Friday, May 5, 2017

Gate One tour Tiberias to Tel Aviv

We left Jerusalem on March 6 and drove north.  Before we left the city we got a good picture from Mt. Scopus, the highest point in Jerusalem.

Even though we had some cold days in Jerusalem the spring flowers were out in abundance.

We stopped at the Bet She'an National Park which is an old Roman city dating back to King Saul that was destroyed by an earthquake in 749 CE.  Restoration is still in progress on this 400 acre site.

The auditorium would seat 7000.  Barb got on stage and proved that the actors could be heard very easily in the large auditorium.

 My turn at the stage.

One of the more interesting sections is the public bathhouse.  This was the "toilet" area and Lynn is doing her business while reading the tour brochure. 

I am at the toilets also.

The large pillars are still standing but some have fallen.

There were corny silhouettes,  so this one I called my drinking buddy.

There was a large spa area in really good shape.  They heated their bathhouse by getting these small pillars hot.

We stopped at the mighty Jordan River and Yardenit baptismal site.  Of course the Jordan River is not mighty and you have to pay around $40 for a gown, certificate, and use of changing room if you truly want an emmerison.  

Ellen and Barb and the rest of us were content to wade into the Jordan.

Two members of our tour did the baptismal package.

After lunch we visited the biblical town of Capharnaum which was Jesus base during his ministry.

I am standing on the shores of the Sea of Galilee 

Like all the ancient ruins they built a worship center on top of the ruin at Capernaum.

That night we stayed in a kibbutz which was very fancy called Ma'an Eden Holiday house.  It is on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

We saw some peacocks.  This one was right outside our room.

The next day, March 7, we went to Safed, which is a small artist town on a hill.  One famous resident was an escappee of a Nazi concentration camp and had this art gallery.  His 'Mother with child' sculpture is a. National symbol.

Again, narrow streets and lots of shopping opportunities.

We stopped at another Kibbutz called Gadad.  The lady below with Dan, one of the tour members, is the head of this Kibbutz.  They make plastic boxes (Plasgad) for the income of the kibbutz.  They had been through two wars -1967 and 1973 - and there were many bunkers and fallout shelters on the property.

We were treated to a nice lunch at the kibbutz .  Most of our food has been grilled chicken, kabobs (grilled hamburger) cucumbers, tomatoes, rice, hummus, pita bread.  Sometimes we had fish, but rarely.

The Golan Heights is in the northern part of Israel on the border of Syria.  There was a war with Syria here in 1973. Just below the hill is the "Valley of Tears" where so many Israeli soldiers were killed.  There was evidence of bunkers, mines, barbed wire, and military presence.  When we were there, and now it is a tourist destination, there were two UN soldiers keeping an eye on the Syrian border.

Syria -

UN soldiers from Norway and Finland keeping an eye on Syria.  In the background is the only mountain in Israel that has a ski area, Mt. Herman.

We ended our day by going to a winery at the Golan Heights.  We had a wine tasting and then, of course, the opportunity to purchase wine.  And we did!  

March 8 - drove to Nazareth and toured the church of Annunciation, where Mary received word that she was pregnant with Jesus.  The church is not very old, 30 years, and it is built over the home of Mary.  On the walls in the church are paintings of Mary sent from different countries.

This is the sacred area of Mary's home where she got the word from Gabriel.  People are lined up to walk by it.

The church worship area.

All the pictures on the walls are impressions of Mary from different countries.

The ruins under the church.

Hafia is the third largest city in Israel and is their biggest port city.  We drove by the Baha'i gardens at the base.

This is the top of the gardens looking down at the city of Hafia.

Continuing south along the Mediterranean coastline, we went to Caesarea, a very large and important Roman city.  It was once the richest city in this area.  Herod built a large port city here during his rule between the years 37-4 BCE and named it after Octavian Augustus Caesar.

The theater seats 4000 and is still in use today.

Bobbie and Ellen sitting on the stage.

Walking out to the amphitheater which was used for horse races and sporting events.  The pillars are what remains of an impressive palace

We only stayed in Tel Aviv for one night.  Just long enough to walk the broad walk by the beach and have dinner and say our goodbyes to everyone.  We were suppose to have a panoramic driving tour of Tel Aviv but that never happened.  I think our tour guide, Simon, wanted to get home!

We enjoyed our Israel portion of our trip.  Now it is on to Jordan for the second leg.