Hannah and Je together

Friday, 25 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Twenty Second Day – Beit Shearim

I had no plan for today.  But in the morning Bill from Austin, Texas came to me and asked if I am interested in day trip.  I asked him where he was going.

Bill: Capernaum.
Je: I’ve alreay been there.  Not interested.
Bill: And the church of bread and fish.
Je: What is that?
Bill: blah blah blah…
Je: Oh, Tabgha!  I’ve alreay been there.  Not interested.
Bill: And Caesarea.
Je: I’ve alreay been there.  Not interested.
Bill: And Beit Shearim.
Je: Where?

So I decided to join his group.  There was another man from Germany, a retired pastor.  So we three went out for day trip.

Cave of the Coffins, Beit Shearim

Cave of the Coffins, Beit Shearim

Beit Shearim was very interesting.  It is in the city of Kiryat Tivon, and has so many tombs and caves.  The famous one is the Cave of Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi, and since then many Jews came here to be buried from various places.  The above one is the Cave of the Coffins.  It is huge inside.  Tons of stone coffins with beautiful inscriptions and decorations.  The cave itself is like a city with so many chambers and hallways.

Above the cave, which is more than thousand years old grave, I found an used condom with its package nearby.  It is so gross having sex on the grave.  What is wrong with people living here?

Jesus Boat

Jesus Boat

Then we went to the Museum of Jesus Boat.  This is not the actual boat, but the replica.  They found this boat underneath the bottom of Sea of Galilee, and found that it is about 2,000 years old.  McCormick group came here last January.

Tabgha

Tabgha

Then we went to Tabgha.  The bottom mosaic is very famous with four loaves and two fish.  The reason of four loaves instead of five is that Jesus is holding on loaf in his hand for blessing.  McCormick group also came here last January.

St. Peter's House, Capernaum

St. Peter’s House, Capernaum

Then we went to Capernaum.  This is the St. Peter’s house near the synagogue.  McCormick group also came here last January.

Bahai Gardens, Haifa

Bahai Gardens, Haifa

Then we went to Haifa.  The picture above is the Bahai Garden at German Colony in Haifa.  We ate dinner in the German Colony and the food was not great.

Mediterranean beach, Haifa

Mediterranean beach, Haifa

Then we went to a Beach in Haifa – The mediterranean beach.  The water is salty.

Caesarea in the dusk

Caesarea in the dusk

Then we went to Caesarea at the dusk.  And as you may know, the Shabbat begins at the Friday evening.  I expected nobody, but the parking lot was full and all the streets are full of parked cars.  Double parking?  Are you kidding?  Everywhere is already triple parked.  Well, because the restaurants are open until 1am, everybody came here because this is the only (kind of) place to eat out.  I also saw many Muslims waiting for the complete sunset so that they can eat.  McCormick group of course came here last January.

So called Penis Man

So called Penis Man

I found an art which I did not see last January.  And when I found it, it was surrounded by girls aged around seven to ten.  The girls were grabbing, rubbing, and touching the penis of the statue, and their mothers were taking picture of that.  Well, great.  Early education, we need that.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Second Holy Land Trip – Eighth Day – Valleys of Jerusalem

Western Wall

Western Wall

Early in the morning (7am) I went to the Western Wall, the only remained part of the second temple where all the faithful Jews pray.  So many people were praying there.  Suddenly I was curious what all these people are praying for?  Are they praying for the death of their enemies?  Are they praying for the peace and reconciliation?

Kidron Valley

Kidron Valley

Then I went down to the Kidron Valley, which is also called as King’s valley.  Because there are many famous tombs.

Absalom's tomb

Absalom’s tomb

This is Absalom’s tomb, but the explanation says it has nothing to do with Absalom.  It was built 1,000 years after Absalom.  But when I read his name in Hebrew, it looks like “Father of Peace.”

Zechariah's tomb

Zechariah’s tomb

The Zechariah’s tomb was near the Absalom’s tomb, but I did not know this is the one.  So I was keep looking for it, using Google Maps and the GPS on my cell phone.

Gethsemane Church

Gethsemane Church

Gethsemane Church was just above the Kidron valley, the other side of Jerusalem Old City wall.  This is also the Mount of Olives.  If you know the geography there, you would know that the Mount of Olives is in the between the Temple and the Judean wilderness.  If Jesus wanted, He could have run away into the wilderness, which is unsearchable.  This means that Jesus willingly gave His life up.

Mary's Tomb Church

Mary’s Tomb Church

Mary’s tomb church is next to the Gethsemane church.  I do not know if this is genuine or not.  The church goes underground a lot.

Torah books in Jewish Cemetery

Torah books in Jewish Cemetery

As I wrote above, I was still looking for the Zechariah’s tomb using the GPS, and the GPS and Google Maps led me into the Jewish cemetery.  I did not doubt anything because Zechariah is a Jew.  One weird thing is that there are a lot of books of Torah in one entrance of the Jewish cemetery.

Women in Cemetery

Women in Cemetery

One of the entrances of the Jewish cemetery has this sign, meaning “Women.”  I do not know whether it is the Women’s entrance or the women’s burial section.  Why Orthodox Judaism and Islam discriminates women that much?  Well, Christian was the same and some Christian denominations are still the same, so what can I say against them?

Tomb of the sons of Hezir

Tomb of the sons of Hezir

The Google Maps led me into the middle of the cemetery, but there was nothing around but hundreds of normal modern tombs.  Then I gave up searching, and just decided to explore the Kidron valley more.  While I was walking, I saw a sign with the name of Zechariah’s tomb and its picture.  That was the one I saw in the beginning.  And the location is very different from Google Maps.  Near the Zechariah’s tomb, there was Tomb of the sons of Hezir.  I do not know who is Hezir, but it looks like his sons died before him.

Jehoshaphat's cave

Jehoshaphat’s cave

Then Next to the Absalom’s tomb, there was Jehoshaphat’s cave.  I wanted to explore in there, but it was blocked.  So I finished exploring the Kidron Valley

Old City streets on Palestinian shops

Old City streets on Palestinian shops

Then I walked back to hotel through the Jewish quarter (Jewish shops) and also Christian quarter (Palestinian shops).  As I wrote the other day, even when there is not many people, the two streets look different even the amount of sunlight too.  There are many reasons, but one of them is that Palestinians put the tents above their shop so that they put out their merchants on the streets which makes the street narrower while Jews keep their merchants only inside their shops consequently they do not need the tents and the road is wider.

Hinnom Valley

Hinnom Valley

I rested a little in the hotel, and went out to the other direction for the Hinnom Valley which comes out many times in the Bible.  Kidron Valley is east of the Temple (and city of David), while the Hinnom Valley is south side of the City of David.  This is where the ancient Israelites burnt their sons as the sacrifice to the other gods.  Hinnom Valley is very steep.

Hinnom and Kidron Valley Together

Hinnom and Kidron Valley Together

This is where the two famous valleys meet, south-eastern side of the Old City.

Music Centre on Hinnom Valley

Music Centre on Hinnom Valley

Unlike the bad fame of the Hinnom Valley, this is renovated as cultural centres and parks these days.

National Park on Hinnom Valley

National Park on Hinnom Valley

This is national park at the place of Hinnom Valley, and some people and kids were playing a game, which we have the same game in Korea.  It is nice to see that people are playing with the kids instead of burning them for gods.

National Park on Hinnom Valley

National Park on Hinnom Valley

The object in the centre of the picture, I thought we have similar thing in Chicago millennium park – the bean.  But when I went there, it was actually a metal globe.

Music in Mamilla

Music in Mamilla

Mamilla is next to the park, so I went there and found these young kids playing music.  And I went to a pharmacy to buy sunscreen.  My wife gave me SPF 70 sunscreen, so I wanted to buy the same one. But on the shelves, there were only SPF 30 and 50.  I asked a girl working at the sunscreen corner, she told me to ask the pharmacist.  So I asked the pharmacist, and she said that 50 is the highest.  So I took one, and on the way to the counter, I found SPF 70 sunscreen on the other aisle.

Mamilla Street

Mamilla Street

Walking on Mamilla street, I felt like I am in Chicago or other cities in America.  Then I thought king Herod built Caesarea and other romanised cities so that the romans feel like they are in Rome (or somewhere in Italy) to ease their home sick.  I do not have a home sick because I am here for tour, but the ancient Romans would have had bad one.

Kosher McDonald's

Kosher McDonald’s

Then I walked to the New City of Jerusalem through Jaffa street, King George street, Ben Yehuda street and so on.  And I found Kosher McDonald’s.  There are lots of Coffiz where you can get many kinds of drinks in 5 shekels, which is very cheap!

Bikes in City Hall

Bikes in City Hall

I also went to the City Hall of Jerusalem, and found these funny bikes.  These bikes do not move but operate something.  First one would operate the fan, the second one shows the speed, and the other one makes sounds.

Multi Effect Cinema

Multi Effect Cinema

I spent quite a time in the New City, then I went back all the way to the Jewish quarter.  There was a small cinema named “Multi Effect Cinema” playing “The story of Jerusalem.”  As the conclusion, it was waste of money, but I think it is worth trying once, not twice, because I found what this actually is.  They have wind, smoke, and 3D glasses.  But the chair moves too much unnecessarily which cause a little bit of sickness.

Empty Mamilla

Empty Mamilla

I had an appointment with George Filmon, the local tour guide for McCormick January tour.  We were supposed to meet at the Aroma in Mamilla.  When I went there, there was no one because it is Friday evening when the Shabbat begins, and all the stores are owned and operated by Jews.  It feels weird that the street is empty.  I could have lied with the picture above that all the people fled by the siren. 🙂

George and the Bible

George and the Bible, and me

George and I used to correspond through facebook, but before I left Chicago, I found that his facebook account was deactivated.  There was no way for me to contact him.  So when I came to Jerusalem, I called the tour company which the McCormick group used and asked his phone number.  And he answered.  So we made an appointment.  George and I went to Beit Sahour where Mara stays and studies, near Bethlehem.  Mara is doing well.  And I handed the CEB bible which Ted and Paula wanted me to deliver.

Moon over Jaffa Wall

Moon over Jaffa Wall

George gave me ride back to Jerusalem, and the temperature in Jerusalem at night is so nice.  This is actually nicest time of the day in Jerusalem.  And the moon was so bright and beautiful.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Israel Trip Sixteenth Day: Mount Carmel, Caesarea

Though we have one more day, today is actually the last day in this trip because we will leave the hotel for airport at 1:30 AM.

St. Gabriel Hotel Church at Nazareth

St. Gabriel Hotel Church at Nazareth

Before we left the St. Gabriel Hotel in Nazareth, I went to the Hotel Church. It was not that huge one, but beautiful one. It is not used currently.

Elijah on Mount Carmel

Elijah on Mount Carmel

Then we went to Mount Carmel. Mount Carmel is not just one peak of mountain but a whole range, and we went to the highest point where the Carmelites are living. This is the prophet Elijah’s statue in the yard.

View from the Mount Carmel

View from the Mount Carmel

This is the view from the top of the Mount Carmel eastward. If Elijah competed with other prophets of Baal on this spot, he would have dragged them down to the valley on the picture above (according to Old Testament professor Ted Hiebert). This is such a beautiful view. On clear day, we can see the Mediterranean sea, Nazareth, and whole area.

Caesarea

Caesarea

Then we went to that famous Caesarea. Caesarea is built by Herod the great, named after, of course, Caesar. Herod wanted non-Jewish totally Roman city.

Theatre

Theatre

This is the theatre. You can see the two levels of seats in the restored theatre, but originally there were three levels, containing total five thousand people. It also has many exits for emergency. And they filled the lower part of the stage and floated small boat for the marine scene.

Original Seat

Original Seat

In the picture above, you can easily identify which is original and which is restored seat.

Pontius Pilate

Pontius Pilate

Caesarea is one of the important sites for Christians including Peter’s visiting Cornelius. And there is one more thing for Christians; Pontius Pilate, the name which Christians cannot forget. This is the replica to show what was found. Here we can identify “Tiberius,” the name of the emperor. “…tius Pilatus,” part of the name of Pontius Pilate, and “Praefectus Iudaeae” which means Prefect of Judea.

Carsarean Harbour

Caesarean Harbour

This is the ruin of the ancient harbour.

Hippodrome of Herod

Hippodrome of Herod

There was one more entertaining thing beside the theatre – Hippodrome, the Formula one in the ancient days. This is very impressive to me because of the movie BenHur.

View from the restaurant

View from the restaurant

Then we had lunch all together at the Port Cafe at Caesarea, and this is the view from the restaurant.

Aquaduct to Carsarea

aqueduct to Caesarea

Caesarea was built by Herod, but August borrowed him architects which means this city was not only Roman culture, but also Roman technology. When we say Romans, we always think about two things: Roman Road and Roman aqueduct. Consequently Caesarea also had two aqueducts. And this is one of them.

Depth of the Aquaduct

Depth of the aqueduct

The aqueduct was connecting the city from the spring in the mount Carmel. And the depth of the aqueduct reaches my waist and if we consider the water was constantly flowing, the amount of water was huge.

Beach boy

Beach boy

And I enjoyed the beach of Mediterranean sea. Sadly after I came out of the beach, I cut one of my toes on the asphalt.

Seasons Hotel Lobby

Seasons Hotel Lobby

Then we drove to the Seasons Hotel in Netanya. This hotel is very good. I stayed at crappy hotel in Nazareth for many days, and I cannot even stay one full night at this awesome hotel!

View from the room

View from the room

This is the view from my hotel room.

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