Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day 10 Israel - Sea of Galilee

We spent this day touring about Galilee where Jesus spent a lot of his ministry.

 First thing in the morning we got on a boat on the Sea of Galilee.

The boat was wooden to give the feel of boats in the time of Jesus.

 Elder Madsen gave a great talk.  He talked about the events in the bible when Jesus was on the Sea of Galilee, like calling his disciples or calming the sea during a storm.  He also talked about the time Jesus walked on water and Paul walked on water too.

 Here a view of the land where Jesus taught from the boat and also gave the Sermon on the Mount.

 We landed and Elder Madsen talked to us about the events at this spot where the Sermon on the Mount took place.

 In the church here you can see all the beatitudes.  It's in Latin and Beati means blessed.

 This park is where the Sermon on the Mount took place.

 Next we went to Capernaum where Jesus spent a lot of his ministry, and hence it's now called the City of Jesus.  He performed a lot of miracles here.

 Some ruins of an ancient synagogue at Capernaum.  Jesus probably spoke taught here.   This is where there was a small fishermen's village and Jesus met the man who asked him to heal his sick daughter.  Jesus then went to his home and raised the young maiden back to life, saying Talitha cumni, which means arise little damsel or little lamb..

 More ruins.  They believe the mother in law of Peter lived here and Peter lived there with her at times.

 Next we went further north to a rocky place where the water flows out of the mountain, a natural spring.  This is where David was hiding and Saul came there and David could have killed him but he didn't.

 We saw the old fortress city of Dan.  Which was the northern most tribe.  They discovered this when modern Israeli's were digging fortifications to protect Golan Heights from the Syrians.

 This was a great city of Israel at one time and the Ten Tribes built a temple here to compete with the temple Judah had in Jerusalem.

 Some trenches the Israeli's built overlooking the Golan Heights.

 Saw some troops on maneuvers when we hiked up a big hill to overlook the valley.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Day 9 Israel - Masada

Today was mostly a travel day as we left Egypt and went into Israel road the tour bus all the way to our hotel in Tiberias.  We had a very long bus ride and a time consuming border crossing.  We passed Lot's Wife Monument. We did get to stop at Masada.

We saw an actual Jewish Rabbi who was copying the Torah by hand onto a scroll, just like they've done for centuries.

 We got to take a tram up to the top of Masada.  This was an old fortress build by Herod the Great.  Later it was used by the Jews during their revolt from the Roman Empire.  After Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by the Romans, this was their last resort of retreat where they tried to hold out.

 This is a cistern on top.  They were for storing water which they collected when it rained through a system of stone gutters.

 Here's where the tram arrived at the top.

 A view back off the mountain that shows how far up we were. Doug walked/ran all the way down.

Masada is a dome shaped flat top mountain and the fortress there was considered impregnable.  They built a wall all around the top and also Herod built a palace there.

 Some of the ruins on top.

 They held out for a long time against the Romans

You can see the ruins of a Roman encampment way down off the mountain.(It is in the middle of the picture, the darker square area.)  The Romans sent the Tenth Legion and 15,000 troops to lay siege to Masada and the 960 people there.  Romans built a wall all around the bottom of the mountain so no one could escape.  Then they built a massive ramp all the way to the top.  Then pushed up the ramp a giant siege tower with a battering ram.  There was a terrible battle but they finally breached the entrance.  The next day when they entered they found the Jewish defenders dead from a mass suicide.  There was only  one women and  couple children alive to tell the story.

Israel now considers Masada and their sacrifice as a symbol of the fight for liberty.  They said at the end, they would rather die as free men than live as slaves.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day 8 Egypt - Red Sea

We spent the day today at our resort hotel at Taba on the Red Sea. This was a resting day and not a sightseeing day.   We decided to do an extra excursion--snorkeling.

The highlight of the day was a boat trip out to an island to so some snorkeling. We could see Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia from the boat.

 This island had a fortress on it built by King Saladin, the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria.  He led the Muslims in fights against the crusaders and fought many battles against Richard the Lionhearted.  At the end they became friends.

 There were coral reefs around the island and that's where we got to do the snorkeling.

 A view of the coral there and some colorful fish. This is not a picture we took and the colors were not as bright as this, but it was great. 

We even saw some elusive Lion Fish.

 A view of the Red Sea from the back of our boat.

 The beach and a camel at the life guard station by our hotel.

Sunrise on the Red Sea.  This is the view from the balcony in our room. The buffet food at this hotel was also good, but not as great as at the other hotel and the ship.