Today started off with the most beautiful sunrise over the Sea of Galilee. We got up early to watch it come up over the Golan Heights – the mountains, or hills:), that you see in the picture. This area is a very fertile part of Israel and is where we spent the day today.
We started off by going to Gamla. The ruins were great but the view was amazing! Our bus took us down this winding mountain path that we quickly named “Heart attack Hill”. This is not a small bus! It holds 59 people plus the driver and the tour guide. Our bus driver is pretty amazing. We were able to see down into the valley between mountains called a Wadi. Gorgeous.
Gamla is called the Massada of the North. Josephus, who lived in this town at one point, recorded that 4000 people were killed by the Romans and 5000 people threw themselves off the cliffs instead of being captured. Our guide did point out that Josephus was famous for adding a zero to his stories to embellish a little:) Josephus was the one who over saw the building of the walls and so traded information on the wall’s weaknesses for his life. I love that our guide gives us so much history as we tour. Fascinating.
We learned all about the olive oil process in Katzrin. We also got to go through a whole restored house! It was small and dark so I didn’t take any pictures, but it sure makes me thankful for my small (or so I thought!) house:)
Michael is in front of a synagogue in Katzrin.
In between Katzrin and lunch and the rest of the sites, our guide took us to the Israel-Syrian border. We overlooked a UN base keeping the peace there. Our guide took the time to explain many things about the Israel-Syrian relationship from the viewpoint of an Israeli. He is an Arab-Muslim-Israeli, which gives a fascinating view on world events. Oddly enough, the media doesn’t portray everything correctly:) When we were at our last site, we could see where Israel, Syria and Lebanon meet and we talked a lot about politics there also. Loved it.
The first site after lunch was Ceasarea Philippi. Its a little hard to tell from the picture, but this was a very tall steep cliff face that looked like one huge rock. The carvings are from the Temple of Pan. Ceasarea Philippi is where Peter famously answered the question of who Jesus was with the answer, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Last stop of the day was at tel Dan, which our guide described as the Las Vegas of the ancient world:) He said if you wanted to do any type of sin, you went to Dan. There were so many interesting things here, including a long walk in a beautiful nature preserve, but my favourite is in this next picture. This was a city gate dated back 5000 years. Isn’t that amazing? Our guide pointed out that Abraham may have walked through this city gate when he went to rescue Lot. The history in this place is just amazing. Loving every minute.