Monday, October 25, 2010

More pictures

Was working on these when they called our plane to board. I thought I had published them but guess I saved them instead. Oh well, kinda anxious to get headed home! :-)

I have a few more to post but gotta get over jet lag first!
My foot on 2000 year old rock in the tunnel near the Western Wall
In the tunnel near the Western Wall
From the Mt. of Olives
From Mt. of Olives
From Mt. of Olives
One of the gates on the Wall around the Temple Mount
Western Wall on Sabbath
Steps where Peter probably preached the Pentecost Sermon. Plenty of purification pools for the baptism of the 3,000 save on that day.
Steps Jesus climbed after his arrest when the soldiers took him to Caiphas' house.
Old City shopping

Some Pictures

Jordan River
Bet Shean - city mount where Saul's and Jonathan's bodies were hung on the city wall. Huge ruins of the Roman city. This is the hill I did NOT climb.
What a field trip!
Ben on the pot in the communal latrine!!

Soloman's Pillars
One hand on creation rock layer - one hand on flood layer
Replica Tabernacle

Going down into the copper mine.

Going in
Inside on my knees

Long walk to the Ammonite Wall
Showing how big the shells were deposited by the flood in mass
Dead Sea

Going Up To Jerusalem!!

It was dark when we got to Jerusalem and you may remember that Jerusalem is on a hill. As we were getting close, Joanna (guide) put on some music. The Holy City was playing and we were all singing along. The driver was driving rather slowly and we entered a long tunnel. Just as the song got to the part about the New Jerusalem ,we emerged from a long tunnel to see Jerusalem open up before us. I was not expecting the emotion that welled up inside of me Ben felt it as well. The next song played was Holy Ground and again we all sang along. It was a very moving experience

Masada, EnGdei, Qumeran

Thursday, we went to Masada, the last Jewish hold-out against the Romans way back when.. Masada had been fortified and expanded during Herod the Great. Took a cable car up to the top.
Springs of En Gedi the next stop - where David hid in caves when Saul was trying to kill him. There was quite a climb to the top. Ben didn’t try it and I’m glad because it was very rough going. Falls were quite nice though.
Then we went to Qumeran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.
Then we went to Abraham’s tent for dinner. They had camels for those who wanted a brief ride. I did not ride because I’d ridden a camel in India. Dinner was indeed in a tent and we sat on cushions on the floor.
Then we headed for Jerusalem. We checked into the hotel and left again at 8:15 to go to the Western Wall and the underground tunnel. Another moving experience. Had a fabulous guide from Philadelphia originally. I am learning so much!!
It had been a very long, hot day and we didn’t get back from the tunnel until 11:00. Didn’t take me long to shower and hit the bed.

Dead Sea and Desert

This trip is not your typical trip to Israel, Before the trip is over we will have covered Israel border to border, North, South, East and West! Of course, this was not a typical trip anyway because we had a archeologist with us to better understand Creation and the evidence of the flood.
It has been unusually hot this month. Temperatures have been over 100 and walking in the desert you can feel every degree!
So, here are the highlights.
At the Jordan River, one pastor baptized several from his church and a few more from our group. Did I mention there are 90 people on the trip and Texans have the largest group?
A note about the borders. Israel is about the size of New Jersey. Now picture New Jersey as a country and the surrounding states as other countries where there is always tension and sometimes a threat of war. How would you like to live in New Jersey with unfriendly people living just across your borders? How would you like to live on the state line? Put a new perspective on things to me!
Stopped at Beth Shean. In our Bible Study this fall on David, this is the city where Saul’s and Jonathan’s bodies were hung on the city wall. Cities built then w ere built on huge mounds of dirt - Defense system. Called the City Mount. Some of our group climbed to the top but it was many steps and it was VERY hot. This is a huge excavation!
Today was an “easy” day because it was very hot. We got to the hotel about 4:00 and went directly to the Dead Sea. It gets dark about 5:00 - sun sets early. In the desert there is no moisture, no clouds and no rain to wash the dust out of the air. Doesn’t affect breathing but the horizon is hazy.
The Dead Sea was terrific even if I only stayed in a little while. Ben did not go in but took pictures. Hotel had a private beach. I walked into the water up to my thighs then sat down in the water, spread my arms, leaned back and up popped my legs! I would push my legs down but the minute I relaxed, they popped back up like corks. Funny! I paddled around awhile. There is no way to explain it, you have to experience it. When you want to get up, you really have to force your legs under and get your upper body directly over your legs before you can stand up. I wondered how many people might have to have help doing that! Skin did feel quite oily afterwards. It was quite a walk from the hotel to the beach and I was wearing my crocs and my feet were oily and kept slipping around in the crocs!
Wednesday was our Wilderness Day. We had a lot of driving to do and a lot of walking in the desert to several sites.
Began at Timna Park in South Israel about 60 miles from Egypt. It was here that creation layer granite with no marine fossils can be seen with sandstone with fossils (flood layer) on top. Of course there is a whole long explanation by Dr. Snelling both on the buses (he switches so we all get the same information and at the sites themselves. And by the way, this exact formation is found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon - half a world away!
We then visited a exact replica of the tabernacle. This was an amazing experience. It was much smaller than I had imagined (of course it did have to be portable!) The lady gave a marvelous talk. We were able t0 go all though the tabernacle and I must admit to a moment of hesitation when I got to the Holy of Holies!
Then we drove to an area where copper had been mined hundreds of years ago. Had the opportunity to crawl, yes, crawl through a mine. Mostly it was a duck walk but for a few yards I was on my knees. I got some pics at my level and Ben got me going in and coming out! Neat experience!
Then to the Ammonite Wall where they have discovered a place where a huge mass of large marine animals were rapidly buried during the flood.
Then drove to a Maktesh - you’ll have to ask me for an explanation of that. Think Grand Canyon but it’s not a canyon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day Two

It only seems like we have been here a week. They are really keeping us going. Today from 8:00 - 7:00 - got back just in time for dinner. Hope we have the stamina to keep up. It's a SMALL country - how can it take so long? LOL

Some digressions: God is sooo good. I took my notebook out of my pocket to make notes on the boat on Galilee. Israeli Folk Dancing started so I put it down on the seat. Got back to the room and couldn't find it. Figured I left it on the bus. Not a real big deal - just hoped I could remember it all. Mentioned it to our guide and she said there was a notebook on the bus. I really couldn't see it slipping out of my pocket but I guess it did - unless someone else lost their notebook. (sure hope it's mine!)

Lunch was provided - Falafel again and chicken grilled on a stick. Soooo good. Served water and asked if we wanted coke or something. I had a sneaky suspicion it was extra and I was right. A regular small bottle of coke was $3!! Oh well, lesson learned. Things are pretty expensive here. Little magnets - plastic, cheap looking are $5 but that was at a "gift shop" Hoping I can make some deals in Jerusalem.

This blog and pics may be all over the place.

View outside our hotel on the Sea of Galilee

Our first stop was the Mount where Jesus gave the Beatitudes. Matthew 5 was read and we were sitting around on rocks. It was really neat to try and picture ourselves sitting listening to Jesus as we looked over the Sea of Galilee.

Stopped at another excavation of the City of Hazor then drove on to Cesearea Philippi. Saw some excavations there and had lunch at a Lebanese Restaurant.

Ben caught me writing my notes! :-)
Had to throw this one in. We were on the board of Lebanon and there were signs on the fences (we were on the bus of course) warning of mines in the fields!
We were close enough to the Syrian border Ben got a shot of the city flying the Syrian flag.

This is the UN base on the Israeli/Syrian border. Since the Disengagement Contract or Treaty in the 70's, this has been the most peaceful Israeli border. We have yet to see any soldiers with guns although we have been told we will probably see some.

Our guide was in High School during the period of suicide bombers several years ago and said she remembered times when they were suspicious of anyone in a large overcoat and sometimes wondered whether they really wanted to get on a bus after school. Cannot imagine living in times like that.

This was powerful to me. We sat inside the synagogue at Capernaum. This was a synagogue built in about 400 A.D. but it was built on the site of the synagogue where Jesus was. Just sitting in there listening to our guide, I could picture the service where Jesus read the passage out of Isaiah and said "Today this scripture has been fulfilled" Wow!

Now, I thought about this before we left on the trip but many times we visit places where historical things have happened or famous people have lived like Mount Vernon or Monticello and I don't think we go through places like that thinking "Wow. George Washington walked on these floors!" "Abraham Lincoln lived here" but for believers, being in the land where Jesus walked is so meaningful. And of course, being on the Sea of Galilee where so many things happened was powerful. I just really wish we could have sailed in the daytime rather than night. However, it would have really been hot.

Side note: It has really been warm, bordering on hot for Texans. Weather is much warmer than normal for this time of year. Several have mentioned that on this trip. :-) But skies are blue and weather is really great. Bus air-conditioning works great!!

At the beginning of the sail on the Sea of Galilee, they reaised the US flag and we sang the National Anthem. Then they sang the Israel National Anthem.

The guides on the boat sang for us and talked us a folk dance.

Tomorrow another full day I'm sure (which is what we paid for, right?) :-) We will be at a hotel at the Dead Sea for two nights.

We'll see if I can find Internet (hopefully free) again on the trip. If so, you'll hear from me. If not, I know I'll have Internet at the airport and can post before we leave to go home.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Too Funny

I'm sitting in the lobby online. Others are too but I guess they had a problem because some aren't on and they're coming over and saying "Are you on?" I think there's a problem with them but those who can't get on are frustrated. Here are all these Americans in Israel, sitting in the lobby trying to get onlin to check email, etc. :-)

Can meet a lot of interesting people this way! LOL

Sunday Worship

Forgot to mention that we had Sunday Worship in the ampitheater at Cesearea. How cool was that? Singing and a message from Acts. Wow!!!

Israel - beginning

Well, we made it to Israel. Long overseas flights get longer the older we get! Because it was Sabbath, minimal work was done before sundown so we didn't get our room until after 8:00. Got to the hotel about 5:00 - had dinner and a meeting - then got our room. We actually got a room by the pool first but there was a mixup so they had to give us another room and we ended up with a HUGE room. Any hotel room that has a hallway is HUGE! :-) Plus a balcony. Bad thing is we were only there for one night! :-)
Buffet first night - They are feeding us VERY WELL. This is just the salad bar. Then there is the hot food bar with 3-4 meats and the dessert table has 5 or more desserts to choose from. Yum! Today at lunch we had a Falafel. Kinda sandwich in a pita bread. Tasty. Of course, a salad table at breakfast is a little unusual for us.
Our room! :-) You can see the balcony - large enough to walk around and have a table and two chairs!
On the hotel promanade. We don't look like we've been up for over 24 hours do we? (Looks are deceiving!)

View from our balcony! Mediterrean Sea

Ampitheater at Cesearea.

Remains of govenor's palace at Cesearea.

Then we stopped by Mt. Carmel where there were some caves that had been excavated since we have an archeologist. and part of this tour has to do with archeology. In fact that we the big selling point for this tour. Climbed up 100 steps to the cave.
Took this one just for Jill because she loves cactus. You can't really tell but the leaves are HUGE.

After Cesearea we went to Meggido - excavation site of that city. Saw the Jezrell Valley also called Har Meggido (Mount Meggido) where Armageddon came from. Took a movie of the Valley.
They had figured out a way to bring water into the city from the spring outside. We walked down, down, down into the water system.

The way down.

I caught Ben in a rare shot!

Of course, he caught me, too!

Then we drove through Nazareth and Cana. They pronounce the words differently that we do. We apply American Phonics and sometimes it take a minute to figure out what she's saying. Our Isreali guide is Joanna.

There are 90 - count them NINETY - on this tour. Two busses. Wow! So far everything has gone very smoothly. There are people here from many, many states. At least 4 couples are from Texas. I think we have the most! :-) A little larger....OK, a LOT larger than we like and are used to but we are surviving. I leave Ben behind and stay with the guide so I can hear what she is saying for my notes. Ben stays behind and takes pictures. Oh.....and when I downloaded the pictures tonight, we had BOTH taken exactly 127 pictures!! LOL

I was sooo excited that this hotel offers free internet so I will make another post tomorrow and have pictures from the cruise on the Seal of Galilee among other things.

We got our exercise today! Ben's left knee is doing well. Right knee and feet are hurting. Tomorrow should be an easier day. Looking forward to another good night's sleep tonight!!