Monday, July 21, 2008

Here in Israel...

I'm trying to work myself down to going to sleep. I guess I still haven't quite acclimated, which was the purported intent in arriving early. Anyhoo, I have to get to work tomorrow and for the next three days. However, today I spent in Galilee.

Yes, it's something to walk in the place where Jesus, Peter, James, and John called home. On the drive up, we passed the fortress of Megiddo. It's been conquered 25 or 26 times in the last 3000 years. It stands at a crossroad between Egypt and Mesopotamia, so it's been a prized location for a long time. We (that is, Christians), know it as Armegeddon, the location of the last battle.

We stopped in Nazareth to take a break and do a little shopping. A tip for those of you heading to Israel for a pilgrimage--icons and sacramentals are a heck of a lot cheaper in Galilee than in the Old City. I saw some of the same icons for $5.00 USD that were priced $18.00 USD in shops in the Old City. My recommendation is that you take tours in chronological order: Bethlheme, then Galilee, then the Old City. Definitely go with a tour to Bethlehem. Travel in and out is pretty restricted. Last time, even with a local non-Palestinian guide, we had to scramble to catch shuttles to avoid the lines at the check point. I expect that a licensed tour could drive right through at the checkpoint, but I'm not sure.

Anyway, after the Basilica of the Annunciation and the Church of St. Joseph, we boardded the bus and headed for Capurnaum. Did you know that Capurnaum is owned by the Catholic Church? Indeed it is. Galilee is hot at this time of year (July 21). Make sure to wear a hat and bring sunscreen. By the way, when you go to sacred sites here, you need to dress modestly. Cover shoulders and knees. You will be corrected if you don't do so.

I really have to go to bed. Haven't worked out since last Thursday, and those of you who know me know that is highly irregular and potentially dangerous.

God bless,

Bill
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