Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Shiloh and Sebastia

Today has been quite the day.  I was supposed to have a private watercolor painting lesson today but the instructor emailed me last night that she was sick and needed to cancel.  I was fine with that as I really don't want to be exposed to a cold while I'm here!  So we planned to sleep in and have a more leisurely day.

I woke up early and checked my emails and learned that a dear friend's son has gone missing.  I posted the information on Facebook and told April I wanted to go to Temple Mount to pray.  We can go to the top Sun - Thurs from 7:30 - 10:30 am.  So we got ready and headed out....still planning on a day of walking and exploring nearby.

While waiting in line, our friend and private guide, Sam Salem, texted and wanted to know if we could change our tour from tomorrow to today.  We decided that we could meet him at 9 am and suddenly....the day was full!  Isn't it great how things just work out!

I spent some time this evening experimenting its different video techniques on my iPad Pro.  This one was created with imovie, uploaded to YouTube, then inserted here.  Not so sure I like the music choices.  But it shows Temple Mount this morning.

We drove to Shiloh.  This is where the Wilderness Tabernacle of the Old Testament stood for 369 years.  Of course, it's like everything else here....this is the supposed site and it is more oral history than archeology proof.  But I believe it was somewhere in this area.

What I love about this site (our 2nd time here) is the technology.  You look out the window to this scene.  Then a movie comes on and super-imposes on this scene how life was during the time of the Tabernacle and what the Tabernacle might have looked like.  It truly brings an area to life.  There were 6 projectors in the ceiling and the video took up about 1/3 of the space - it's a curved round building

There is much evidence of early life here including this olive press.


We drove through Nablus.  The strawberries are huge!  This is area A and Jew aren't allowed here.  I don't necessarily like being in the town, it it was very quiet today.  On one of our past trips, we were here and there was burned out cars in the middle of the streets!

We were in Samaria, in the West Bank all day.  Our next stop was Sebastia.  This is ancient Samaria.  The city itself is area A, but we had lunch on the border of Area C (Jews are allowed here).  This is our 3rd time to this little restaurant and if you wonder why, just take a look at lunch!!!  Lamb and rice. The plate fills the entire table and this was for 3 people.  In addition to this we each had 3 salads and a huge platter of pita bread.


This is the restaurant.  Very peaceful to sit outside and look at the surrounding hills.


This place is in the middle of one of Herod's palaces.  It is also the site of John the Baptist's parents burial.  Because it is primarily a "Christian" site, Israel is not necessarily interested in it.  Most of the land is private other than Herod's palace area.  It has not been preserved or restored.  The locals farm the area on top, plow up coins and pottery, then sell it.  Perfectly legal due to the "area" it is.


I think we like coming here because it is so "undiscovered" - very few tourists.  This is the amphitheater.  Again, our 3rd visit to this area.  I'd love to see an archeology group come in here and see what the could discover.


These are ancient Israeli coins that have a shofar on them.  Found by the local residents in the fields.


And this is Adan.  He is now 17.  Two years ago he negotiated a good price on a roman glass vase.  So we negotiated a very good price on the 2 coins this year.  He is just so much fun to barter with.  His English is improving and he is studying to be a plumber.   I may never see him again, but I have such fun memories and a few good souvenirs to keep those memories alive.  Since we're been here 3 times, we might not return.  But I highly recommend this as a very unique spot to visit.

On the way out are the roman columns, so typical of Herod's era.


Gigantic cactus!


More columns.  The ruins at Sebastia are quite amazing.


Today was another great adventure.   I can only imagine the granduer of this place in it's day.  After was a palace!!!

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