doubt that this is the right place. Several different sects each own their part of this church and they all want to make as much profit as possible from the tourists. Our guide told us that they often quarrel with one another. Sometimes, especially during the religious festivals when there are thousands of pilgrims and visitors, they can even come to blows. It shouldn’t be like that in such a holy place. The spiritual atmosphere wasn’t as good as one might have expected.
From here our guide took us to the Garden of Peace outside the old city wall. This garden was filled with beautiful flowers and there was quite a different peaceful and elevated atmosphere here. Many are of the opinion that it was really here that Jesus was buried.
The place was discovered around 1880 by the English General Gordon, who was also an archaeologist. He couldn’t understand that it could be right that Golgotha (also known as Calvary) was inside the city wall. He noticed that a couple of hundred metres from this there was a high, round hill, rather like a skull in shape, and he knew that the name Golgotha meant “skull”. He began to dig in this place. At the foot of the hill three burial places had been dug out. Science has been able to prove that a corpse had lain in only one of them.
Silently we walked into this burial place, feeling deeply moved by its atmosphere. Our road from the Garden of Gethsemane to Golgotha had come to an end.
In front of the burial place there was a stone furrow in which a large stone, like a millstone, had been used to roll in front of the grave. Inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre we had seen such a stone, which perhaps really belongs in the Garden of Peace.
We also went up on the Samaritans’ holy mountain, Garizim, where the Arc of the Covenant disappeared. And one afternoon we visited Mount Nebo from where Moses beheld the Promised Land, and where he later died. Up here there was a monastery; a monk showed us round.
When we later drove down the stony road from Mount Nebo I thought that our driver was in too much of a hurry. He wanted to get home before dark, and this was the reason for his very hazardous driving. I didn’t feel safe in this situation; we all wanted, naturally, to get home again safe and sound. But just when my uneasiness reached its peak something happened that immediately made my nervousness disappear. In a vision I saw a tall, shining figure, dressed in a long robe walking along the road in front of the car. I was the only one who could see the figure, and the remarkable thing was that, despite the fact that the figure moved at a slow and stately pace, it was all the time a little in front of the car.
I now understood that we were protected; we then got safely back to our hotel.
On our fifth and last day in Jordan our guide thought that we should experience something out of the ordinary. He suggested that we took a whole-day trip to the ancient ruined city of Petra, which lies 100 kilometres to the south of the Dead Sea.
To go so far we had to get up very early in the morning. We went in a large taxi and had both a driver and a guide with us. After a little over an hour’s drive we reached the capital Amman, where we topped up the taxi’s petrol tank.
From there we travelled south through extensive desert areas. Some scattered Bedouin camps were about the only things we saw on the 200-kilometre-long desert road.
When we were a little more than 7 kilometres from Petra the car stopped at a large Bedouin camp, and we were told the road for cars didn’t go any further. The last stretch was to be covered on horseback. We were not prepared for this, and I wasn’t particularly happy about the situation.
The Bedouin here lived on renting out horses to tourists going to Petra. I saw that they had at least 40 rather small Arab horses.
We discussed the matter. None of us was used to riding, it was the middle of the day and the sun was burning hot.
We agreed that we had to try to manage the last bit of the road now that we had taken so long to come so far. There was no way round it – we had each to climb onto and ride our horses.
We made up quite a little caravan. The guide rode in front, then the driver. Then came Peter followed by me and, behind me, Sam and two Bedouin boys on a donkey with our provisions. A Bedouin walked in front of each horse holding it by the reins.
We were somewhat tired when we finally reached the ruined city. The last kilometre went through a ravine with high cliffs on each side.
Now we could at last get off the horses and admire this interesting ancient city. It had been the capital of the Arabic tribe, the Nabateans, who flourished in the centuries before and after the time of Christ. Here there are many ruins from the early Roman Empire, among other things a temple of Isis and an amphitheatre hewn out of the cliffs. Our guide showed us around and finally we found a place where we could sit in the shade and eat the food we had brought with us. After that we climbed back on our horses and covered the 7 kilometres to the Bedouin camp where our taxi was waiting for us.
We were satiated with impressions when we arrived back at the hotel late in the evening.
Our time in Jordan was now over and we bade a heartfelt farewell to our obliging hotelier and his staff.
Now we were to experience Israel.
Our guide took us to the border of “No-Man’s Land”. For the Arabs, Israel was white on the map; they would not acknowledge that the country existed.
From here we walked with our suitcases almost half a kilometre to the Israeli frontier outpost, and now we were in Israel – in the Israeli part of Jerusalem.
After we had rested for a few hours in the garden of the King David Hotel, we travelled by train to Haifa, where we stayed for a couple of days. And from here we made excursions to Nazareth, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee and several other Biblical places.
When we had four days left of our holiday we flew to Athens, where we saw the Acropolis and other monuments of Ancient Greece.
And finally we went to Rome, where we visited St. Peter’s, the Coliseum, the Roman forum and the catacombs.
Then we flew home to Copenhagen. It was good to come back safely from this eventful journey. I often think of it. Our wonderful experiences have become gold copies in my consciousness.”