27 January 2012

Manly Beach and Beyond

The day spent exploring some of Sydney's beautiful beaches and coastline was full of gloom and rain. While it's a bit hard to completely enjoy a famous beach, such as Bondi beach, when being soaked - Christy and I didn't let that stop us. We had to dip our feet into the "other side" of the Pacific Ocean. Throughout the day, we explored the suburbs of Sydney, some beautiful vantage points and beaches - all just outside of Sydney's main tourist hub. Later in the afternoon, by the time we reached Manly Beach, the skies had cleared - making for a very enjoyable afternoon.

Beautiful architecture at Manly beaches shopping area

24 January 2012

Sydney: Harbor and Opera House

Now, come on. You can't go to Sydney and not go to the Sydney Opera House. This is an national icon and an amazingly beautiful piece of architecture. Christy and I visited the Opera House on our very first (albeit, very tiring - because of the flight) day. We had the chance to go inside some of the various theaters - some very big, some fairly tiny. I loved walking around the Opera House, with its royal purple carpets, huge harbour-facing windows and the interesting architecture within. We learned all about the architect, Jorn Utzon and his journey of building this beautiful place, taking way longer to build and costing way over what he originally intended.

23 January 2012

Sydney: the CBD

We now find ourselves at my last adventure from the past. In 2011, Christy and I made our way down under (and down underER) to Australia and New Zealand. This was a step outside of our comfort zones because it wasn't a typical tour like we've always been on. This was pretty much an independent, but customized tour. We picked different day tours and combined them all together to create the trip. While this was through a company, Brendan Vacations, they were more like the organizer. We didn't see the same people every day - we were pretty much on our own, only with transfers, day tours and flights already booked.

So, why Australia and New Zealand? Well, it's one of those places we've always wanted to visit, and after visiting Israel, something was ignited inside of me. Whereas before I never really thought I would seriously ever visit Australia, after Israel I really thought "why the heck not?" So, Christy and I made it happen. We researched for months and did it. Oh, and as for New Zealand? Well, if you're going to make the 12-hour flight to Australia, come on! I had heard New Zealand is one of the prettiest places in the world!


The Harbour Bridge, looking towards Sydney's CBP, or central business district

22 January 2012

Travel Update: January

I must say, December and January were a lot more productive than November. If you've checked out my list that I made back in September, you will have noticed that everything has been checked off....err, except for the "go" part. But Christy and I have a departure date set for one month from now (yikes!!). Time has just flown by, and while I am excited to go, I am a little scared at the same time. I am in no way prepared for what's about to happen (like I ever would be...), and I know that once I leave home - even if and when I come back, things will never be the same. That's probably what scares me the most - knowing that when I leave, I can never come back to my home the way I've always known it. This is going to change me so much - my life will be radically different. But while you're young, you have to take risks, go after a dream and worthwhile life...I just hope I can keep up with it and not experience too much "burnout", that is, exhausted from travel.

But on the bright side, this is the start of something new. This is the beginning of a discovery and exploration of the world and myself. Possibilities are endless! Maybe I'll start working with kids in some country that I fall madly in love with. Maybe I'll get involved in art somewhere, or teach English. I have no idea where my journey through Asia will take me, which is scary but exciting as well! I want to do something meaningful, fulfilling and worthwhile. I have all these dreams in my head of possible dreams I could follow - it's hard to predict where my life will take me in the next 6 months.


But here's what's been happening. Christy and I have done pretty much everything we need to do for our trip in the last month and a half. We've purchased plane tickets, tours, hotels, visas, travel insurance ( World Nomads seemed like a great choice!) and have gotten immunizations. We're almost set for our adventure starting in India - we'll be there for one month before heading to Singapore. After that, the sky's the limit...although we're planning on making our way through Southeast Asia and towards Japan. For now, last minute shopping, figuring out our phone situation and working on TEFL is on the agenda. That's right! I started taking a class to get my certificate in teaching English to foreign learners. I don't know if I'll end up teaching, but I like having my options open! In the meantime, I'll be pumping out posts about my Australia/New Zealand adventure from 2011.....and after that......the unknown!

20 January 2012

7 Things to See in Israel

2 weeks in Israel is not nearly enough time to visit and see everything you want. I only scratched the surface when I was there, but what I did experience was life-changing and remarkable - something I wouldn't change for the world. Just about every location in Israel holds a special meaning and will move you in some form or another, the follow seven places represent the sites that I fell in love with the most. They are in no particular order - I'm not sure if I could even decide which of these was most remarkable if my life depended on it!


1. Western Wall, Jerusalem


The Western Wall is such a beautiful are on the Temple Mount as the emotion tied to this site is incomprehensible. The Jews are so dedicated to this spot, and to the hopes of a 3rd temple, that it's hard to to be emotionally moved just from being here. It almost feels weird, as a tourist, visiting a place where such raw emotion and passion is being displayed. But it's beautiful and eye-opening.

17 January 2012

Shalom, Israel

Wow, what a whirlwind of a trip Israel was! I loved Israel so much more than I imagined I would. I expected that I would find this country interesting and be glad for the experience, but I did not expect to fall completely in love! This was the first time I traveled anywhere and seriously did not want to return home. In the past, I've always loved traveling, but was more than ready to return home at the end of the month. This was different. I could imagine myself living here....I developed a passion for the culture and for the people. I would miss the incredible friends I made here, the pastors that became friends, our shepherd Tsuriel, the refreshingly tasty and healthy food, the passionate Jews AND Muslims, playing in the Dead Sea, singing Hebrew songs...among countless other things. 

Before leaving for Israel, I kept hearing how this trip would change my life. It's not that I didn't believe these people, but after all - that's a term that's thrown around a lot - "change your life." I don't think I realized that it had changed my life immediately after the trip...but months later, I could tell my view on the world, life and devotion to the Lord had changed significantly. This trip also opened my eyes to the places I could travel to in the future! No longer was my heart only set on Europe, but I realized my passion for wanting to see other cultures. I developed a confidence that ignited a (then potential, but in 2012 at time of writing - definite) journey through Asia. I'm excited to go explore other places, but I know that no other country will ever top this one, no matter how many countries I travel to. This one held special significance and was an unexpected treasure that I never thought I would have discovered.

Graffiti in Ben Yehuda

Pools of Bethesda & The Muslim Quarter

On our last day in Israel, we spent the day wandering various spots in Jerusalem. One of these spots was the Pools of Bethesda. Prior to my trip to Israel, I didn't really know what the significance of the Pools of Bethesda was, but I still enjoyed visiting the location - and the great part about this trip was the fact that we always had a mini Bible study at every location to understand what took place here and the biblical significance. Here, we learned how the disabled would come here as tradition held that at certain times, an angel come and stir the waters. Whoever would enter into the stirred waters first would be healed. One day, Jesus came to the pools and a paralyzed man (for 38 years!) told him that others would always reach the water before him, leaving him unhealed. Jesus proceeded to heal the man - at this very spot.

Ruins of the Pools of Bethesda

Garden tomb

A trip to Jerusalem (or Israel, for that matter) wouldn't be compete without a visit to the Garden Tomb. This is the most probable location for the burial of Jesus. The site was run by a wonderful group of British and American people, volunteering their time to show visitors this astounding place. Here, you will find a cliff that may be the one referred to as "Golgatha" in the Bible (you can actually see why it would be called that - as 'golgatha' meaning 'skull'). Unfortunately, there is a very loud and busy bus station under the cliff, which detracts from the significance of this spot. Inside the Garden Tomb site, you will, of course, see a tomb which you are able to go inside!

Rabbi's Tunnel, Jerusalem

After having seen the Western Wall during the day, we returned at night to explore the Rabbi's Tunnel. This was a neat opportunity to see this location when it's not so packed. It's much more serene and calm when experienced at night. But our main focus was not the Western Wall itself, but the tunnel around the Temple Mount. The tunnel begins at the Western Wall plaza and runs north along the outside of the Western Wall. Work on the tunnel began in 1967. In 1982, Rabbi's found an ancient sealed underground gate. The broke through it and began to clear out the chambers beneath the Temple Mount, most likely looking for the Holy of Holies or the Ark of the Covenant. Palestinians began to riot though and the Israeli government had to stop working beneath the Mount, but could continue digging north along the Western Wall. By the late 80's, the reached the end of the Temple Mount compound and connected with water tunnels from the 1st and 2nd century. It's a fascinating history, and exciting to know that they may or may not have discovered the Holy of Holies or the Ark of the Covenant....unfortunately, they are unable to continue their discoveries at the present moment.

Jewish man washing his hands in the Western Wall complex

Jewish Quarter

The old city of Jerusalem is divided up into four...er, well..."quarters." The Christian and Armenian quarters are actually combined and take up about 35% of Old Jerusalem. The Muslim Quarter is the largest, taking up about 45% of Jerusalem's Old City, while the Jewish Quarter is the smallest - taking up about 20% of the area. The Jewish Quarter is a great and safe (when we were there, anyway) place to visit with historical spots at every turn, small and charming shops to explore and nice people. I remember walking with Rick and Christy a few blocks away from our group, and the main plaza, and it was so awesome to observe people in their everyday lives - chatting outside their shops, riding their bikes down the alley, etc. People were incredibly generous and kind to us....I was coming to love Israel more and more as the time went on (if that's even possible!)

Mt of Olives

The Mt. of Olives is an astounding location! Not only are there beautiful churches located here, with an amazing view of the city of Jerusalem, but it also holds strong significance for Christians. This is where Jesus descended from as He entered Jerusalem, being joined by the multitude shouting "Hosanna!" Jesus later ascended the mountain in preparation for His leaving the earth to return to His Father and will soon return to establish His kingdom here. This is where you will find the Garden of Gethsemane as well, where Jesus prayed and concentrated so hard that He actually sweat blood and was later arrested and taken for trial. And the rest is (ancient) history!

It was just incredibly amazing to find myself here, walking in these famous and significant locations! And with such a great (huge!) group of people who made the experience all the more blessed! Our group of 400+ people gathered here to learn of the place's significance and to fellowship together in this glorious place.

Mt. of Olives, with the Church of All Nations and the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in view

Western Wall

After visiting Jerusalem's Southern Steps, our group headed to the Western (or Wailing) Wall - also located on the Temple Mount. This was such a fascinating and emotional place to visit! The Western Wall is the closest permitted accessible site to the holiest spot in Judaism, the Foundation Stone, which lies inside the Temple Mount. The wall is sectioned off into area designated for men (about 80% of the wall), and the smaller section is for the women. It was quite overwhelming to be in the midst of these people, praying and reading so fervently. It was not unusual to see people crying and rocking back and forth. This site means a great deal to the Jews and they are obligated to grieve and mourn the desolation of where their Temple once stood. It is also custom to write a prayer down on a piece of paper and insert it into the cracks of the wall.

15 January 2012

Southern Steps in Jerusalem

We were actually supposed to visit the Southern Steps on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem a day earlier (but instead we went to Masada), due to the riots we had to change plans. But it actually worked out for the best because the previous day saw a lot of rain in Jerusalem. The next day - the day we visited the Southern Steps - was quite sunny most of the day, with odd patches of sprinkling here and there.

It was unbelievably crazy to be walking the streets of Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount itself! It was one of those surreal moments - it didn't feel like it was real! I mean, whereas many of the spots we visited have been built over and such, the Southern Steps consist of the same rock as Jesus' day. It is virtually exactly where He stood. And to gather our 400+ people in our group onto this spot, looking out over Jerusalem was truly a beautiful moment.

On the Temple Mount looking towards Al Aqsa Mosque

Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is the lowest place on earth (at 1300 feet below sea level) and was not known as the Dead Sea until the second century AD. Ezekial recorded a vision of a river flowing out from the temple and into the sea, making the water fresh so fish and plants could thrive there once again. But as of today, the Sea is 28-35% salt, making life in the Sea impossible. I was so looking forward to swimming in the Dead Sea, and it was definitely one of my best experiences on this trip - and ever! 

The sea floor was quite slippery because of the heavy coating of clay-like mud (if you weren't careful, you could fall head first into the water!), and the water was grayish, uninviting and not very deep. Because of the high salt level, it is possible to float in the water and lie on top of the water - flat as a board. Apparently the mud is good for your skin, so our group slathered it all over ourselves, making us look like part of some crazy tribe!

Christy, Elli and I on the left, Nick in the center and Amber on the right. Silly Nick....

En Gedi - From Afar

Unfortunately En Gedi, which produces the largest oasis on the western shore of the Dead Sea, was closed due to all the rain that was apparently falling in Jerusalem. Rain can bring crazy, sudden rapids to En Gedi's waterfalls in a flash, so our group enjoyed an observation area instead. I remember it being so incredibly windy here - to the point of almost being kind of scared. Does that sound silly? I know it does, but it was fierce, loud wind that wouldn't quit!

The area surrounding En Gedi

Masada

The day spent in Masada was originally planned as a day spent at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Unfortunately, there were riots going on this day at the Temple Mount which prevented us from going through with our original plans. This was the only religious conflict we came across in our visit, and as it was, we just avoided Jerusalem that day and headed back out to the Judean desert to visit the famous Masada. Thankfully the conflict in Jerusalem only lasted a day, and we were able to continue with our exploration the next day.

Jerusalem, At Last!

Oh my goodness, Jerusalem! I can't even put into words just how it felt to arrive in the extraordinary city! Our group came into Jerusalem by way of the Judean desert - we proceeded through a tunnel and were unexpectedly met by the sight of this wondrous city, the Dome of the Rock gleaming in front of us. The mood in our bus changed from tired and calm to excited and joyous. It was an incredible feeling - a high from finally arriving here. For me, and probably Christy as well, it was an incredibly blessed feeling to find ourselves here as, at least for me, I never thought I would actually have the chance to visit Israel. Our group ascended to the top of a hill where the Hebrew University is located for an outstanding view of the city. I never wanted to leave....it was instantaneous love!

View over Jerusalem, with the Dome of the Rock in sight

14 January 2012

Qasr el Yahud


Qasr el Yahud it the probable site where Jesus was baptized, on the Jordan River near the Dead Sea. Unfortunately, it is a military zone, bordering Jordan, and rarely visited by guests. Our pastor, who had been to Israel about 40 times previously, had not even visited this site before. During this trip, God blessed us with the opportunity to visit this place - through some of our guide's connections, and I believe we were the largest group (400+ people) to ever visit this site. What an exciting, once in a lifetime experience!

military vehicle with a mine field in the back

Beit She'an and Gideon's Spring

Today, we regrettably had to leave the region of Galilee (the region I loved so much!), but we were making our way to Jerusalem - the city we were all most looking forward to, the city with the most significance. I was excited to be heading to Jerusalem, but still in disbelief that I was in Israel - let alone heading to the city that I've only heard about since I was, like 4 years old! 

Our first stop of the day was at a place called Beit She'an, which had a great example of a Roman amphitheater. Now, for those interested - here's a little background on Beit She'an. The Israelites failed to conquer this city in Joshua's time and it was under Philistine control in Saul's era. When Saul and his sons were slain in battle, they were hung on the city walls to humiliate the Israelites. Beit She'an was then allotted to the tribe of Manasseh, but fearing the iron chariots of the Canaanite inhabitants, the Israelites failed to drive them out of Beit She'an. Beit She'an became one of the cities in the Roman province of Decapolis, which was visited by Jesus and continued to be prosperous in the Roman and Byzantine periods until it was destroyed in 749 AD by an earthquake.

13 January 2012

Bunker at Golan Heights

While in the Golan Heights, we got the opportunity to visit an old Israeli military bunker. This was a cool experience as I've never done anything like this before. At this elevation, it was extremely cold, windy and rainy, but instead of staying warm in the coffee shop like some of the others, our bus was determined to explore the area a bit! It was exciting to get the chance to walk around the bunker and actually go inside one of the shelters. Needless to say, I've never served my country (like I could!), so it was weird to imagine the life of a soldier - especially back in World War I or II. This experience was worth the risk of pneumonia (I mean, I had had pneumonia the previous year anyway...so, no big deal, right?.....)

Footie shot in the Golan Heights

Caesarea Philippi

Caesarea Philippi was earlier known as Paneas (who was the god of good fortune and was worshipped there during the Old Testament era.) After Alexander the Great's death, this was the location of a major battle in 198 BC in which Antiochus the Great defeated the Egyptians and took control of the land. In 20 BC, its control was transferred to Herod the Great and after his death, his son Philip took control and named it Caesarea Philippi - after himself and Tiberius Caesar.

Jesus made 4 predictions here. The first about the church - He announced his purpose to build a church to witness of Him. The second, about the keys of the Kingdom - referring to the authority in the church. The apostles  were to lead believers until the epistles were written. The third prediction was about the coming death and resurrection of Jesus - stating redemption was essential for existence of church. The last prediction was of Jesus' call to discipleship. Jesus' body on earth would be composed of those who would deny themselves and follow Him.

The Banias spring - leading to the Jordan river

12 January 2012

Tel Dan: Northern Israel

I was lucky...or rather, blessed, that our baptism took place when it did, because the next day or two- it just poured! But I'm glad the rain took place on the days that it did, as it didn't completely alter our plans and sight-seeing. Tel Dan, in northern Israel lends itself well to being explored in rain anyway seeing as there so many springs and rivers and we were pretty much surrounded by nature. It was beautiful though - I enjoyed every minute of it!

Baptism in the Jordan River

Getting baptized in the Jordan River was probably the thing I was most looking forward to during my trip to Israel. Believe it or not, I had never been baptized prior to this trip (which took place in 2010), unless you count getting baptized as an infant (which I don't, seeing as I had no real choice in the matter.) I don't know why I put it off for so long, but when this opportunity presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity to get baptized in Israel - in the Jordan River! I mean, how awesome is that? Rain was predicted for today, but the day started out sunny - and gradually the skies turned grayer and darker. I was hoping and praying the rain would hold off until after the baptism, and indeed it did! This became one of those life-defining moments, one of those experiences I would consider my best. This ranks up there with my excursion to Mt Pilatus in Switzerland.

11 January 2012

Capernaum

The ruins that are found at Capernaum are of a 4th century synagogue, but if you continue walking around the site, you will see an area where ruins were found underneath this synagogue. These older ruins are from Jesus' time. It's quite amazing to see for yourself just how far back in time you can go by digging underneath the more recent sites that have been built and settled in the same spot. It is believed that at this location, Jesus healed the paralyzed man who was lowered into the temple by four men since he could not reach Jesus any other way. This was a beautiful site, near the sea of Galilee, that I was happy to experience. But our next experience (in my next entry) would be a defining moment.

4th century synagogue at Capernaum

Primacy of St Peter

Here, at the Primacy of St. Peter, we spent a short time (about an hour or so) looking out onto the Sea of Galilee, reading about how it was here that Jesus asked Simon Peter three times if he loved him and asked him to follow Him.

Our guide, Tsuriel and Nick, fellow tour member, reading the Bible

10 January 2012

Mt of Beatitudes

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven
  • Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted
  • Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth
  • Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled
  • Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy
  • Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God
  • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God
  • Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven
  • Blessed are ye, which men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake

09 January 2012

Ancient Boat Museum

On the coast of the Sea of Galilee is the Ancient Boat Museum. Here, on display, is a boat that was recovered from the first century. Seriously. To see a boat this old, one very similar to what Jesus may have sailed in is an odd and awe-inspiring experience. We spent a while here, watching videos of the excavation of the boat and admiring the boat in and of itself. And hey, if you're a shopper - or just want to play around with some of the shofars (ram horns) on display, there's a little gift shop in here as well. For us, this was just a quick stop before heading on to more exciting activities!

Reflection inside the Boat Museum

Waking up on the Sea of Galilee

The Sea of Galilee is one of the most breathtaking places in the world. I remember waking up here on the two mornings we were here, realizing I would probably never return to this place. I tried as best as I could to really soak in everything. Tiberias, next to the Sea of Galilee is so peaceful and green - the sea surrounded by the mountains is the perfect setting for my ideal place to live. It was easy to imagine this place as it was two thousand years ago, just being here feels like you have been transported to another time and place. By the end of my stay here, I decided I just had to find a way to return here one day. And when asked where I would live if I could live anywhere, my answer quickly changed from Ireland to Tiberias, Israel (and it remains my number 1 choice.) Tiberias has many of the things I love about Ireland (greenery, nature, nice people), but with the meaning that touches your soul - that I've only ever felt in Israel. Here, you really feel God's presence...it just feels different. I hope to return here one day, or at least convince my stepdad to by a house here so that I can visit!


Overlooking the Sea of Galilee from our hotel

07 January 2012

Nazareth

While I didn't get to spend a lot of time in Nazareth, the place where Jesus grew up, it provided a great vantage point. Here, in the northern part of Israel, you really feel set apart from the chaotic and busy nature of this country's main cities. It was quiet and peaceful, overlooking Nazareth - a perfect opportunity for praise, worship and contemplation.


Me and Christy

Meggido - Step Into the Future

Megiddo is an awesome experience. If ever you find yourself in Israel, this is a place to visit. This place has seen many wars (estimated to have been destroyed and rebuilt about 20 times) and will see another. Tel Megiddo is translated as Armageddon, which just about everyone has heard of. This is the place mentioned in the Bible where the last battle will take place. And I have to tell you, it was so weird visiting a place such as this. It's scary, enlightening, but wonderful to know the truth. This is the place where it first hit me just how different Israel is from anyplace else. Here, you not only take a step back into history - you also take a step into the future. Being here, in the actual place this great event will take place, makes it all so much more real than just reading or hearing about it. This is real. And in the crazy events that have unfolded in the world in the last few weeks alone, it's even easier to see how the stage is being set for this future. I'm just glad for my faith and trust in the Lord otherwise I would fear the hopelessness and darkness that is drawing near. But, I already know how this story ends...and that's reason enough to celebrate.



06 January 2012

Mt. Carmel

Mt. Carmel - the place in the Bible where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to see whose God was the one, true God. The challenge was to see who could get their God to set their sacrifice on fire. After the prophets' god, Baal  failed to perform, Elijah doused his sacrifice with water. Even then, God sent fire down from heaven and consumed the sacrifice. The prophets stood in awe while the Israelites declared the Lord as the one, true God.

It's a fascinating story and awe-inspiring to find yourself here, in this place with such meaning.

Mt. Carmel

05 January 2012

Caesarea

Outside of Tel Aviv, you can find Caesarea situated along the Mediterranean Sea. Here, you'll find great examples of a Roman amphitheater and stadium. Herod the Great built up this harbor port into something great, even by modern standards. When I visited, it was a perfect, clear day as well - making a walk along the sea that much more enjoyable.

As came to be our routine, our large tour group filed into this amphitheater (surprisingly filling up a good chunk of the seats!), ready to fellowship and learn of the Biblical significance of the location. And, what a view! I wish every church service looked out onto golden sand and aqua blue water! This was our first day in Israel where we were leaving Tel Aviv and heading toward a new, undiscovered (for us) section of Israel. It really felt like an adventure, not being extremely familiar with the sites we would be visiting, so every day held mysteries and discoveries...and Caesarea was no exception.

03 January 2012

Elah Valley

Yes, Elah Valley might just look like a great open field to the unknowing tourist - but it's so much more than that! This was the area in which, according to the Bible, David fought - and defeated - Goliath. It's so surreal to visit a place such as this, a location to a story you've heard your whole life. Elah Valley is a place so inspiring, where a young man bravely stood up and fought for what he believed in - succeeding against all odds to bring down the giant, Goliath.

It was such a lovely afternoon, sitting amongst the flowers and listening to our pastor like a kindergardener listens to their teacher. I really enjoyed walking around the area as well, taking photos and watching dozens of people searching for the perfect rock to take home as a souvenir (and, oh, I definitely did the same!). This was my first taste of the grandeur that Israel had in store for me. I could already feel that this was going to be a life-changing experience...a trip like none other.

Overlooking the Elah Valley

02 January 2012

Beit Shemesh

Beit Shemesh, or Beth Shemesh, was the first place I encountered in Israel that gave me that feeling that I could be anywhere in the world. The landscape so reminded me of Southern California - I felt like I was home, but with the excitement of traveling! Here, we gathered our 400+ group for singing and for learning of the Biblical significance of Beit Shemesh. It is here where the ark of the covenant was carried through after it was captured by the Philistines in battle. This was such a perfect day - the sun was shining brightly, we made some great friends and we were in Israel! What more can you ask?

01 January 2012

Neot Kedumim - Experiencing the Past

Neot Kedumim is located just a short drive form Tel Aviv and is a biblical landscape reserve. The people who created this spot researched what kind of plants were around in Biblical days and tried to recreate what it might have looked like. Here, you can hire a guide and they will take you around to the different stations, showing you how they used their cisterns (wells) or how they ground different plants together to make spices. It was a lot of fun and informative - and we even got to keep our herbs! One of our fellow travelers tried it on a pizza later that day and said it was delicious. Me? I kept mine...in fact, it's still sitting in my room now, although I would love to try a little bit on some pizza!

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