Sunday, June 29, 2008

Touring Israel

So we arrived in Tel Aviv just as the sun was setting, having seen sunrise over the Atlantic just a few hours before, which was pretty strange. It was a couple hours by bus to the kibbutz where we're staying, and even though it was morning at home, I was exhausted and went to bed as quickly as possible.

The next morning we set out on a tour of the Galilee. I was amused by the title on the side of our bus - "Nazarene Express". It made me think of the Pony Express, and I had a bizarre mental picture of Jesus zipping by on a galloping donkey...

Anyway, it's about 20 minutes from the kibbutz, by bus, up the side of the mountain, and then it's a 15 minute hike up to the top from there. We saw lots of interesting things - mine field warning signs, tomb-caves, a sarcophagus, and the remains of a Roman road, which took us into the "downtown" part of the city.

Anyway, this is one of the ruined churches on Hippos, and behind it is the hall where we eat breakfast - it's a more modern structure that was built by the Israelis sometime in the last century.

Tomorrow I'll post photos of the section of Hippos I'm digging in - I'm too tired to even dig out my camera at the moment!

After our tour of Hippos, we went to Kursi, which is a site that commemorates the casting of the demons into the swine. Said event may or may not have happened there, but a monastery was built there, and is now an interesting set of ruins. Kursi is also home to the largest aloe vera plant I've ever seen...

Then we went on to Capernaum, which is mentioned in the Bible quite often. There is a church there built over ruins of a church built over ruins of what is supposedly St. Peter's house. Again, that may or may not be the case, but it's a beautiful site right on the lake. We ran into a few hundred Anglican tourists there - part of a conference that was happening in Jerusalem. It was crowded, but pretty cool to see so many Bishops in one place!

After that we went to Tabgha, which is the site that commemorates the feeding of the five thousand. There's a church built around the rock that Jesus laid the loaves and fishes on... I don't know about that, but the church has beautiful mosaics and was really interesting to see

For our last stop we went to a more modern church which is built on a hill overlooking the lake, and it commemorates the sermon on the mount. It was pretty windy up there - my hat took off and I had to go chasing after it. That was pretty exciting... Then we went back to the kibbutz, and was starving, so I ended up going off and finding dinner on my own. I've never been overseas before, never mind navigating a foreign restaurant all by myself, so that was an adventure. You know how when you go to a lot of places they give you bread or something to tide you over till the food comes? I was served bite-sized peices of deep fried pita, and wasn't even sure was it was at first...thanfully the waitress' English wasn't too bad!

Today we got up at 4 am and heading up for our first day of digging. I did kill a scorpion - without any screaming, I might add... I also found some pottery shards, bruised my hands using a big hoe, got to know some pretty cool people, and went for a swim in the Sea of Galilee with said cool people. It's been a good day, but I am all done in...time to read and possibly nap before an evening church service by the lake...awesome!

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1 comment:

Simon said...

so did you use the knife I gave you for the scorpion??