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Archive for May 17th, 2008

If You’ve Seen One Roman Ruin

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

…have you seen them all? Apparently not. There seems to be another ruin around every bend in the road here in Israel. Yesterday, it was the incredible Byzantine/Roman city of Bet She’an. The size of the ruins boggles the mind. Today, it was Herodion, the site of one of Herod the Great’s palaces on a hill south of Jerusalem. The first two photos are from yesterday.

This is a photo from today. We were able to go down under the ruins in the tunnels that one time were the cisterns for the water supply. Later, the Jewish zealots dug additional tunnels and lived there, hiding from the Roman army. I had to overcome my claustrophobia.

Yesterday, we stopped at the oasis of Jericho for a delicious lunch. There was a beautiful fruit/vegetable stand and a camel to entertain us.

These thirteen year old twins came out to greet us today at our first stop at Herodian. The boy had hearing aids in both ears. They spoke English quite well.

We went into the West Bank again today. Bethlehem is in Palestinian territory. It was a profoundly moving experience to see the wall that is being constructed. I don’t think any pictures can ever depict how depressing and oppressive it was to see this fence. I don’t want to offend my Jewish friends, but it was a very unpleasant experience crossing through the fence today. When we came back to the Israeli side, we were told to get off the bus and walk through a passport center. They did not really look at our passports. It was done to punish us for visiting the West Bank. At least that was our feeling about the whole episode.

When we arrived back at our hotel, we walked down to the Damascus gate and into the old part of Jerusalem which was bustling with shops and stands for every thing imaginable for sale. It was almost sensory overload.

As always, all the photos are on my Flickr site

Tomorrow, we are off to the Masada and Qumran and a swim in the Dead Sea, probably not for me!!