Today has been cold, rainy, and windy! All. Day. Long.
We certainly made the most out of it even with the weather not being on our side. We didn’t miss a single site! We began with the Herodium, a massive archaeological site that at one time was home to Herod The Great.
Then we toured the Church of the Nativity, which many believe is the traditional birthplace of Jesus. For lunch, we ate Shawarmas (grilled chicken and veggies in a pita!) then had some time to shop at a nearby store. The day ended at the Israel Museum which included so many interesting archaeological findings!
Herodium is 3 miles southeast of Bethlehem and 8 miles south of Jerusalem. Its summit is 2,460 feet above sea level.
Herod built or re-built eleven fortresses. This one he constructed on the location of his victory over Antigonus in 40 BC.
Today we thought we’d change up the typical rhythm of our writings and share with you our top 10 learnings we’ve had up to this point in the Holy Land:
- Good coffee can be hard to come by. It’s been rare to find a quality cup of regular drip coffee. However, one Israeli coffee chain that has proved to be pretty amazing is called Aroma. It’s the Israel version of Starbucks!
- Ordering fish in Galilee will be served WHOLE with the head and tail included.
- Israel is much safer than what American news outlets will lead you to believe. We’ve felt more safe here than we would in most American big cities.
- The landscape is much greener than expected! I’ve always envisioned brown, hot and dusty, but it has been colorful and cool, with a lot of vegetation with tree farms all over the place. Granted, it is Israel’s winter and the summer will look and feel different.
- It’s way more touristy than expected. Everywhere you turn there’s another busload of people from various parts of the world.
- In many places we’ve been, you’re not supposed to flush the toilet paper. Watch for signs!!
- There’s still so much more to excavate in Israel, but there’s a lack in funding to support continued excavations in many areas. They will always be digging and discovering for as long as we’re alive. It’s crazy to think there’s still so much left to be found!
- A lot of signage we’ve seen includes Hebrew, Arabic, and English because of the various people groups here in Israel. Most city street signs or coffee shop menus typically includes English, which makes Israel an easier place to navigate as a monolingual American.
- Kids in Jerusalem walk around town and commute to school all on their own. No accompaniment. The last child abduction was over 30 years ago!
- Out of a busload of 54 people, somebody will ALWAYS need to use the restroom. Yehuda keeps making fun of us for how often we have to take breaks.
We’re looking forward to any last surprises as we enter the final 3 days of our journey!
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