Monday, April 30, 2018

April A to Z Challenge: Z is for Zippori National Park and Zacchaeus

I can't believe it -- 26 days of blogging - the A to Z of Israel!!

Z is for Zippori National Park

We didn’t go to Zippori in 2018 (I don’t think!) but we did in 2016. It was the first archeological site we saw – I still had on my dress from the airplane. I was captivated from the beginning! Since 1990, large areas of Zippori have been excavated – they have found unbelievable mosaics on the floor. One of the mosaics is called the “Mona Lisa of the Galilee.” The ancient city is located in the Lower Galilee region of northern Israel and it was described by Josephus Flavius, the Jewish historian, as the “ornament of all Galilee.”
We had flown all night and all day and were exhausted but seeing this site filled me with excitement!

amazing mosaics above and

Z is for Zacchaeus

First of all – my apologies! I evidently don’t know how to spell Zaccheus (in my mind!). According to most websites, it is Zacchaeus!

Here are the lyrics for the children’s song – If you grew up in church, you may remember singing this:
Zacchaeus was a wee little man
And a wee little man was he
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see
And when the Savior passed that way
He looked up in the tree
And said, “Zacchaeus, you come down!
For I’m going to your house today.”
You may remember that I mentioned Zacchaeus when I talked about Jericho.

the tree of Zacchaeus in Jericho

Jericho - the oldest city in the world

Saturday, April 28, 2018

April A to Z Challenge: Y is for YMCA and Yardenit and Yalla

Y is for YMCA
Jerusalem YMCA was dedicated in 1933, after 7 years of construction, with the words “Here is a spot whose atmosphere is peace, where political and religious jealousies can be forgotten and international unity be fostered and developed.”
There are rooms available – hotel style. The lobby is uniquely beautiful.
Our tour guide, Rafi, told us about the YMCA which was a short walk from our hotel. There is an elevator inside the lobby that takes you up in the tower (for six shekels!). They won’t run the elevator for just one person – I went by myself but lucky for me, I ran into two of my travelmates and the three of us were able to go to the top.
The view of the city of Jerusalem was amazing!

photo credit: Ron Peled
outside of YMCA

photo credit: ItravelJerusalem -- lobby of YMCA

view from the tower

me - in winter coat so this was 2018! I did use
it!! - on top of the tower of the YMCA

View of the King David Hotel from the YMCA tower

another view from the top of the YMCA tower in downtown

Y is for Yardenit
Yardenit is situated on the banks of the Jordan River, at the Southern tip of the Sea of Galilee. One of our first days begins at this site. White robes are available for rent in case you haven’t already been baptized and would like to be baptized. (In the United Methodist Church, we believe in one baptism and we don’t rebaptize BUT we remember our baptism using some of the water from the Jordan River. A sign of the cross is made on our forehead with the water.)
You can purchase smoothies and all sorts of other trinkets in their gift shop. I brought back some small bottles of Jordan River water in 2016 and 2018.

Y is for Yalla
No pictures for this one but another word --
Yalla is slang for "let's get going" so our tour
guide would say, "yalla yalla!" to us.

Friday, April 27, 2018

April A to Z Challenge: X is for eXtra Nice Weather and eXtra Stuff

Did you wonder what I would blog about using X? Just FYI - it is a difficult letter!!

X is for eXtra Nice Weather
The weather while we were in Israel this year was truly eXtra special. We experienced lots of sunshine and pleasant temperatures. We left Birmingham right at the end of January and were out of the country for 10 days. We experienced spring like days while in Israel.
When we were in Israel in 2016, I didn’t take a winter coat – just a thin Columbia rain jacket and I almost froze on a couple of days. This year, I packed a winter coat and only wore it for an hour or two during the whole trip.

Gorgeous weather!!

folks wearing coats in 2016

you can see above and below  - they all have on
heavy coats in 2016 - I was shivering!

X is for eXtra Stuff
I can’t remember if I told y’all about the toilet tissue (toilet paper in the south!). Quite a few of the public toilets do not have toilet paper available so I ordered mini rolls from Amazon. They came in quite handy.
Another thing – in many other countries, toilet paper is not flushed but placed in trash receptacles. Just FYI – sometimes this makes the restrooms have a particular odor. I won’t elaborate but imagine this emogi. (this picture borrowed from the internet is a cookie mold – the bathrooms do not smell like cookies and I’m not sure I would want to eat a cookie in this shape).

Now for the other eXtra stuff . . .how about some pictures?

There are lots of feral but friendly cats all
in Jerusalem. We saw them
climbing in dumpsters for food.
They actually appear semi-healthy
and I believe a lot of restaurants
feed the cats the scraps left over
from meals.

Above and below -- the oldest arch in Israel
4,000 years old - in Tel Dan
called Abraham's arch
made of mud and archaeologists think
it was built around 1750 BC.
notice the ancient stone street
that approaches the
this is from the Canaanite period!!

This is the aqueduct at Caesarea. They had no reliable source of fresh water and around 22BC, King Herod commissioned a raised aqueduct to deliver water from the springs 16 kilometers northeast of Caesarea Maritima.

People (not our tour group) climbing all over
the aqueduct

beautiful candles in so many of the holy sites

Did I already tell y'all about loopholes??
Y'all know that we think of a loophole as a forgotten condition in a law, agreement, etc. that allows one to interpret and get around a matter (basically the definition from urban dictionary).
These are loopholes in the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem -- arrows could be
fired through these holes.

Did I tell you about the ladder? It was there in 2016 and in 2018 and supposedly it has been there for about 300 years (anywhere from 260-360) according to huffington post - possibly been there since at least the 1750's.
The church of the holy sepulcher is managed/directed by the Status Quo, which stems from a decree by Ottoman Sultan Osman III in the 18th century. So because everything in the church is shared by 4-6 churches, none can agree as to who has possession of the ladder . . .so it remains!!

see the ladder under the right window??

more candles - folks light them as they pray for others

this was a market scene in 2016 and everyone has on those
winter coats!!

this was in 2016 -- our tour bus was
in the long check point line to get
back across the border from
Palestine - from our day trip
to Bethlehem, etc.