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May 5, 2014 - Jerusalem Revisited

We had not set the alarm for this morning and it was good to waken up knowing that there was no defined deadline for activities. We got up before 8:00 a.m. and got ready. When we went downstairs, the four who were departing today were sitting waiting on their ride to the airport. We again wished them goodbye and went next door to the restaurant for breakfast with Les & Eva. Before we ordered, Paul and Diana appeared and we all had breakfast together. The morning had started off quite cloudy, but still very warm, but as the sun came out we...

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Iceland to Israel

May 4, 2014 - Back to Jerusalem and Goodbyes

We were again up early, though not quite as early as yesterday. This is the last day of our tour and we head back to Jerusalem. We finished packing and reluctantly left our mammoth suite for breakfast. We collected our hand luggage and went for the bus. We were soon on our way, but as Sunday is the start of the work week in Muslim countries, progress was slow. We eventually reached the Amman Citadel and spent some time going round the ruins and the museum. Unfortunately, some of our number had developed vomiting and diarrhoea since...

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Iceland to Israel

Apr 30, 2014 - Models, Scrolls & Sad Memories

We were up a bit later today. We had to be down and ready to go at 8:15 a.m. A week ago Christine would have been aghast - today she was grateful! We had breakfast and set off for the Shrine of the Book Museum which has a large scale model of Jerusalem in the Roman times. It was most interesting to see it and compare it with what we have seen in the last few days and have differences and similarities explained. This model is outdoors and adjacent to the Shrine and also the Israel National Museum, the latter we did not go into, but may visit...

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Iceland to Israel

Apr 29, 2014 - Masada to the Dead Sea

After another early rise we had breakfast and onto the bus for a drive to Masada. This was a mountain top fortress by the Dead Sea built by Herod and taken by the Jews who rebelled against Rome. They withstood a siege for over three years before committing mass suicide rather than falling into the hands of the Romans. Flavius details the action in his writings. We stopped first at a place where they sell Dead Sea cosmetic and healing products. We saw a short video about the healing power of the products. We moved on to Masada where we went...

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Iceland to Israel

Apr 28, 2014 - A Number of Tasteless Memorials

We were up really early this morning to enable us to be in line for entry to the area of the Golden Dome which is a mosque constructed on the top of Mount Moriah, the scene of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. We had a quick breakfast and set off in the bus which dropped us off near the site. There was a large queue which we were told would be much longer as the day progressed. The hold up was security which was similar to that at airports. Once we reached the security check after about an hour, our guide, Joshua, got us through quite quickly,...

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Iceland to Israel

Apr 27, 2014 - Jericho to Jerusalem

Well, the tour itinerary seems to be somewhat elastic, not to say confused as the day progresses, but I am getting ahead of myself, except that you should ignore the final sentence of last night's post. We were up early again and had our breakfast and on the bus by 8:30 a.m. We drove to a diamond centre in Tibereas which was closed. Last night no one had seemed enthusiastic about it, so it was no loss, except we wasted half an hour driving through narrow streets to get there and then extricate ourselves. We headed south along Lake Galilee,...

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Iceland to Israel

Mar 24, 2014 - Jerusalem Old City

A few choices to make today, but all-in-all a wonderful day, primarily in the Old City. We began at Mt Zion, where we visited the Upper Room where Jesus had the last supper. It was just outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem. Afterwards, we walked a short distance to the place where Peter denied Jesus. Nearby was the actual place where Jesus walked, one of the few “actual” places on our Pilgrimage. Scripture tells us that after the Last Supper “Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was...

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Mar 22, 2014 - Jerusalem - Mt of Olives - Bethlehem

We spent the entire day in the vicinity of our hotel in Jerusalem. We began by going to the top of the Mount of Olives. That is where Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1:9-12). This spot, like all the others we've seen commemorating an event in Jesus' life, has a church built on top of it. The churches are usually Greek Orthodox or Roman Catholic, and sometimes both. At each site, there are hundreds of locals selling souvenirs, post cards, books, crosses, etc. Our guide, Sam, will usually tell us who we should deal with, what is genuine, and...

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Mar 21, 2014 - Bet She'an - Jordan River - Jericho - Bethany - Jerusalem

Lots of bus riding today, but some noteworthy stops. Our first stop was at Bet She'an, about an hour south of the Sea of Galilee. This is an archeological site that was accidentally discovered in the mid-1980s, and has been partially excavated to what you see in the accompanying pictures. Fantastic place! The Biblical reference is 1 Samuel 31:8-13. We'll let you who are reading this check out the gory details! We then drove another hour south to the probable site on the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. (Matthew...

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Feb 8, 2014 - Jerusalem

"Next year in Jerusalem." Why wait? Jerusalem was the first of many World Heritage Sites we planned to visit and one of the musts of my travel aspirations. Jerusalem is layer upon layer of time, culture, religion, expectation, dream and stone. Sorting it all out is beyond me. We sent the better part of a week roaming its four quarters (Armenian, Christian, Muslim and Jewish) from Jaffa Gate to Temple Mount. We jostled with tour groups in the Holy Sepulcher, walked the Via Dolorosa, lunched on hummus and falafel deep in the souks, observed...

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Dec 9, 2013 - Latrun Armored Corps

Some quick pictures of our last security fieldtrip. We stopped at the armor corps in Latrun which was a major battle site in the 1948 War of Independence. The Israeli's failed 3 times to capture Latrun but eventually took it after the 1967 Six Day War. We posed for a class photo with us standing on the top of the Israeli Merkava Mk IV main battle tank. I naturally straddled the barrel and began reciting quotes from the WWII movie "Patton". Our guide, an Israeli Brigadier General, then started making various sexual references to my position...

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Nov 1, 2013 - Nov 1 Jerusalem

Nov 1. Ashod Port and Jerusaleum (This significant day was written up by Liz, not Snowflake) • The Port of Ashod was very smoggy/hazy. It is an industrial port and also has oil refineries. There were row upon row of white import cars awaiting entry into Europe from the East. (When Ron was in Africa, we learned that white is the base colour for cars; other colours are added later.) • It took our tour bus one hour to travel from Ashod to Jerusalem. We saw how very dry the land is naturally; irrigation is highly visible and successful. Olive...

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