Thursday, March 29, 2012

Israel in Review

Some of you may have noticed a significant absence over the past two weeks. I spent most of that time in Israel with Mrs. Lawhawk, touring the northern part of the country. It was part of our 10th anniversary gift to each other, and it was awesome to spend it with the love of my life.

It's a tour that I would definitely recommend to anyone who wants to see some of the most interesting and beautiful country anywhere in the world (I'll be posting photos from the trip later this week).

Our tour started in Jerusalem, and included touring the Stations of the Cross, the City of David, Tower of David, Western Wall and Jewish Quarter, the Western Wall Tunnels, Arab Quarter, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the Israel Museum and Yad Vashem. Additionally, we visited Ben Yehuda Street and Machene Yehuda (the famous Jerusalem open air food and produce market).

From there, we headed to the Dead Sea and Masada. After taking the tram up to the summit, Mrs. Lawhawk and I hiked down, which was a highlight for the trip. I had done that hike (both up and down) the last time I was there 19 years ago.

Next, we stayed at a hotel on a kibbutz in Northern Israel and then headed to the Galilee and Golan Heights. Highlights there included the ruins of Bet She'an, Tzvat, visiting the Golan Heights Winery (which includes the Yarden, Gamla, and Golan branded wines), seeing the border with Syria, crossing the Jordan River and visiting the site where Christians believe that Christ was baptized.

Then, the trip proceeded on to Nazareth and the Basilica of the Annunciation, Caesarea, Haifa and the Bahai Gardens, and finally on to Tel Aviv. We walked through the old city of Yafo (Jaffa), parts of Neve Tzedek, and the Tel Aviv food market.

It was fascinating to see so much of the country and walk in the path of historical and religious figures from 2,000 years (or older). After all, we're talking about a country where events span thousands of years and form the seeds of current sociopolitical and religious divisions.

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