Friday, March 11, 2011

A Change of Pace

Hello again blog readers. Today's post will be a little more laid-back than the previous few posts. We headed north into the Golan Heights area which encompasses most of the northern part of the country. Our first stop was Dan, home of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. We saw some ruins as we drove but since it was still raining we weren't able to go see them. We did stop briefly at a nature preserve there and saw one of the springs that feeds into the Jordan River. It was super pretty.

Then we started our ascent up into the Golan Heights. Leor explained about the 6 day war in Israel as we drove and showed us different places of interest. We then stopped at Caesarea Phillipi where they had another natural springs and ruins of a pegan temple. The place was interesting but I wasn't very fond of it, it was where Jesus Called Peter a rock of faith and said "Upon this rock I will build my church.

After that we Drove along the Lebanon border. It was quite menacing with electronic security fences and a guard there watching. There were also mine fields everywhere. They were fenced off of course  but it is just a completely different world over here. Until now I really hadn't seen much evidence of it, but today was definitely different.

Then we stopped at the Nimrod Fortress and explored a bit. It Wes pretty slick because of the rains but it was fun to see this huge fortress up on top of the mountain. I stayed to the outside of the fortress but everyone else went inside and explored. It was just a bit too slick for me.

Then we drove up to Mount Herman, which is where many believe that Jesus was transfigured on the mountain. We didn't actually stop because at that high of elevation the rains had turned to snow. There was probably at least 2 inches in some places which made the roads kinda slick. It was funny because everywhere we looked there were people outside throwing snowballs, sledding, or making a snowman. There were even people who had pulled off the roads in order to play in the snow.

Then we headed off to lunch at this little pizzaria. The food was delicious and I had been hungry for pizza for awhile now. :)

After that we continued down the Golan Heights to the valley below. Leor told us of the stories about when the Jews returned to Israel after WWII and the only land left was not suitable for farming, but through their faith on God, the land became the most prosperous in the nation. We also saw our 6th rainbow today as we were driving through the mountains.

Finally we stopped at Leor's cousin's house to visit. We were able to see what a typical modern family house looks like in Israel. We also learned that at the Jewish feast of Purim the children dress up in costumes similar to our Halloween costumes.

Then back at the hotel I headed down to the shores of the Sea of Galilee for some quiet prayer time. I came away feeling so refreshed and rejuvenated, even though most of the time it was raining.

After we ate dinner, we all hung out in the lobby for awhile because that is the only place we can get internet access. This is without a doubt one of my favorite times of each day...just relaxing, processing the day, and teasing and joking with one another. I really feel like I know each of my traveling mates so well and many of them I only met on this trip. Everyone is so completely awesome and I feel so comfortable with is truly amazing!

Well, off to bed so I can rise early I. The morning. We are packing up and leaving the Sea of Galilee for Jerusalem and all the awesome things to see at the southern end of the country. And I get to ride a camel tomorrow...should be fun. :)

Oh and I forgot to post this earlier but the Internet is pretty slow here so I haven't been able to upload any pictures...we are hoping the speed in Jerusalem is faster and I can upload them then.

Until my next post, see you all soon!

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