Sunday, June 13, 2010


Today was stinking HOT!

We got up and left Abu gosh at around 5 and drove back to Neve Shalom to meet our group. It was fun being on the highway with just Adam driving through Israel. We picked up our group and headed to the Galilee. Instead of going straight up we went down into the West Bank and drove up the Jordan Valley, which was very very neat. Its dry there and there are fences that border the west bank as well as no mans land between Jordan and Israel. However, we got to see Jericho on the way and the possible site for Sodom.

First stop in the Galilee was the Jesus Boat Museum. The ones who had never been went in and the rest of us went about a mile down the road to Midgala….home to Mary Magedelene. We took pictures and looked around outside the fence not wanting to pay the 25 shekels each to get in. Then we all want to Tagba and Capernaum. Unlike this year there were only 15 of us, instead of 60 so we were able to see lots more, talk about the things we were looking at and spend more time at each site. The Galilee felt good but it was a very foggy day so we couldn’t see into Tiberius or across the sea.

Next we went to Korzim, a city nestled in the hills to the west of the Galilee. There was an old basalt synagogue there and several micfahs. On the way there we passed the Mount of Beattitudes. After Korzim we headed to Hatzor and on the way stopped for lunch. Most of the restaurants in Israel are connected to a gas station, so you have to drive quite a ways to get both gas and food. We ate at a place connected to a gas station and had VERY GOOD falafel. They stuffed it full of friend chick pea balls, veggies, hummus and this yogurt sauce. I couldn’t even finish mine.

From there we went to Hatzor, Adam and I passed on going back in since we went last year and this year we only bought a 6 Tel Pass. We wanted to save our pass for some more Tels that we have never visited. After Hatzor we headed to Tel Dan, my personal favorite from last year. The water there was ice cold and we could have stayed there all day. Several families were at the springs playing in the water and having picnics. We revisited everything from last year but this time had one of our professors giving tours so we got much better information than last year :).

From Tel Dan we went to my new favorite place, Nimrod’s fortress. You can see the fortress for miles, its perched high in the Golan Heights and has three large towers. We only had an hour before the park closed to tour the fortress so we booked up several flights of stairs and uphill pathways to see as much as we could. The fortress was built around 1229 by Al-Aziz Uthma. It was named Qala'at al-Subeiba, "Castle of the Large Cliff" in Arabic. It was further expanded to contain the whole ridge by 1230, and Baibars strengthened it and added larger towers after 1260. The castle was given to Baibars's second-on-command, Bilik. At the end of the 13th century, following the Muslim conquest of the port city of Akko (Acre) and the end of Crusader rule in the Holy Land, the fortress lost strategic value and fell into disrepair.After the Ottoman Turks conquered the land in 1517, they used the fortress as a luxury prison for Ottoman nobles who had been exiled to Palestine. The fortress was abandoned later in the 16th century and only local shepherds and their flocks were temporary guests within its walls.The fortress was ruined by an earthquake in the 18th century.The Jews called it Nimrod Fortress after Nimrod, a biblical figure who according to tradition had lived on the summit:

And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord. (Genesis 10:8-9)

On the way up to the keep one of our professors saw a Viper, the same as the one Adam saw on Tuesday.

We left the Galilee and headed back down to Neve Shalom, through the Jezreel Valley, passing places such as Mt. Tabor, Nazareth and Megiddo on the way. We stopped and ate diner at yet another gas station/restaurant at Latrun. Adam and I had a turkey, cucumber, pepper and hummus sandwich with mango tea J. We are now back and tired as anything. We are spending tomorrow in Jerusalem and I couldn’t be more excited :)

Pictures to come soon!

1 comment:

  1. Grr, making me jealous. Nimrod's is still on my checklist.

    And come on, who could give better info than our illustrious tour guide?

    I just hope you didn't have to call the police on the gas station/restaurant workers. Without Eric there, who would lay down the law?

    Thanks for keeping the state-siders updated. See ya in '11!