California to Jerusalem
Coast and Galilee, Israel

So this is the Promised Land.

Our passage from Jordan to Israel took the better part of two and a half hours. Most of that was in Israel getting through customs after we crossed the Alanbee Bridge and wide No-Mans Land on the Israeli side of the border. Unlike the very helpful person from the tour company in Elath, the representative here offered no help. We had to muddle our way through. Thanks to Petra and a customs official, it went even better than it was looking the beginning.

We have arrived in Israel at last.

From the Jordan River we drove all the way across the country to Tel Aviv-Joppa on the Mediterranean--maybe all of 70 miles (115 km). As we drove through Jerusalem on the highway without stopping we got our first view of the new 2002 wall designed to protect the city from their neighbors, the Palestinians. Can't get along? Build a big wall. The old city has its version built long ago as do many other cities around the world. But I thought we were growing out of it. More of this wall later. 20 Dec 10

A huge Mediterranean storm just exposed these Roman era ruins along the sea in Joppa a week before we arrived. It had been buried by the coast since antiquity. 20 Dec 10

Archeologists were working to protect this tile floor, visible in the lower left of the previous picture. 20 Dec 10

In the same area as the previous pictures, they found this stone carving with the name of Pontius Pilot one it. It seems there are not too many stones around with his name on them. You can see IVSPILATV clearly on the second line. The U was written as V in antiquity. The beginning and end have been lost to the elements over time. 20 Dec 10

Elias stands yet in the park at the ruins of Megiddo where he led the Israelites in one of their many battles to take the land away from those there when the Israelites arrived. We must remember that the Israelites took the land from the indigenous that time too. They often killed every inhabitant of the cities they took. Just read the Old Testament. 20 Dec 10

The ruins of Megiddo. 20 Dec 10

Our tour group receiving information from Danny, our guide, in the front left. Seems he has less than full attention. 20 Dec 10

A street scene in Nazareth. It is in the Arab West Bank. 20 Dec 10

The church of the Annunciation in Nazareth. The ruins behind the altar are supposed to be what is left of the Jesus' boyhood home. 20 Dec 10

The divisiveness of fundamentalism are alive and well in Nazareth as well as in so many other parts of the world. If only we could allow each other to live as they would like to live. Fundamentalism is so widespread today. It is one of our worst diseases. It ranks with cancer in my book. 20 Dec 10

We took a boat ride on Lake Galilee this morning and posed for this picture. I like it more than the next picture. 21 Dec 10

Petra likes this picture more than the last because it shows our hole bodies. Besides, she likes that it shows her new shoe that, along with the other, was stolen from our hotel in Rishikesh, India, on 21 March, an even three months later. In India you usually have to take off your shoes when you go into a building. The shoes were in the shoe rack in the hotel lobby. 21 Dec 10

The hills north and west of Tiberius on Lake Galilee. This the land Jesus walked in as he wandered in the precincts of the lake. 21 Dec 10

They say Jesus likely taught in this Capernaum synagogue. Maybe he was here at 12 when his parents worried about loosing him. 21 Dec 10

Tiberius and Lake Galilee after sunset from our hotel window. 21 Dec 10

A lone boat headed out onto Lake Tiberius taken from our hotel room. Notice the village lights on the far side in the Golan Heights, taken from the Syrians in the 1967 war. 21 Dec 10

Some of the remains of the Roman city of Caesarea Philippi in far northern Israel. 22 Dec 10

A closer look at a main street in Caesarea Philippi with the daughter of one of our tour families taking a picture too. A much earlier city is on the top of the hill in the distance. 22 Dec 10

The remains of the bath house inn Caesarea Philippi. These small pillars made a space under the floor where they circulated steam to keep the floor warm. 22 Dec 10

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Copyright © 2011-2012 Mike Metras,