Results tagged “Archaeology” from Eurasia 2012

Another fairly quiet day today.

Another 5:30 wakeup to be off the boat at 7am.

First up was a minibus ride to the unfinished obelisk (ha, I accidently typed obelix there, must be those years of reading Asterix ;) ). That was pretty cool, and amazing that they never used the granite for anything else. Leaving the place you're channelled through an arcade of vendors that all step in your path and say "come look, no hassle".. umm, dude, you're hassling me now! They just don't get this. So I pretty much bolted through and didn't look at anything. Buttheads.

Then back in the minibus to a motorboat to go to the temples of Philae. These structures were actually partially submerged by the first Aswan dam, and were going to be completely submerged by its extension. So they moved it all to an island, but they had to rearrange a few things to get it all to fit on the island.

The flies were particularly bad when we got off the boat to wait for the minibus. Quite bothersome really.

So back to the big boat with a little time before lunch. I ate way too much meat at lunch, that is still fermenting in my stomach hours later :(

Watched as they cast off from Aswan.

Sat up on the top deck for a while, but some Germans kept smoking upwind from us, so gave up on that and retired to my cabin for the afternoon. Didn't really do anything apart from play games on my phone and rest (couldn't even sleep :( ).

Sunset was viewed from my cabin tonight. I thought about going up on deck and having a drink, but in the end just did my washing. Yay. Still, that should be the last lot of handwashing I have to do in a long time, probably a couple of weeks. Yay for knowing where the laundromat is in Earl's Court! (let's hope it's still operational heh)

For dinner I just had some soup and some salad and a bit of dessert.

While eating we arrived in Edfu.

In Aswan my window faced the dock which was a little boring. During the cruise I just got the hot afternoon sun so couldn't open the blind. When we arrived in Edfu we pulled up with the other side of the ship facing the dock, so I thought I'd have a nice morning view of the Nile. Yeah right. Another ship has pulled up parallel to us and my view is of the next ship :( The next window is literally a metre away from mine :(

I couldn't stay awake for the Egyptian "party" downstairs. It was meant to be dressup. Yeah right. Hrmmm.

Going to bed.

After I clear the bowels. Multiple times. Hope this is done by tomorrow morning :(


Distance covered on the GPS: 138.1 km
Steps walked: 9004
Photos on the Canon: 180
Photos on the Sony: 29
Videos: 4
EGP Spent: 6

So fricken exhausted tonight. Walked around 30000 steps, including lots of vertical ones.

This morning's breakfast was the worst so far in terms of variety and inspiration.

After breakfast we headed down the hill to Petra. 50JD to get in ($75). Ouch!

I knew *nothing* about Petra other than the treasury building (and the horse ride to it), so let myself be surprised.

First surprise is that they don't let you ride horses through the siq (gorge) anymore, which was a bit disappointing, because was looking forward to that (Indiana Jones, anyone?).

Second surprise is just the concept of the place, which is essentially the biggest ancient graveyard on the planet.

So yeah, walked down the hill and through the siq to the treasury building. We had to keep hurrying up to stop and stand still which was pretty frustrating. So took quite a while to walk through.

Our guide was pretty sneaky at one point and got us to walk in single file through a narrow bit, citing dangerous driving by the horse and buggy drivers. Then he got us to step out and look back up the gorge to look at the colouring of the rocks. Then he said "turn around", and there was the building through a gap in cliffs. Very cool!!

Of course the treasury building is pretty spectacular. Stopped and admired it for a while.

Then continued on past the dozens and dozens of tombs cut into the rocks.

Six of us then decided to power walk up to the monastry at the top of another canyon. Approximately 1000 vertical steps, 35 minutes each way, and a 5000 step round trip on the pedometer. I was very hot by the end!

They kept offering donkey rides to the top. But I didn't ask how much they were cause otherwise they wouldn't leave you alone. Similarly all the vendors all the way up the hill were all "buy a gift, one dinar" (except someone from our group tried to take them up on that offer, but it was of course a lie, and wanted to charge more for what she wanted). What these people don't seem to realise is that their crazy hard sell is a complete turn off for a lot of people. I want to window shop without being hassled. You can't do that here. If you so much as look at their stalls they won't leave you alone. So they won't get my business, because I really don't even know what they have to offer.

Had lunch at the Crowne Plaza cafe, then continued back. Dad and I went up to another temple the others had gone to while we'd gone up to the monastry.

Continued to walk back fast.

At the end of the siq, we claimed our included horse ride (plus $3 tip) back to the bus.

So left Petra at 2pm, covered in dust. You could easily have spent a couple of days exploring the place. We were meant to get a full day, but it had to get cut short because we had to go to Wadi Rum today as we won't have time tomorrow.

So yeah, headed south to Wadi Rum.

Hopped into some utes and headed out into the desert a la Lawrence of Arabia. That was pretty fun.

Part way along we stopped a bedoin camp and a bunch of us had a couple of minute camel ride which was a tonne of fun.

Then stopped a little way along at another bedouin camp for some thoroughly delicious tea, and a kick-back shopping opportunity.

Back to the visitor's centre, then headed back to Wadi Musa to the hotel, stopping once to look at the sunset.

Went straight to dinner because it was about 7:15pm by the time we got back. So we were all filthy and smelly. Oops. The super rude Europeans weren't around so dinner was a lot more relaxed, although not super great.

Then up to do photo stuff and try and use the internet.

But I really need to collapse into bed pretty soon. After I have a shower. And wash my hair. With some of my clothes on (such as my socks) which really need a wash..


Distance covered on the GPS: 229.8 plus some stuff in Petra
Steps walked: 33324, but I'm taking off 3000 due to bumpy roads screwing up the count
Photos on the Canon: 467
Photos on the Sony: 103
Videos: 17
USD Spent: 6

Urrrgh. I hate drama. Hate stress. Blah.

Breakfast at this hotel was ok - the nicest thing was meats at breakfast!! Haven't had meat at breakfast this whole trip (except for some tuna on the first day).

Loaded up in the coach and got driven through the most affluent part of Amman, with the tour guide doing a whole PR spiel for the country. It certainly was nicer that the first impression we got of the country.

Our first stop was the "Memorial of Moses" on Mount Nebo - possibly the place that Moses came up to see into the Promised Land before he died. There were a couple of nice mosaics there and you could just barely see Jerusalem through the haze.

Came down from there and stopped at a mosaic-making workshop where they make some stunning mosaics from cut stone. They can take months to complete, depending on the size of stones and intricacy.

Then into Madaba. Traffic was a little crazy as traffic lights were out, and did I mention they don't really have road rules here?

We parked and walked up to see St George's Church and the amazing mosaic they have of the middle east something like 1500 years ago. But the buttheads decided to build a church on top of it, and stuck a supporting pillar *right in the middle of the mosaic* !?!?!? Idiots.

And then back to the bus back through the market street.

For some reason this town had a nice feel to it. Maybe because the shops looked more familiar (a lot of English and selling more western products), maybe because the locals were friendly and waving, maybe because the vendors weren't aggressive. Who knows.

Headed a way out of town to a new restaurant for lunch and it was really nice (with nice clean free toilets - a major bonus in this country!). They even had this camel milk custard dessert!

Next up - another one of Herod's palaces at Mukawer, traditionally the location that they beheaded John the Baptist. A good little climb up and a great view.

This country is amazingly water poor, but we did see a couple of interesting things. One thing was temporary water tanks with tubing to irrigate roadside trees they're trying to grow. At another point we saw a burst water pipe on the side of a mountain gushing water in a huge geyser half way down the side of the mountain.

Then to the "Grand Canyon of Jordan" - Wadi Mujib.

Then headed south. The landscape changed dramatically from farmland to semi-arid.

Had a pitsop along the way, but had to pay for the toilets here.

Continued south (then west) to Petra (Wadi Musa), arriving just on sunset (behind the clouds anyway).

Navigating this hotel is a drama. You have to take two separate lifts, but there's only two at each site, and they only hold six people at a very tight squeeze. Found some stairs and decided they were much easier and faster.

Dinner was a total drama. First the parents arguing about which way up or down the table to move to not leave odd seats, so abanonded them. But then getting food was a *massive* drama because of a bunch of rude Europeans (Italian I think but could have been French - both are in the building) pushing in and making everything take longer. Hate.

Internet is $5 for the whole stay, but another couple gave me a couple of dollars to use it briefly. But it's so slow I may not be able to get my blog entries online anyway. Plus the only place you can use it is in the lobby, and that's where all the Europeans come to smoke :( *sigh*

Now it's stoopidly late because we got here late and have to get up stoopidly early. Which means my chances of getting any decent sleep tonight are about zero..


Distance covered on the GPS: 351.5
Steps walked: 16414, but I'm taking off 5000 due to bumpy roads screwing up the count
Photos on the Canon: 335
Photos on the Sony: 49
Videos: 11
USD Spent: 5-2
JD Spent: 0.5+2

Dear Jordan,

Please find a big garbage bin and use it.

Love,
Kazza


So very early morning this morning. First at breakfast at 6:30, then on the bus by 7:20. Arrived at the King Hussein border crossing a little after 9am. Here we said goodbye to our Israeli driver and guide and went across the border into Jordan. As much as I was frustrated with the hurry up and stand still pace of our guide, at least he was very well organised and coordinated everything for us beautifully. We crammed a *lot* into our Israel trip with him.

Took a little while (over an hour) to get through the rigmarole of passport control on one side, then crossing the Jordan, then passport control and security on the other side. But they let us all through so all good.

Continued driving north.

This is where we really started to notice the differences in countries. But the saddest thing was the run down nature of all the homes and businesses, and the *rubbish* lying all along the sides of the road. Don't these people have any respect for the cleanliness of their own country? Very sad.

The country does seem pretty friendly though - out in the country areas *lots* of people waved to us which was pretty cool. Other than the fact that they have some pretty heavily armed military check points, an armed guard on our coach, and metal detectors and xray machines on the hotel entrance. Not sure if I feel safter or more threatened with all that. Safer because they have it, but less safe because of the need they have for it.

Other observations:


  • Their highway system is pretty good. Dual carriage way in a lot of places. But city streets don't have lane markings so people just drive wherever. They also park wherever they like and double park all the time.

  • Noone seemed to be in any real hurry - we overtook *lots* of cars. Maybe because it was their weekend and a lot of people were out having family picnics.

  • Families have one car, no matter how big their family. This usually means a bunch of kids in the back seat (no seatbelts) and often another kid on mum's lap in the front.

  • They love the king here and his picture is everywhere (admittedly he's a very cool king!)

  • Street-side vendors selling food and pots and stuff are everywhere.

  • Vendors at the tourist places are a lot more aggressive than in Israel. But still probably nowhere near as bad as Egypt will be.

So anyway.

Our first stop was Gadara, an ancient Roman city with a cool collonaded street and theatre and a great view over the Sea of Galilee to Tiberias. Really didn't spend much time there before we had to leave.

We had a late lunch in Jerash. This was pretty good actually. They assured us that the salads were safe to eat because they were washed properly, but we all bought drinks as the water is not the best for drinking.

Then we went up to the ruins. Another ancient Roman city, but this one was *huge* and they've been putting in a lot of effort to restore things, including gates and temples and collonaded streets and a couple of theatres. Had a decent amount of time there which was great.

Then we headed for Amman and our hotel.

Hotel is pretty average. At least we have plenty power points (with a mix of both UK and Europe sockets). But the waiting staff at dinner were pretty hopeless. And dinner wasn't great either - the hot food was lukewarm at best. I didn't eat too much because I wasn't feeling the best and we'd had a big lunch. Plus we got rejected by people at various tables who claimed that seats had been taken. But I think they just didn't want us there, and me being a single certainly screws up the whole system of paired seats :(

Did a bunch of underwear washing before dinner as well as last night's photo sorting, and finished today's after dinner. Time for bed!


Distance covered on the GPS: 276.9 km
Steps walked: 17161
Photos on the Canon: 275
Photos on the Sony: 41
Videos: 15
NIS Spent: 22.5
USD Spent: 9
JD Spent: 3

Only five more nights. I have to keep telling myself that. Only five more nights. Then I get my own room. Saving $1400, I guess I can put up with it.

Moving on.

So had a slight disaster last night - my lovely 64gb USB stick that Stu got me for Christmas died. It had one of the backups of all my photos. It was also the one I was going to send home with the parents later. Not happy. It detects it briefly when you plug it in, but then it drops out of windows again, and the led flashes non-stop on it for as long as you leave it plugged in :(

We had an early start today - on the bus at 7:30. This is so we could queue to go through security to get onto the temple mount. Queued for about three quarters of an hour. They did a visual inspection of bags (probably looking for Bibles which are forbidden), and then an xray. At one point there was a sign, obviously posted by Jews, saying that entry to the temple mount is forbidden according to Torah law. It's kind of weird that us Aussies can get in whereas most Jews can't I don't think (or possibly choose not to in case they step on where the holy of holies was). In fact the whole city is this weird and very delicate balance of Jews and Muslims.

Sign warning people to stay off the Temple Mount
Sign warning people to stay off the Temple Mount

Security entrance to the Temple Mount
Security entrance to the Temple Mount

So got go up the ramp next to the wailing wall (rubbing it in much?) and onto the temple mount. Of course the most spectacular thing there is the gold-leaf Dome of the Rock. Only muslims are allowed inside though.

The Wailing Wall
The Wailing Wall

Temple Mount<br>Photo by Dad
Temple Mount
Photo by Dad

Dome of the Rock<br>Photo by Dad
Dome of the Rock
Photo by Dad

Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock<br>Photo by Mum
Dome of the Rock
Photo by Mum

Walked past the Golden Gate and then out of the temple mount.

Golden Gate from the inside
Golden Gate from the inside

Just inside the walls of the Temple Mount<br>Photo by Dad
Just inside the walls of the Temple Mount
Photo by Dad

Just outside the walls of the Temple Mount
Just outside the walls of the Temple Mount

Tour group just outside the Temple Mount
Tour group just outside the Temple Mount

Continued walking to the pool of Bethesda and had a look in St Anne's Basilica.

Pool of Bethesda
Pool of Bethesda

Pool of Bethesda
Pool of Bethesda

Poppies
Poppies

Arch
Arch

St Anne's Basilica<br>Photo by Dad
St Anne's Basilica
Photo by Dad

Then into another church - Sisters of Notre Dame of Zion I think - on the site of the Antonia Fortress to look at old cisterns and also an excavated street of Roman vintage.

Drain pipe
Drain pipe

Streets of Jerusalem<br>Photo by Dad
Streets of Jerusalem
Photo by Dad

Struthion Pool
Struthion Pool

Antonia Fortress<br>Photo by Mum
Antonia Fortress
Photo by Mum

Mosaic in Sisters of Notre Dame of Zion
Mosaic in Sisters of Notre Dame of Zion

And then it was to follow the path of some of the Stations of the Cross. This was a pretty cool walk through narrow alleys of shops.

Via Dolorosa
Via Dolorosa

IV Station of the Cross
IV Station of the Cross

III Station of the Cross
III Station of the Cross

V Station of the Cross
V Station of the Cross

Did you mean Palestine?
Did you mean Palestine?

Via Dolorosa
Via Dolorosa

VII Station of the Cross
VII Station of the Cross

At the end was The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian quarter that houses seven denominations (mostly various orthodoxes) in the one building. This church is on one of the proposed locations of Golgotha, and houses a stone slab said to have been used for the treatment of Jesus' body after the crucifixion. hrmmm.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre<br>Photo by Dad
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Photo by Dad

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre<br>Photo by Dad
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Photo by Dad

Tombs in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Tombs in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Supposedly where Jesus body was treated after his crucifixion
Supposedly where Jesus body was treated after his crucifixion

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Continued walking to an Armenian restaurant for lunch. This was sooo much better than yesterday - no crowds, food was brought out to us, and a very relaxed setting.

Jaffa Gate
Jaffa Gate

Finally back to the bus to battle crazy heavy holiday traffic out to the holocaust museum. Very sad place. They only gave us an hour and a half there, but could easily have spent a *lot* more time there. In fact, our next stop had to be cancelled because we were so late because of the traffic. So we just headed back to the hotel. So not sure why we had to be so rushed. They could have given us more time there :(

Holocaust History Museum
Holocaust History Museum

Holocaust History Museum
Holocaust History Museum

Holocaust History Museum
Holocaust History Museum

Holocaust History Museum
Holocaust History Museum

When we got back to the hotel we headed straight out again in search of somewhere that sold USB memory sticks. Eventually found a place and bought two 16gb sticks for 149 and 159 shekels.

Old city from near our hotel
Old city from near our hotel

Looking across to Palestinian territory from near our hotel
Looking across to Palestinian territory from near our hotel

Then had to do battle with parents over "laundry" space. Only five more nights, only five more nights.

Can hear fireworks going off. Can't see anything from here though..


Distance covered on the GPS: 28.4 km
Steps walked: 14905
Photos on the Canon: 232
Photos on the Sony: 36
Videos: 3

Urrghh. Patience with the parents is wearing pretty thin. Slept mostly ok. Woke up a couple of times in the night but otherwise slept from 10pm to 6am.

This morning the mother did more washing and stubbornly refused to close the bathroom window. *sigh*.

Our first stop was "The City of David" which is a region to the south of Jerusalem which was the old city of David (obviously!). There's a lot of archaeological stuff happening there at the moment.

Southern wall of the Temple Mount<br>Photo by Dad
Southern wall of the Temple Mount
Photo by Dad

The City of David entrance<br>Photo by Dad
The City of David entrance
Photo by Dad

Looking across the Kidron Valley from The City of David
Looking across the Kidron Valley from The City of David

Houses on the other side of the Kidron Valley built atop ancient tombs
Houses on the other side of the Kidron Valley built atop ancient tombs

Al-Aqsa Mosque from The City of David
Al-Aqsa Mosque from The City of David

Old City from The City of David
Old City from The City of David

We watched a little 3D film on some of the history of Jerusalem and the water tunnel that Hezekiah built. The screens weren't lined up properly though so it was a little hard to watch. I found it easier to just cover one eye.

Tour group in the 3D film theatre
Tour group in the 3D film theatre

Then we headed down down down past the Warren Shaft and down to Hezekiah's Tunnel. This was super cool! The water was thigh height at the beginning, but for most of the tunnel it flowed at mid calf height. There were some Swiss people in front of us and they were singing most of the way through and every so often they sang a hymn we knew so they were singing in German and we were singing in English, it was great fun :)

Heading down into Hezekiah's Tunnel
Heading down into Hezekiah's Tunnel

Hezekiah's Tunnel<br>Photo by Dad
Hezekiah's Tunnel
Photo by Dad

Hezekiah's Tunnel<br>Photo by Mum
Hezekiah's Tunnel
Photo by Mum

The tunnel opened out into the pool of Siloam.

Exit of Hezekiah's Tunnel
Exit of Hezekiah's Tunnel

Pool of Siloam
Pool of Siloam

Then we headed back up the hill. Starting with some recently excavated steps that turned into a tunnel that was at first lit then not lit at all and we had to pull out our torches again. I'm not sure how open it was to the public, but it seemed like we were intruding on an archaelogical dig and that's what we actually found at the end.

Tunnel leading back up the hill
Tunnel leading back up the hill

Archaelogical site just under the south wall of the Old City
Archaelogical site just under the south wall of the Old City

Archaelogical site<br>Photo by Dad
Archaelogical site
Photo by Dad

Archaelogical site<br>Photo by Mum
Archaelogical site
Photo by Mum

Next we headed up to the Zion Gate and into the Jewish Quarter of the old city. This area started off with just a massive parking lot and then lots of modern buildings.

Zion Gate, complete with bullet holes from various conflicts
Zion Gate, complete with bullet holes from various conflicts

Inside of the Zion Gate
Inside of the Zion Gate

After wandering through a bit we came to the "Burnt House" which is a house, probably of a temple priest, that they'd excavated which showed evidence of destruction by fire, possibly by the Romans. There was a little dramatisation film they'd made showing a possible scenario.

Burnt House Museum
Burnt House Museum

Burnt House Museum<br>Photo by Dad
Burnt House Museum
Photo by Dad

Cardo Maximus - ancient Roman street
Cardo Maximus - ancient Roman street

Dormition Abbey
Dormition Abbey

Dormition Abbey<br>Photo by Dad
Dormition Abbey
Photo by Dad

Walked some more to the room that "traditionally" was the room of the Last Supper. Yah, sure.

Room where the last supper was held.  Uh huh.
Room where the last supper was held. Uh huh.

Courtyard outside
Courtyard outside

King David's Tomb
King David's Tomb

Then down to the "rooster" church (because of the rooster crowing when Peter denied knowing Jesus) which supposedly was Caiphus' house, which did in fact have a real prison and/or dungeon under the house which could theoretically have held Jesus the night he was arrested.

Rooster church sign
Rooster church sign

Rooster church (St. Peter in Gallicantu)
Rooster church (St. Peter in Gallicantu)

St. Peter in Gallicantu<br>Photo by Dad
St. Peter in Gallicantu
Photo by Dad

St. Peter in Gallicantu<br>Photo by Dad
St. Peter in Gallicantu
Photo by Dad

Looking down into the dungeon in the house
Looking down into the dungeon in the house

Dungeon in the house
Dungeon in the house

Looking across to Palestinian territory
Looking across to Palestinian territory

Lunch was at the Ramat Rachel Hotel, but it was super crowded and pretty unorganised. It was so bad that there were no free tables to sit at and the only tables were piled high with used plates and trays. It was a complete shambles. At one point one of the waiting staff that was cleaning up dropped some wine glasses which left shattered glass all over the floor. But instead of cleaning it up he just walked away and left it. When we all left at least twenty minutes later it was all still there. The only bonus was that previous tables had left bottles of wine behind, that obviously had to be drunk, and even an unopened bottle that the waiting staff said we could have! Go figure!

Next we went to a lookout at the south end of Jerusalem to see the view of the city from the south.

Jerusalem
Jerusalem

Jerusalem
Jerusalem

Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives

Then it was back to the hotel for an early finish.

Little did we know but the original building of this hotel used to be an eye hospital, and just before the War of Independence they'd strung up a cable car across to the old city for transporting wounded. This cable car operated for a good six months without detection! The cable and operating mechanism are still there. Very cool!

Cable car used during the War of Independence
Cable car used during the War of Independence

View out the window where the cable car ran
View out the window where the cable car ran

Pulley system for the cable car
Pulley system for the cable car

After this I found a table in the lobby with a view and an electrical socket to do photo stuff, but didn't get too much done before some other people came down and bought me beer for copying their photos.. oops! So was a very pleasant evening with some beer, and the leftover bottle of wine from lunch and then a couple of drinks after dinner with everyone in the lobby :)

Coca Cola in Hebrew
Coca Cola in Hebrew

Me in a very big chair
Me in a very big chair

Distance covered on the GPS: 20.5 km
Steps walked: 11253+?? (left the pedometer in my bag so not sure of a final count, calling it 15000)
Photos on the Canon: 257
Photos on the Sony: 19
Videos: 2

Urrrghhh.
Today started off pretty crap. Woke up at 3:45 and really didn't get back to sleep. Have one of those stoopied mattresses that moulds to your body shape. Which is fine until you roll over and it's all lumpy in odd places :(

Breakfast was a bit average. Although that's probably coloured by my mood with this place. Someone having their phone stolen within a minute or two of her leaving it on one of the service benches also made me lose confidence in the security of the place. I was paranoid about leaving the window wide open all day after that, but of course then mum had a whinge because the washing hadn't dried by this afternoon (majority of stuff not even needed until tomorrow anyway). *sigh*

So headed out at the usual time (8:30).

First stop was the Israel Museum. Had a look at the 1:50 scale model of ancient Jerusalem which was pretty cool. Also went into the Shrine of the Book which was a little museum about the Dead Sea Scrolls, which even had a fragment from Isaiah on display which was also pretty cool.

Entrance to The Israel Museum
Entrance to The Israel Museum

Model of Jerusalem
Model of Jerusalem

Model of the temple
Model of the temple

Model of Jerusalem
Model of Jerusalem

Model of the temple
Model of the temple

Model of lower Jerusalem
Model of lower Jerusalem

The Shrine of the Book, containing the Dead Sea Scrolls<br>Photo by Dad
The Shrine of the Book, containing the Dead Sea Scrolls
Photo by Dad

Black basalt wall next to the Shrine of the Book<br>Photo by Mum
Black basalt wall next to the Shrine of the Book
Photo by Mum

Next we headed back into Palestinian territory to Bethlehem. Security on this place was a bit more serious including massive concrete walls all the way around. Our regular guide didn't come with us as he's a Jew, and didn't want to make anything tense. Got a different guide instead for the day.

Berlin wall style wall separating Palestinian territories
Berlin wall style wall separating Palestinian territories

Our first stop was a shop, The Three Arches, where they strongly encouraged us to support the local Christian business. I did end up buying something (against my better judgement - I hate buying things at "tour recommended" stores because they mark everything up enormously; I saw the same thing I bought at a street store a little while later - I was tempted to ask how much but knew I'd get hounded mercilessly by the vendor unless I bought it).

Beautiful wood carvings for sale in the Three Arches in Bethlehem
Beautiful wood carvings for sale in the Three Arches in Bethlehem

Some of the town of Bethlehem
Some of the town of Bethlehem

Next up was the Church of the Nativity, or the Church of the Sepulchre or something. This church's claim to fame is that it is built on the traditional birthplace of Jesus.

Yah.

So they had the great idea that we should queue for nearly an hour and a half to see a silver star marking the birthplace and a marble manger. Yeah we were all pretty cynical about it by the end of it.

Church of the Nativity
Church of the Nativity

Entrance to the Church of the Nativity
Entrance to the Church of the Nativity

Church of the Nativity
Church of the Nativity

Mosaics in the Church of the Nativity
Mosaics in the Church of the Nativity

Church of the Nativity
Church of the Nativity

I loved these Christmas decorations on the chandeliers
I loved these Christmas decorations on the chandeliers

Church of the Nativity
Church of the Nativity

Crowding into a tiny entrance
Crowding into a tiny entrance

Our tour group waiting to get in
Our tour group waiting to get in

All to see this.  Supposedly the location of the birth of Jesus<br>Photo by Dad
All to see this. Supposedly the location of the birth of Jesus
Photo by Dad

And Jesus really had a marble manger, didn't you know?<br>Photo by Dad
And Jesus really had a marble manger, didn't you know?
Photo by Dad

Church of St. Catherine
Church of St. Catherine

Church of St. Catherine<br>Photo by Dad
Church of St. Catherine
Photo by Dad

Then to lunch. They served us this time, with bread and dips to start, and kebabs and fries following. Too much food as usual :/

Stars & Bucks Cafe
Stars & Bucks Cafe

The funny thing about Bethlehem is that it's Christmas every day there. It'd be cool to go there at night to see all the Christmas lights up in the streets.

Next stop was "The Shepherd's Field" - more churches, more vendors trying to sell stuff. But what was nice about this place is that we went and found somewhere to sit down and had a little Church service ourselves. It was good to just stop and get away from all the crazy crowds and just reflect. Plus it was overlooking another hill still used by shepherds, and who's to say it wasn't on that hill that angels appeared to the shepherds. Building churches and saying "this is the spot" seems a tad ridiculous to me.

Hillside in Bethlehem<br>Photo by Mum
Hillside in Bethlehem
Photo by Mum

Our final stop of the day was Herodium, which is a big hill where Herod the great had built a fortress, and they've only just recently discovered his tomb. There were no other tourists here so quite enjoyed the little time we had there.

Herodium
Herodium

Herodium
Herodium

Herodium
Herodium

Herodium
Herodium

Herodium
Herodium

Herodium
Herodium

Tunnels in Herodium
Tunnels in Herodium

Cistern in Herodium
Cistern in Herodium

Tunnels in Herodium
Tunnels in Herodium

Herodium
Herodium

Rocks used to roll down the hills on enemies
Rocks used to roll down the hills on enemies

Then back to the hotel. Did all my photo stuff then got completely bored waiting to go down to dinner. Stoopid lack of internet :( Didn't eat much at dinner - was still full from lunch.

Our hotel
Our hotel

View towards the cemetery from near our hotel
View towards the cemetery from near our hotel

Flowers on a roundabout near our hotel
Flowers on a roundabout near our hotel

Oh, this hotel failed again. When we checked in there were only two towels so we had to ask for another one. Tonight there was only one towel. At that rate there won't be any tomorrow.

There was a wedding downstairs tonight. It was super loud before but is a bit quieter now. Be quieter if I was allowed to close the window.. hrmmm..


Distance covered on the GPS: 50.5 km
Steps walked: 10320
Photos on the Canon: 334
Photos on the Sony: 40
Videos: 11
USD spent: 32

Urrrgghhhh. Today was not a good day. We did see some pretty cool stuff, but lots of stresses too :(

To start with I slept like crap. It was just too hot in the room (and Israel, like Europe, doesn't believe in layers (sheets). It's all or nothing with a blanket). There might have been air conditioning but I didn't feel like fussing about with it in the middle of the night. Woke up at 5:30 to go the toilet and the parents took this as their cue to turn the lights on >:( I think I might have gotten a little bit more sleep.

Then I got rejected at breakfast. Most of the tables only sat four people so I couldn't easily join people. In the end I went and sat by myself on a bigger table, and felt like a nigel, and only got joined near the end.

Went for a little walk after breakfast to photograph the beach and the hotel.

Daniel Hotel, Dead Sea
Daniel Hotel, Dead Sea

View from someone else's room (we got crappy rooms pretty much the entire trip)
View from someone else's room (we got crappy rooms pretty much the entire trip)

Checked out, then headed north back up the shores of the Dead Sea, this time with the light on the canyons.

Our first stop was Masada, which is this super cool fortress built by Herod atop a rocky mountain, and accessed by cable car. It finally fell to the Romans after a lengthy seige. It was another case of hurry up and wait and not enough time to really explore the place. So that was a bit frustrating, but I think we saw the majority of it.

Masada<br>Photo by Dad
Masada
Photo by Dad

Cistern in Masada
Cistern in Masada

Water collection trenches
Water collection trenches

Top of the cable car at Masada
Top of the cable car at Masada

Top of Masada
Top of Masada

Room in Masada.  The black line was the height of the wall when they found it.  They then rebuilt the walls on top<br>Photo by Dad
Room in Masada. The black line was the height of the wall when they found it. They then rebuilt the walls on top
Photo by Dad

Store rooms in Masada
Store rooms in Masada

Tristram's starlings at Masada
Tristram's starlings at Masada

Dead Sea from Masada
Dead Sea from Masada

Top view of Herod's Palace
Top view of Herod's Palace

Roman seige camp
Roman seige camp

Herod's Palace
Herod's Palace

Herod's Palace
Herod's Palace

Herod's Palace
Herod's Palace

Masada<br>Photo by Dad
Masada
Photo by Dad

Dude writing the torah, wrote a blessing for Bruce
Dude writing the torah, wrote a blessing for Bruce

Pigeon roosts
Pigeon roosts

Where the romans attacked from
Where the romans attacked from

Dead Sea from Masada
Dead Sea from Masada

Continued north, back into Palestinian territory to Qumran (unless it was Masada in Palestinian territory, can't remember) where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. I didn't realise there was an ancient town excavated there as well. But can you guess what happened? That's right, rushed from one point to another with little time to take it in. Fortunately after lunch they gave everyone an hour to go shopping, so Dad and I went back in. This was sooo much better just wandering around at my own pace and exploring stuff.

Hills on the west side of the Dead Sea
Hills on the west side of the Dead Sea

Location of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Location of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found
Cave where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found

Location of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Location of the Dead Sea Scrolls

Yeah so lunch at Qumran. Worst experience of the trip so far. Had to battle your way through the shop then hundreds of people all jostling each other to get to the food and the tables. When we found a free table we got told to move. Then as I was trying to take a seat and dump my crap people kept telling me to move up and down the table to let people come or go as they changed their minds and then a heap of others were all trying to push past. I basically lost it. I *hate* crowds like that :(:(:( And the food was pretty average, probably the worst of the trip so far as well. Maybe just because I was too stressed/depressed, although someone else commented as well.

So left there and headed for Jerusalem. And we were there in like half an hour. Bizarre. Especially since everywhere east of Jerusalem is completely arid, but Jerusalem itself is relatively green.

Headed up to the Mount of Olives first up for a nice view of the old city.

Temple mount from the Mount of Olives
Temple mount from the Mount of Olives

The Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock

Eastern (Golden) Gate
Eastern (Golden) Gate

Then started walking down the hill.

Cemetery opposite the city
Cemetery opposite the city

Cemetery opposite the city
Cemetery opposite the city

First stopping in at Dominus Flevit, or the Jesus wept church.

Dominus Flevit
Dominus Flevit

Temple mount from Dominus Flevit
Temple mount from Dominus Flevit

Then at the bottom of the hill in the Garden of Gethsemane to the basilica there.

Ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane<br>Photo by Dad
Ancient olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane
Photo by Dad

Church of All Nations
Church of All Nations

Church of All Nations
Church of All Nations

Church of All Nations
Church of All Nations

East side of the Temple Mount
East side of the Temple Mount

Then we got taken in the coach up to the old temple walls.

Mount of Olives from the east side of the Temple Mount
Mount of Olives from the east side of the Temple Mount

Cemetery opposite the Temple Mount
Cemetery opposite the Temple Mount

South west corner of the Temple Mount showing the remnants of Robinson's Arch
South west corner of the Temple Mount showing the remnants of Robinson's Arch

Went in and through the security check (and apparently there was a bit of a scene because some of the girls went through the men's line).

And there was the Wailing Wall. Went and touched it. And probably got dirty looks from the Jews who apparently resent us gentiles being there.

The Wailing Wall<br>Photo by Dad
The Wailing Wall
Photo by Dad

Prayers in the Wailing Wall<br>Photo by Dad
Prayers in the Wailing Wall
Photo by Dad

Then we got to go underneath the walls through a bunch of tunnels which was way cool.

Western wall tunnels
Western wall tunnels

These massive Herodian ashlar stones support the western wall of the temple<br>Photo by Mum
These massive Herodian ashlar stones support the western wall of the temple
Photo by Mum

Western wall tunnels
Western wall tunnels

Struthion Pool
Struthion Pool

And then to the hotel. Have I ever mentioned how much I *hate* fancy hotels? Internet: $15/day. Laundry facilities: non-existent (except for a massive fee). Sink plug: none. Power points: none spare, had to disconnect lamps and kettles stuck behind a cabinet. Table to work on laptop: none really, but can use one on the side of the room with no electricity nearby. We have a wonderful view .. of the lobby. No elevator to our floor. I'm sleeping on a cot taking up most of the free space in the room. The waiting staff at dinner were pretty useless. I don't know about the food, I was too depressed to even feel like eating much. And I forgot to even document my food, that's how bad a day I was having.

Our hotel - the Mount Zion Hotel
Our hotel - the Mount Zion Hotel

Our hotel room - I got a cot bed
Our hotel room - I got a cot bed

So now I have the aircon trying to cool the room down so I can sleep tonight, and then the parents come in and complain its freezing.

Can I go home now?

Distance covered on the GPS: 128.1km
Steps walked: 17373
Photos on the Canon: 512
Photos on the Sony: 31
Videos: 17
NIS spent: 2

Woke up a couple of times in the night, but eventually slept through til 6:45am.. w00t!

Today we headed south. Drove first through Tiberias, which was easy because it was the Sabbath so nothing was open and no traffic around.

The first stop was Yardenit, an area on the Jordan river just south of the Sea of Galilee. This area has been completely commercialised and is used to perform baptisms. So we get there and are told we can spend half an hour looking around. And I'm like.. you rush us through cool stuff but give us half an hour at a tourist trap? The river was cool and all, but hardly "authentic" (they think Jesus was baptised a lot closer to Jericho, but that whole area is sealed off by the military; plus, the river is completely surrounded by eucalypts which makes it seem like just any other Australian river, not a biblical one). Fortunately Bruce hated the commercialisation of it and got us out of there a little early.

People being baptised in the Jordan River<br>Photo by Dad
People being baptised in the Jordan River
Photo by Dad

Jordan River.  Looks like somewhere in New South Wales.
Jordan River. Looks like somewhere in New South Wales.

Next stop was Bet She'an, a cool old Roman city. We had a few talks at the beginning then we had half an hour to roam ourselves. Could have used a bit (lot) longer but did get to go up the hill so got a bunch of cool photos of the city.

End of the hippodrome in Bet She'an<br>Photo by Dad
End of the hippodrome in Bet She'an
Photo by Dad

Bet She'an park sign.  Notice the bushes of rosemary - this stuff was everywhere!
Bet She'an park sign. Notice the bushes of rosemary - this stuff was everywhere!

Bet She'an<br>Photo by Dad
Bet She'an
Photo by Dad

Bet She'an
Bet She'an

Roman bath house in Bet She'an
Roman bath house in Bet She'an

Toilet block in Bet She'an
Toilet block in Bet She'an

Tree stump on a hill next to the town.  This was put there for the movie Jesus Christ Superstar filmed there in 1973
Tree stump on a hill next to the town. This was put there for the movie Jesus Christ Superstar filmed there in 1973

Main street of Bet She'an
Main street of Bet She'an

Mosaic in Bet She'an
Mosaic in Bet She'an

Collanade in Bet She'an<br>Photo by Dad
Collanade in Bet She'an
Photo by Dad

At the top of Tel Bet She'an
At the top of Tel Bet She'an

Bet She'an from above
Bet She'an from above

Theatre and main street
Theatre and main street

Byzantine Sigma
Byzantine Sigma

Bet She'an<br>Photo by Dad
Bet She'an
Photo by Dad

Bet She'an<br>Photo by Dad
Bet She'an
Photo by Dad

Theatre
Theatre

Theatre
Theatre

Drove through a checkpoint and into the Palestinian territory of the West Bank. Was a little nervous about this actually.

By this point the landscape was a lot more arid, and a lot more like I imagined Israel would be like. By the time we got to Jericho it was *very* arid.

Arid hills in the Jordan valley<br>Photo by Dad
Arid hills in the Jordan valley
Photo by Dad

Looking up the monastery in Jericho
Looking up the monastery in Jericho

Monastery in Jericho
Monastery in Jericho

At Jericho we had lunch at the "Temptation" restaurant (supposedly this is where Jesus was tempted for 40 days in the desert). Really it's just a big tourist trap, with shops attached to the restaurant and kickbacks for the tour operators. Still, the food was pretty good, even if the toilets were a nightmare.

Glassware for sale in Jericho
Glassware for sale in Jericho

Cable car over ancient Jericho<br>Photo by Dad
Cable car over ancient Jericho
Photo by Dad

Elisha Spring Fountain
Elisha Spring Fountain

Peacock jump
Peacock jump

After lunch we took the cable car up the side of the mountain. Had a whole ten minutes at the top which by the time we went for a walk up to see if we could see the monastery gave us really no time at all to enjoy the view, I just got all hot and sweaty (good for the step count though I suppose).

Township from the cable car
Township from the cable car

Going up the cable car
Going up the cable car

Mountainside
Mountainside

Looking back down towards Jericho<br>Photo by Dad
Looking back down towards Jericho
Photo by Dad

Monastery in Jericho
Monastery in Jericho

Came back down and had a wander around the ruins of the old city. The place was made of mudbricks so there's nothing much left, but there is a tower that they think is one of the oldest human constructions still surviving on the planet.

Ancient tower in Jericho - one of the oldest man-made structures in existence
Ancient tower in Jericho - one of the oldest man-made structures in existence

Ancient Jericho
Ancient Jericho

Ancient Jericho
Ancient Jericho

Continued driving south through lots of desert and past the odd random camel just standing around.

Random camel
Random camel

Then it was driving past the Dead Sea on the left and cliffs and canyons of very loose looking rocks on the right. I was vaguely worried we'd be crushed in a rock slide. The Dead Sea sure was pretty though.

Dead Sea
Dead Sea

Dead Sea
Dead Sea

Canal entrance to the southern Dead Sea
Canal entrance to the southern Dead Sea

Dead Sea hotels
Dead Sea hotels

Got to our hotel on the Dead Sea (I was right - the "fancier" the hotel the less likely you are to get free internet - $15/day here. And "fancy" prices for drinks here too - about two and a half times the prices of the last hotel. I used the drink voucher we got, but didn't buy any more).

Our hotel room with nice big bed for me
Our hotel room with nice big bed for me

Of course the first thing we all had to do was go for a swim in the Dead Sea. Which was bizarre and cool and slimy and salty.

So yeah, you totally float much much higher than you do in regular water. It's really hard to describe what it was like. Crazy!

Floating in the Dead Sea<br>Photo by Dad
Floating in the Dead Sea
Photo by Dad

Floating in the Dead Sea<br>Photo by Dad
Floating in the Dead Sea
Photo by Dad

Floating in the Dead Sea
Floating in the Dead Sea

After we'd had enough we headed back to the hotel pools for a more regular swim (although they had a pool with Dead Sea water in it, so had another float there too).

Then washed my hair, had a drink with some of the others, had dinner, downloaded photos and suddenly it's 10pm.. hrmmm..

Hotel pool by night
Hotel pool by night


Distance covered on the GPS: 226.4km (didn't get above sea level all day!)
Steps walked: 15371
Photos on the Canon: 731
Photos on the Sony: 86
Videos: 22
NIS spent: 10

For the first time in days the parents didn't wake me up!! Although did wake up at 4:51 (which sadly I couldn't partake in last night due to the Holocaust Memorial day), but got back to sleep and woke up again at 6am.

Drove north and crossed the Jordan river (looking at the photos you'd think it was a river somewhere in Australia).

Crossing the Jordan River
Crossing the Jordan River

Stopped first at Bethsaida, which is a ruin town on the northern edge of the Sea of Galilee (at least it *used* to be on the edge - it's silted up since biblical times, so the edge is a few kilometres away now).

Bethsaida
Bethsaida

Bethsaida<br>Photo by Mum
Bethsaida
Photo by Mum

This used to be the edge of the Sea of Galilee
This used to be the edge of the Sea of Galilee

Then we headed north, going to the top of Mt Bental, which overlooks Syria. There were some foxholes and bunkers you would walk around so that was pretty cool, and the view was spectacular.

White Storks
White Storks

Mount Bental
Mount Bental

View north from Mount Bental<br>Photo by Dad
View north from Mount Bental
Photo by Dad

Dinosaur sculpture (there were heaps of these)
Dinosaur sculpture (there were heaps of these)

Soldier cutouts
Soldier cutouts

Mount Bental
Mount Bental

View into Syria
View into Syria

Bunkers and foxholes on the top of Mount Bental
Bunkers and foxholes on the top of Mount Bental

Looking north towards Mount Hermon
Looking north towards Mount Hermon

Battlements on Mount Bental<br>Photo by Dad
Battlements on Mount Bental
Photo by Dad

Bunker corridor on Mount Bental
Bunker corridor on Mount Bental

Looking out towards Syria
Looking out towards Syria

Barbed wire on Mount Bental<br>Photo by Mum
Barbed wire on Mount Bental
Photo by Mum

Continued north west over some mountains.

Looking towards Ein Kinya in northern Israel<br>Photo by Dad
Looking towards Ein Kinya in northern Israel
Photo by Dad

Next stop was Caesarea Philippi which had some springs that are some of the starts of the Jordan river, as well as the remnants of a bunch of old temples.

Caesarea Philippi<br>Photo by Dad
Caesarea Philippi
Photo by Dad

Springs at Caesarea Philippi
Springs at Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi
Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi
Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi<br>Photo by Dad
Caesarea Philippi
Photo by Dad

Caesarea Philippi<br>Photo by Dad
Caesarea Philippi
Photo by Dad

Caesarea Philippi
Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi
Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi
Caesarea Philippi

Continued on, coming very close to the border with Lebanon and driving past minefields.

Minefield in northern Israel
Minefield in northern Israel

Defence lines in northern Israel
Defence lines in northern Israel

Had lunch in a restaurant near Dafna. Their specialty was trout, which was nice once you could get past all the bones, but too much food, a lot of which got wasted because there was too much for us all to eat. :(

Trout at the restaurant
Trout at the restaurant

Then back to Tel Dan, another ruin city and another Jordan spring (which was a raging torrent of water due to the heavy winter they've had here). The old city wall was pretty cool and there was even the remnants of a chair in the city gate that the king would likely have sat in. A little way around from this was a city gate made out of mudbricks, which is something like 3500 years old!

Dan Stream in Tel Dan Reserve
Dan Stream in Tel Dan Reserve

Pool in Tel Dan Reserve<br>Photo by Dad
Pool in Tel Dan Reserve
Photo by Dad

Tel Dan
Tel Dan

Tel Dan
Tel Dan

Tel Dan
Tel Dan

Lizard at Tel Dan
Lizard at Tel Dan

Dad sitting at the entrance square of Tel Dan
Dad sitting at the entrance square of Tel Dan

Mum at Tel Dan<br>Photo by Dad
Mum at Tel Dan
Photo by Dad

Tel Dan<br>Photo by Mum
Tel Dan
Photo by Mum

Ancient mud brick city gate at Tel Dan
Ancient mud brick city gate at Tel Dan

And then back to the hotel. Went down to the lake to document it because the water was so blue. Then got caught up on news feeds (or at least to the point that if I don't have internet again before I get to London Google won't delete them on me).

Sailing boats on the Sea of Galilee (sorry my head wasn't on straight)
Sailing boats on the Sea of Galilee (sorry my head wasn't on straight)

Tiberias
Tiberias

Distance covered on the GPS: 163.7km
Steps walked: 13080
Photos on the Canon: 444
Photos on the Sony: 15
Videos: 26
NIS Spent: 15

So my day started at 4:50am when the parents switched their lights on.

!?!?!

Fortunately I think I got a little more sleep, but got up at 6am.

Our first stop was actually at the hotel - the "Jesus Boat" museum - which houses a two thousand year old boat they found buried in the mud on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus Boat Museum
Jesus Boat Museum

Two thousand year old boat found in the mud
Two thousand year old boat found in the mud

Model of what they thought the boat might look like
Model of what they thought the boat might look like

Gate at the Jesus Boat Museum
Gate at the Jesus Boat Museum

Next up we headed north and went to the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter. From wikipedia: "According to tradition this is the spot where Jesus is said to have laid out a breakfast of bread and fish for the Apostles, and told Peter to "Feed my sheep" after the miraculous catch, the third time he appeared to them after his resurrection." Whether these were the exact locations or not who knows, but we were defintely close. Pretty awesome.

Beach on the Sea of Galilee - Jesus probably walked on this beach at some point!
Beach on the Sea of Galilee - Jesus probably walked on this beach at some point!

Bruce talking about the sea and the feeding of the five thousand just across the water
Bruce talking about the sea and the feeding of the five thousand just across the water

Church of the Primacy of St Peter
Church of the Primacy of St Peter

Inside the Church of the Primacy of St Peter
Inside the Church of the Primacy of St Peter

Then we went a little further north and hopped on a boat for a little cruise on the lake. Was a lovely experience and great to be on the lake and see some of the sights from a different perspective.

At Kfar Nahum heading down to catch a boat
At Kfar Nahum heading down to catch a boat

Capernaum from the boat
Capernaum from the boat

Capernaum from the boat
Capernaum from the boat

Mount Arbel and western side of the sea
Mount Arbel and western side of the sea

Looking towards the Church of the Primacy of St Peter
Looking towards the Church of the Primacy of St Peter

Potential location of the sermon on the mount
Potential location of "the sermon on the mount"

Me and Cutie on the Sea of Galilee
Me and Cutie on the Sea of Galilee
Photo by Mum

Another tour boat on the Sea of Galilee
Another tour boat on the Sea of Galilee

The boat we took
The boat we took

Next it was time to battle hoardes of tourists to see Capernaum. I was totally surprised that Capernaum is a ruin town. I somehow imagined it would be like Nazareth and a big town by now. Turns out it was destroyed by an earthquake in 746 and never rebuilt. But this made it cooler, because you could actually see some of the original streets and buildings. The synagogue there was dated quite a bit later, but even so, there's a good chance it was built on the same location, which meant we walked where Jesus once walked! Unfortunately there were too many crowds to ponder the significance of this, and we didn't spend much time there :(

Capernaum
Capernaum

Capernaum
Capernaum

Capernaum
Capernaum

Synagogue in Capernaum
Synagogue in Capernaum

Synagogue Capernaum
Synagogue Capernaum

Lunch was at "St Peter's Restaurant" a short distance away, and we sat on the deck with a great view of the lake. Had some yummy fish and the place had tonnes of salads. I'm still amazed by all the fresh food and salads in this country. It's awesome! I'm probably eating too much, but I'm certainly eating very healthily!

Sea of Galilee from our lunch spot - St Peter's Restaurant
Sea of Galilee from our lunch spot - St Peter's Restaurant

Kingfisher fishing in the Sea of Galilee
Kingfisher fishing in the Sea of Galilee

Next stop was another ruin town - Korazim - with another cool synagogue and buildings. In contrast to everywhere else, we had this place entirely to ourselves which was nice.

Northern edge of the sea on the road to Korazim
Northern edge of the sea on the road to Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Korazim
Korazim

Lizard at Korazim
Lizard at Korazim

Then up to the Church of the Beatitudes. This is a possible location of "the sermon on the mount", also a location that Jesus was likely to have been at some point in his life. Very cool. Although us Aussies are taking over - eucalypt trees are everywhere in Israel and this location was no different.

Church of the Beatitudes
Church of the Beatitudes

Church of the Beatitudes
Church of the Beatitudes

Possible location of the Sermon on the Mount.  Complete with gum tree.
Possible location of the Sermon on the Mount. Complete with gum tree.

Possible location of the Sermon on the Mount
Possible location of the Sermon on the Mount

Looking across to Jordan from the Church of the Beatitudes
Looking across to Jordan from the Church of the Beatitudes

Our tour was joined by the tour guide's brother and his wife for a couple of days
Our tour was joined by the tour guide's brother and his wife for a couple of days

It was back to the hotel at this point, but we didn't stay long, we headed out again shortly after to walk around the kibbutz this place is part of. Was quite surprised to see a small dairy farm with a bunch of calves. So cute!

Entrance to a bunker at the kibbutz where we stayed
Entrance to a bunker at the kibbutz where we stayed

Calf on the kibbutz
Calf on the kibbutz

Cattle shed on the kibbutz
Cattle shed on the kibbutz

Did a bit more washing before using the internet for a while.

Kebab meat for dinner with more salad. I'm going to miss all the wonderful salads here when we leave.

Distance covered on the GPS: 49.9km
Steps walked: 13774
Photos on the Canon: 495
Photos on the Sony: 21
Videos: 20

Well my day started at 6am when I had a light suddenly shone in my face. Woke up to see dad walking out the door.

?!?!?

As it turns out he'd accidently knocked the switch with his shoulder on his way out and didn't notice. But still. #grunt

Got up around 6:30.

Snuck in a little internet before breakfast (huge as always).

Drove through Cana but didn't stop there.

Heading south from Ginosar, looking towards Mount Arbel
Heading south from Ginosar, looking towards Mount Arbel (on the left)

Cana
Cana

Our first stop of the day was Zippori, which is a roman town they've been excavating over the past few years. It was a pretty awesome place with some stunning mosaics. Did get frustrated again at the pace. Spent the first half an hour there basically just listening to talks, which don't get me wrong are interesting and all, but I want to *see* stuff as well. They were initially talking about only spending half an hour there and not seeing the theatre and crusade fortress, but fortunately we did get to see all those as well.

Main street in Zippori
Main street in Zippori

Excavations in Zippori
Excavations in Zippori

Mosaics<br>Photo by Dad
Mosaics
Photo by Dad

Mosaics
Mosaics

Mosaics
Mosaics

Mosaics
Mosaics

Mosaics
Mosaics

Mosaics
Mosaics

Zippori
Zippori

Zippori
Zippori

Theatre in Zippori
Theatre in Zippori

Crusades fortress in Zippori
Crusades fortress in Zippori

They recycled stone wherever possible - here's a sarcophagus built into the foundations of the fortress
They recycled stone wherever possible - here's a sarcophagus built into the foundations of the fortress

View of excavations from the fortress
View of excavations from the fortress

Looking towards Nazareth from the fortress
Looking towards Nazareth from the fortress

Mosaic in the fortress
Mosaic in the fortress

Mosaic in the fortress
Mosaic in the fortress

Just down the hill from there was the Zippori water system, which was a reservoir attached to a spring, with some tunnels as well. Walked through the reservoir and then the tunnel which was completely dark (good thing I took my torch) so that was a lot of fun.

Zippori water reservoirs and plumbing
Zippori water reservoirs and plumbing

Inside the Zippori water system
Inside the Zippori water system

Me in the Zippori water system
Me in the Zippori water system
Photo by Mum

Next stop was Nazareth. Drove past Mary's Well, but didn't stop.

Mary's Well
Mary's Well

Had lunch at "Holy Land Restaurant". Again, good but altogether too much food.

Manhole cover
Manhole cover

Inside the Holy Land Restaurant where we had lunch<br>Photo by Dad
Inside the Holy Land Restaurant where we had lunch
Photo by Dad

Then walked to Custodia Di Terra Santa/Basilica of the Annunciation, which is this big modern church built atop of what has traditionally been known as "Mary's House".

Basilica of The Annunciation
Basilica of The Annunciation

Basilica of The Annunciation<br>Photo by Dad
Basilica of The Annunciation
Photo by Dad

Inside the Basilica of The Annunciation<br>Photo by Dad
Inside the Basilica of The Annunciation
Photo by Dad

Basilica of The Annunciation
Basilica of The Annunciation

Basilica of The Annunciation
Basilica of The Annunciation

Roof of the Basilica of The Annunciation
Roof of the Basilica of The Annunciation

Basilica of The Annunciation
Basilica of The Annunciation

Basilica of The Annunciation
Basilica of The Annunciation

Ancient street excavations under the basilica
Ancient street excavations under the basilica

More walking, this time to "The Synagogue Church" which, according to tradition (hmmm), was where Jesus preached in Luke 4. Whether it actually was or not, it was pretty awesome being in the town that Jesus grew up, and seeing the hills around that he was nearly pushed off.

Walking through street markets in Nazareth
Walking through street markets in Nazareth

The Synagogue Church<br>Photo by Dad
The Synagogue Church
Photo by Dad

The last stop of the day was to the top of Mount Arbel which has some pretty cool cliffs and some awesome views of the Sea of Galilee. We'd only just made it to the top when very suddenly a change came through and we were nearly blown off the top! It suddenly made very real the story of the storm on the Sea. We'll be going on the sea tomorrow, hope the weather is better!

View off Mount Arbel
View off Mount Arbel

Cliffs of Mount Arbel
Cliffs of Mount Arbel

Ginosar from Mount Arbel
Ginosar from Mount Arbel

Mum and tree on top of Mount Arbel
Mum and tree on top of Mount Arbel

Coming down Mount Arbel
Coming down Mount Arbel

Passing Sea Level in Tiberias
Passing Sea Level in Tiberias

Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee

Washed a few tshirts (it seems I only have five tshirts, I could have sworn I had a few more, that'll learn me to listen to people that told me to take stuff out #grunt) then did computery stuff before dinner. Apparently there was goat as one of the dishes - go figure!

From 6pm tonight til 6pm tomorrow is Holocaust Remembrance Day here.

Distance covered on the GPS: 115.8km
Steps walked: 15173
Photos on the Canon: 505
Photos on the Sony: 55
Videos: 21
USD spent: 1
NIS spent: 23

Last night I pretty much passed out at 9:30 and fell asleep before the parents even got back to the room from their walk.

Unfortunately I also woke up at 5am this morning :( Mum woke up at 3am and dad early too.

We all gave up and got up around 6am.

Breakfast was at 7:30. So much yummy food, but I didn't eat *too* much!

Piled into the coach and left the hotel by 8:30.

First stop was Caesarea. This was amazingly cool place, complete with old palace floors, a hippodrome and theatre. We walked into the hippodrome and I had the urge to run around it ala Ben Hur style. Unfortunately we didn't have time to do that. In fact it quickly became a case of ignoring the history talks so I could go get photos. Because it was a case of walk somewhere with the group, stop and listen, then move onto the next location, but keep up! Don't get lost! So the only way I could get any photos was to just keep an eye on the group but really just do my own thing. Most frustrating. And really only scratched the surface of all there was to see there.

Back of the theatre at Caesarea Maritima
Back of the theatre at Caesarea Maritima

Part of the palace at Caesarea Maritima
Part of the palace at Caesarea Maritima

Caesarea hippodrome
Caesarea hippodrome

Caesarea hippodrome
Caesarea hippodrome

Caesarea
Caesarea

Waves crashing against the hippodrome
Waves crashing against the hippodrome

Shells on the beach
Shells on the beach

In the palace area
In the palace area

Remains of the lower palace
Remains of the lower palace

Mosaics
Mosaics

Replica casting of the Pilate Stone
Replica casting of the Pilate Stone

Restored theatre<br>Photo by Dad
Restored theatre
Photo by Dad

Went up the road to see some more excavations. Then went a bit further up to see a way cool aqueduct. But we couldn't get out, so just had to get photos out the bus window as we drove past it :(

Ancient street behind the temple at Caesarea
Ancient street behind the temple at Caesarea

Roman aqueduct<br>Photo by Dad
Roman aqueduct
Photo by Dad

Roman aqueduct
Roman aqueduct

Roman aqueduct
Roman aqueduct

Next stop was Mount Carmel, where Elijah faced off against Ahab's prophets. Awesome view from the top of the mountain of the Jezreel valley.

Jezreel Valley from Mount Carmel
Jezreel Valley from Mount Carmel

Military airport
Military airport

Carmelite Monastery<br>Photo by Dad
Carmelite Monastery
Photo by Dad

Stopped for lunch at a local restaurant on Mount Carmel. Tonnes of good food. I'm amazed by the salads in this country. Heaps of fresh food for salads, it's great!

Lunch time salad buffet
Lunch time salad buffet

Then down to Megido (Armegeddon) to see a man-made hill which was actually thousands of years of settlements built on top of each other. Fascinating place, but again, not enough time to just go explore :(

Tombs at Mishmar HaEmek
Tombs at Mishmar HaEmek

Megido
Megido

Stairs at Megido
Stairs at Megido

City gates
City gates

Some sort of kestral
Some sort of kestral

Excavations at Megido
Excavations at Megido

Megido
Megido

Megido
Megido

Grain silo
Grain silo

Stables
Stables

Megido<br>Photo by Mum
Megido
Photo by Mum

Heading down into the water tunnel
Heading down into the water tunnel

Water tunnel under the city
Water tunnel under the city

Another mountain next up - Mount Tabor. The road up is narrow and windy and too small for coaches, so you have to stop half way up to catch minibuses the rest of the way. We got there at a good time, as several coaches pulled up after us. "The Church of the Revelation" was at the top which was originally a crusades church but now has a modern catholic church there.

Nazareth.  Everywhere in Israel towns are built at the top of hills, not at the bottom (where the water is) like in Australia.  I found it quite odd.
Nazareth. Everywhere in Israel towns are built at the top of hills, not at the bottom (where the water is) like in Australia. I found it quite odd.

Church of the Transfiguration
Church of the Transfiguration

Church of the Transfiguration
Church of the Transfiguration

Church of the Transfiguration
Church of the Transfiguration

Church of the Transfiguration
Church of the Transfiguration

Church of the Transfiguration
Church of the Transfiguration

Photo of Mount Tabor in the minibus
Photo of Mount Tabor in the minibus

View off Mount Tabor
View off Mount Tabor

At this point my GPS was flashing its low battery light, but it hung in there til we arrived at our hotel on the Sea of Galilee. The sea is smaller than I thought it would be. And today it was dead calm.

My room at Ginosar, Galilee
My room at Ginosar, Galilee

Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee

Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee
Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee

Another amazing dinner and then I setup in the cafe to use the internet (first internet since Hong Kong. I could have paid $5/30 min or $20/day to use it at the last place but didn't on principle).

View from the dining room towards Tiberias
View from the dining room towards Tiberias

Distance covered on the GPS: 203.4km
Steps walked: 13533
Photos on the Canon: 995
Photos on the Sony: 26
Videos: 28
USD spent: 1