Day 5 / The Sinai Penninsula

Gulf of Aqaba It’s 6am and I’m sitting on my hotel balcony, drinking my morning ‘Nescafe’, and looking across the Gulf of Aqaba at the mountains of Jordan. But for the Nescafe, this could be a perfect moment. To the north east I can see the shores of Israel; to the south, Saudi Arabia. And I… am still in Egypt. This place is called Taba and we arrived here yesterday afternoon after a long driving day through the Sinai Peninsula. When the bible tells about the children of Israel wandering about the desert for 40 years, this is the place; roughly 24,000 square miles of rock, sand, scorpions and snakes. Here the sand sweeps up the mountains like the snows do at home and the sun bakes the stones with rarely a cloud to intervene (2 1/2 inches of rain...

Read More

Day 6 / Hello Israel

Flowers outside my room. This morning was the one chance to sleep in – and of course I woke up shortly after 5 am. Sigh… But it was a great am with the sun bathing my balcony so I just relaxed there reading ‘till about 10 when I met Rikk for a quick breakfast before we left. The Israeli border was only a twenty minute drive from Tabla – the coast is gorgeous. Pharoh’s Island / built by Salah ah-Din (1182) Visited by Lawrence of Arabia in 1914 Our guides got us through the Egyptian border without a hitch. We said goodbye and then had to walk an outdoor corridor to the Israeli border crossing. The last time I was in Israel, entering and exiting the country was a daunting, almost frightening experience. That was at the tail end of the last...

Read More

Day 7 / Jordan Valley

Looking behind at the Dead Sea as we head west (up) from the Jordan Valley We rose early again this morning and were on the road by 7:30. Very hot today. In the morning it was already in the high 30’s and rose to around 45C by mid-afternoon. We first traveled inland toward Tel Arad, the site of an ancient Canaanite settlement (3200- 2600 BC) and a Jewish military outpost/ settlement (~1200 BC). On the way we passed the Zohar Canyon which was an secondary Canaanite trading route linking the Mediterranean to the Jordan Valley. If you look carefully at the above picture you can see the road at the very bottom – that gives you a reference for how far down we were looking. About 25 minutes drive west we came to Tel Arad. This is a Hebrew fortress...

Read More

Day 8 / The Galilee and Golan Heights

Tiberius When one thinks of a sea, it is usually of a fairly large body of water. As with all things in this land you must think so much smaller than we do from our expansive plains at home. The Sea of Galilee is more like a lake, and when you stand on the north shores and look south – you can take in the whole area at once: Tiberius, Magdela, Capernum, the Mount of Beatitudes, etc. It’s very serene. I do love it here. I couldn’t get an overview picture that works because the heat makes the air hazy and the distance photos just wash out. Capernum This is the hometown of Peter. They’ve identified his house but unfortunately (in my opinion) they built a glass bottomed church right over top of it. It kind-of looks like a space ship has...

Read More