Several people at church came and said, “Welcome home.” It’s not like I was gone that long, but it is nice to feel missed and appreciated. And, it is a big deal going to Israel for 10 days. Some of these people will never visit. I hope I can be their eyes (through my camera).
Right after Sacrament Meeting I was nabbed to play piano in Primary. It was fun. The kids were sure wound up, however.
It is cold today. It’s in the low teens. As a result, I came home from church and sought warmth.
My fingers, knees and toes are all cold. I don’t remember my knees getting cold like this before. It must have something to do with my baker’s cysts.
At dinner I gave the sisters a 10 Argot coin from Israel. I picked up several while I was there. Most of them are going to grandchildren.
100 Argots make 1 shekel. They don’t make 1 Argot coins. The smallest denomination is 10. They were worth about 3 cents at today’s exchange rate.
They are also about the same size as a 10 Shekel coin. However, a 10 Shekel coin is worth about $3. Unscrupulous shop owners may try to pass a 10 Argot off as a 10 Shekel coin.
I often welcome snow, but this dang snow is very COLD. It started off at 9″ and is now about 12″ (and has stopped for the day.) It took a while to clear the driveway because the snow would fall to the side of the blower and I’d have to go back for a second pass.
Someone posted a picture on Facebook complaining about the 18″ snow. They showed two things in the picture that were points of reference: 1) a small snow shovel with a blade about 8″ hight, and 2) the 4″ clapboard on their house. It was 12″, not 18″.
Snowstorms, like fish, are always bigger than reality.
I’m working on blog updates for days missed while I was traveling. It is a lot of work, but the feedback has been positive.
It is so cold in the studio that I can’t get things warm enough for my fingers to move quickly. Brrr… this cold snap is a strong one. However, I keep plodding (blogging) along.
I have not touched my winter projects yet. Of course, the year started with a 10 day trip overseas, and now I’m playing catch up.
One of my winter projects is a posing corner for my Phicen figures. Elizabethe gave me a hard time that I wasn’t this interested when she was doing Barbie stuff. Hmmm… I think part of it is Barbie is not realistic, and Barbie doesn’t pose well.
I ordered an older version that is hard plastic so Elizabethe can use it as a dress form. The silicone ones are too expensive and fragile.
This is our last full day in Israel. We leave early tomorrow morning to catch our flight home. We’re heading to Northern Israel near the Lebanon and Syria borders.
I started the day going to the beach to watch and photograph the sunrise. Matt and Becca took me up on my offer to be photographed. So did Lehi and his sons Laman, Lemuel, and Nephi. We were also joined by Mahonri Moriancumer.
After a good breakfast…
… we headed to Tiberias for Matt to see a doctor. He’s been coughing a lot and we’re all worried that he’s getting sicker. As a result, Becca found a place where he can get in this morning to see a doctor.
We got to Tiberias, found the pharmacy and doctor’s office, and I hung out outside taking pictures. I did go in for a short while to find they have Voltairan Gel for a fraction of the cost and over-the-counter! (The USA is the only country according to my doctor that requires a prescription for this gel. It’s for joint pain.)
Church of the Beatitudes
The Church of the Beatitudes was the next stop. I imagine the Sermon on the Mount covered much ground. This church is located in the vicinity of where we suspect it took place.
Banias is a spring and river near a place the scriptures calls Caesarea Philippi. Some believe Jesus and his apostles frequented this area. When you see it, you can understand why. It is beautiful.
Today we visit several sacred sites. We start with Capernaum, then where Jesus fed the 5,000. From there we go see a 1st Century boat (like what Peter might have owned), Mount Tabor (the Mount of Transfiguration), and end with some good shawarma.
But first, a good breakfast…
This is where Jesus begins calling his apostles. This small lakeside village was the place of many miracles.
After Capernaum we drove a little west to where Christ would have fed the 5,000 from two loaves and five fishes. It is also near here where the resurrected Christ came and told Peter to ‘Feed my sheep’.
John had a great idea. He brought some bread and pieces of fish. We partook and thought about that great miracle performed here over 2,000 years ago.
An Ancient Boat
We saw an ancient boat that dates back to Jesus’ time. We couldn’t photograph the boat, but here’s a model of what it would have looked like. All that remains today is a large portion of the hull. It is preserved in a climate controlled room, and thus, they don’t allow photography in that room.
This is a favorite of mine in the Holy Land. It is here that Peter, James and John went with Jesus. As Jesus prayed, they were witness to Elijah and Moses appearing and passing on sacred keys.
We’re off to Karei Deshe today. It is on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. The nearest city is Tiberias.
In doing my studies on this area, Tiberias was a city Caesar Augustus (his step-father) named after him. There is no indications that Jesus spent any time in Tiberias. (I surmise this is because he was sent unto the Jews, and not the Romans.)
Not far the other direction is where Jesus fed the multitude, taught the beatitudes, and called his apostles. The city of Capernaum is close by. It is also where Peter lived.
On our way to our hostel, we stopped at Caesarea. This mediterranean city was founded by Herod about 30 B.C. and is named after Caesar Augustus. This seaport city (its ruins) are spectacular.
We gathered at the bottom of the amphitheater for a group picture. I got a kick out of the lady I asked to take the picture. She complained that we were facing in to the sun. I assured her I knew what I was doing, and so did my fellow travelers.
(By the way, you always want the sun to your subject’s back so they aren’t squinting and so you don’t have ugly shadows on their faces.)\
I found this inscription intriguing:
“Pontius Pilatus, the prefect of Judea, erected a building dedicated to the Emperor Tiberius.”
is what they believe it to have said in whole.
The ancient port was an engineering marvel for its time. Concrete that cured underwater was one of the marvels.
And, check out these Segway tours! That looks fun.
On to Armageddon
On our way to Her Megido (aka Armegeddon), we passed this sign…
Who knew there was a Route 66 in Israel. I can say I’ve driven BOTH.
Her Megido is an impressive site (and sight). This mountain top city has been fought over many times and it is prophesied that the last battle will take place here.
From the Old Testament Student’s Manual I’ve copied the following. My comments are in italics:
According to the prophets, some important events must take place before the battle actually begins:
The house of Israel will be gathered from among the heathen (the Gentiles) and returned to their own land (see Ezekiel 36:24; 37:21). in progress
It is amazing to lookout from atop Megido. The view is spectacular, thus, you can see why it is a military advantage point.
Our next stop is a new one for me. Mt. Carmel is where Elijah and the Priest of Baal had their standoff. Elijah challenged them to call fire from heaven. When they failed, he had them douse the alter with water before he called fire down. The fire consumed the wood as well as the altar itself.
To my dismay we didn’t find much to see up there except for a nice view of the sunset.
Dinner and Our Hostel
We stopped for dinner on our way to Karei Deshe. It is a little steakhouse just west of Karei Deshe and the English translation of its name is Angus.
I ordered lamb chops. It is the first time I’ve had lamb (that wasn’t ground) in Israel. I know that seems strange, but it is expensive here.
We checked in to our rooms at the Hi Kerei Deshe Hostel. It’s a nice place. Furthermore, my room can sleep four! That’s a bit of an overkill, of course.
Church here in Jerusalem is always a delight. It’s funny… I’m starting to see people I know when I go to church here! Let’s see… Jeremy (formerly of Antioch), John Howell (from Rochester), Brent Top, Gerald Lund, Jr., Dan Rona… they are who I saw today.
After church we ventured outside. The rain has stopped and the clouds are dramatic.
We are now going to Caiaphas’ house. This is a church built over Caiaphas’ house. Jesus was brought to Caiaphas, the chief priest, and there he was held in the basement, whipped and scourged. As a result, this is a sobering location.
Under this church are a series of stone rooms where they kept the sacrificial animals. Little did they know the man they tied was the Lamb of God. (Here’s a good video of what happened here: https://youtu.be/4A6usoBnqNs )
Outside Peter denied Christ three times. Jesus had warned Peter this would happen, however, Peter did not want to accept he could do such a thing. When the cock crowed, it was then he recognized what he had just done. As a result, “And he went out, and wept bitterly.”
What happened here wasn’t good, but it is still sacred. Prophecies were fulfilled.
While one does not need to visit Jerusalem to get closer to God. However, visiting Jerusalem and seeing these sites will change your life.
We learned that Shabbat ends after the first star can be seen in the sky. Because it was about to end, we made our way towards the old City to see if we could find a place to eat once the Sabbath ends.
The City of David was a district just south of Jerusalem. When the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in the 1st Century, they left no stone unturned, and the City of David was buried in Rubble.
It is important to note that the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was bad. The entire old city was razed, which fulfilled prophecy (Matt.24:1-8). What we see today is not what existed at meridian of time. In fact, some modern archaeologist question if the Dome of the Rock is actually on the Temple Mount! They say it was more towards the City of David. (Now, that is interesting because that would mean the temple could be built without disturbing any of the Islamic sites. However, it would also mean the Western Wall was not part of Solomon’s Temple.)
We visited the excavation of the City of David today. This modern excavation, in time, will answer many questions.
The railing you see in the picture above are walkways. To the center left, the slope down is the ancient City of David. To the right of center is the Dome of the Rock.
The visitors’ center at the City of David is quite nice. John and Linda took time to take pictures of the carving on the wall.
We were waiting for Matt and Becca in the gift shop. It was cold and rainy outside. The one young lady (the blond) was from San Antonio, Texas. She explained dreidels usually say, “Something Important Happened There.” The ones sold in the City of David say (in Hebrew), “Something Important Happened Here.”
Hezekiah built a tunnel under the City of David. Today you can walk that tunnel. Actually, there are two tunnels, one for the water, the other for access by people. We walked the dry one.
The water from the tunnel empties in to the Pool of Shiloam (or Siloam). This pool is where those going to the temple would stop and wash. Today, it is an archeological discovery (discovered in 2004). As a result of this discovery, we can now visit the very steps where Jesus healed the blind man.
It is a special place to be in this tunnel (above). Because of the destruction of Jerusalem, these steps would have been outdoors in Jesus’ time. However, today they in this reinforced tunnel where they are still working on uncovering what the Roman’s covered in 70 A.D.
I neglected to mention my breakfast. Here’s an example of breakfast at the Abraham Hostel: milk, salad, yogurt, bread, jam, hard boiled eggs and an orange.
It’s okay for a few days, but if you’re staying long term it can get a bit boring.
On the way to the car, in a puddle of water, Linda found a glove she lost. She was so excited to find it… as you can see (below).
We stopped at Omar so I could purchase a carving of Jesus for Elder and Sister Riggs (you can see it on the 2nd shelf above Brent Top’s elbow.) And, I ran in to Brent Top. It’s funny because Omar and I were just talking about him the other day, and … here he is.
I asked him to point to his business card on Omar’s shelf.
For lunch we stopped at a convenience store. The weather got nasty and we picked up some stuff to eat at the hostel.
Dinner was at the hostel. They put on a Shabbat Dinner every Friday night. It’s a nice time and you always meet new people. We sat by a couple. He was German and she was Russian.
Our next stop is Omar’s Souvenirs. Omar’s place is in the area behind the bus station near the Garden Tomb. Omar is the world’s best woodcarver. On our way to his shop we cut through the bus station and market place.
We stopped for bagels. Bagels in Israel are long. They are almost a loaf of bread.
You see a few people wearing kefias (headdress like the one in the picture above). Red and white usually means Jordanian.
As we got close to Omar’s office, Omar came out of the barbershop and yelled, “Are you coming to see me?”
He came over and gave me a big hug and asked how I have been doing. We came in to his shop and one of the first things John found was this…
Everyone got something at Omar’s, and then Omar treated us to juice and lunch.
Off we went to our next destination – through the Damascus Gate.
We made another stop at the Garden Tomb. It was raining and nobody was there. That allowed me to snap a couple of photos with the place empty.
Pool of Bethesda
We stopped to see the place where Jesus was condemned to death. From there, it is only a short walk to the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed a man.
Soon we found ourselves in tight alleyways and before long, on the school grounds. A man showed us around pointing out various sights around the old city. He then walked us out of that quarter of the old city.
We ended the day in the Yahuda area. I went for 1/2 a shawarma and a Coke. I’m glad I didn’t order the WHOLE shawarma.
There’s a lot of good in Jerusalem, but the Jerusalem post office isn’t one of them. Think of going to the D.M.V. in California just to get a stamp to mail a postcard. Yes, it is that bad. And knowing this, I opted to wait outside and take some pictures on the street while others went to buy some stamps.
Linda and John finally emerged from the post office. Linda showed me her Israel stamps featuring the Statue of Liberty.
Backing up to earlier in the day, here’s a picture of John at the front desk of our hostel. I love the sign on the wall, “Come on, get a room.”
The guy behind John was one of my roommates – Andrew. Andrew is from the U.K. but currently living in Germany. He was one of 3 of my roommates last night.
We boarded the train and road three stops – Jaffa Center, Jaffa Gate and Central Bus Station. The bus station and Garden Tomb are back to back as you will see from my pictures.
This is an old section of town just outside the Damascus Gate. It is largely an Arab population in this part of town.
On to the Tomb
The Garden Tomb is one of two sites believed to be where Jesus was resurrected. Several Latter-day prophets have commented this is the place. Before getting to the tomb, our guide stopped and showed a winepress and explained this was a garden at Christ’s time.
On our tour I saw this girl wearing a Sac State shirt. I walked up and said, “Sac State! My alma mater.” She looked at me like, “REALLY!”
Something is funny about WordPress. If I add too many photos it crashes on me. So, here’s the Dead Sea II, as in Part II.
When I last left you we were at the Baptismal Site of Jesus. Well, here I am at the site.
John wanted to put his feet in the water. While I’m perfectly content to keep my feet dry, I have no problem photographing those who want to get wet.
Across the river is the Country of Jordan. Many visitors come to that side too. I found it interesting how two years ago, Google Maps would take you to either side. Now, it acts as though the Israli side doesn’t exist. Hmmm… I smell politics at Google.
We chatted with two IDF soldiers. They were friendly and nice. U.S. relations with Israel are at a peak right now.
Masada is our next destination. It is an amazing place to visit. It gives insight to Herod. Herod is the man who ordered all baby boys killed in an attempt to kill the Promised Messiah. Well, we know how that turned out, and we also know how things turned out at Masada.
I rode the tram to the top with Linda and Becca. In the pictures you can see a square below. That’s one of the Roman encampments.
In the above picture, there is a hairpin turn. Those two dark specs on the trail are John and Matt.
Now they are quite a bit closer.
How Low Can You Go
I love this spot. The lowest place on earth. It’s something to say you’ve been there, and you’d go back if you need to.
We watched the sun go down and it was a beautiful sunset.
When we got back to Jerusalem we found a shawarma shop. I decided to try falafel again. This time it wasn’t as bad as the first time. Becca convinced me when she said how much she loves the stuff.
Verdict – it was better this time, but not something I’m wild about.