Thursday, 3 May 2012

For more information, ask wikipedia

Hello from Tiberias, Israel! It's only 10pm here, yet it feels as if it's much much later, as we were out and busy from 8am this morning. And boy, has it been a busy day. As I sit here in my new hotel room, my head simply aches from trying to remember where we were today and what I tried to mentally store to remember to write here. I do have a notebook in my backpack which I've scribbled somewhat in, but I was so preoccupied trying to take in the environment around me that writing was mostly pushed to the side. We're staying in Tiberias for two nights, which is much more organized for me so hopefully I'll have time to clear my brain and get focused. This post might be quite long, as we experienced so much today.

The day started out in Netanya, where yesterdays post was written from. An early wake up and a delicious breakfast sped by and before we knew it, we were on the bus and on the road to Ceasarea, A man named Grant Bowles spoke to us for a bit of a morning devotion, mentioning both how Mt. Carmel (a destination for the day) was the setting for Elijah, and how it demonstrated an amazing amount of faith. Mickey taught us a Hebrew song, which included the word "hodu" or simply, Thank You. Time for one of those Mickey-isms: "There are two ways to learn Hebrew: first, marry a local. Second: join the Israeli forces. Eventually you'll need Hebrew though, because that's the language of Heaven. This is good though, because it does take an eternity to learn it!" Mickey is such a funny and knowledgable man.

After a twenty minute drive, we arrived in Ceasarea, an archaeological park named after (obviously) Caesar. It's a New Testament site, and was the capital when the Romans ruled this part of the world.  Mickey told us that living in Caesarea is very expensive, and compared it to living somewhere like Malibu in the United States. I'm not quite sure about that, because from what I saw, there was nothing special about the homes. I presume the price comes from the location, right on the water. We left Caesarea and drove for a short while to the aqueduct, which was beautiful to take pictures in front of - but as we only had a "Five Minute Kodak Moment" we were quite rushed, and before anytime at all we were back on the bus and headed to Mt. Carmel.

Mt. Carmel, as a Canadian, is not a mountain, but simply a large hill. The bus ride from the bottom to the top took not very long, and we stopped at the very top at a sanctuary and monastery called Muhraqa. After climbing to the top of the building, we had a beautiful view of the Armageddon Valley. I don't have much to say about this because I'm not brushed up on my book of Revelations, but this is where the final battle is to take place, and there will be so much blood it'll be above the horses legs. For more information ... I'm sure wikipedia or the Bible can be of assistance there.

From there we made our way to have lunch in a Druze restaurant, which was quite good. Here we made two friends, Carolyn and Mary, women from North Carolina. They were quite nice. We left the Druze village to head for Megiddo, and to the National Park to look at an archaeological site and climb down 180 stairs, through a water tunnel, and then back up. Grandmother and I were the quickest, and had to wait for the rest of the people to get through before Grandfather submerged. Here we learned about some of the natural vegetation of the land - most of which isn't actually natural.

Cows here in Israel moo A LOT. Just thought I'd mention that, because it seemed everywhere we walked in Megiddo there was a cow moo-ing at me. Maybe they know I don't like them, and they were taunting me.

We left Megiddo and drove to Nazareth, the childhood home of Jesus. We visited a museum type land that had many reconstructed architectural aspects of the land. I didn't enjoy this as much as I had hoped - it seemed very in-genuine, but the girl was full of information, which made up for it. It just seemed very .. Pioneer Village? People in costumes, reconstructed buildings, and whatnot. But it was interesting and informational nonetheless!

We left Nazareth and headed to our final destination and location for the next two nights, Tiberias. Holy heck is this hotel nice! I watched the sunset on the Sea of Galilee while the Grandparents unpacked, and then we had a delicious dinner. I talked with a man named Darell from California, who must be in his late 60s/early 70s, who has not only a history undergrad but then a law degree. He gave me some valuable advice, and it was nice to get to know some of the people here on the trip with us.

Well, it's taken nearly 40 minutes to figure out what we did today and write this. Time to shower (which has many little flies in it so I'll have to play exterminator first) and then sleep - another busy and full day starting at 6am again tomorrow. For those of you who have made it this far into the blog post, I'll leave you with a joke Mickey told us today: "1/3 of the Israeli population works, 1/3 pays taxes and 1/3 are in the forces. They all happen to be the same 1/3."

Ceasarea - that place way out there looks so old and nice. When you get close, it's a Sushi restaurant 

The Aqueduct - Ceasarea

Armageddon Valley - Megiddo


The sun setting in Tiberias, over the Sea of Galilee

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