Day 5 - Around Nazareth

Day 5 was a crazy busy day. We began with an early breakfast, which in Nazareth meant pita sandwiches. It was actually a great breakfast, very filling and not to heavy or sweet for so early in the morning. Although, you could load up on pita with jelly if you needed the sweet.

Our first stop for the day was Megiddo. Tel Megiddo overlooks the Valley of Jezreel, and was the site of many battles in the ancient world. It is also mentioned in Revelation 16:16: the word Armageddon refers to this site. The ruins have been well excavated and provided us with an idea of what the city would have been like during the time of the kings of the Old Testament. Our professor had never been here and was VERY excited to get to see the area.

I was VERY excited to go to our next stop, Caesaerea, to see a part of the ancient Roman aqueduct, and more importantly (to me), the Mediterranean Sea. We got to be there for about 20 minutes. Obviously, I was not in charge of the trip.

Sadly, they kept whistling at us to get back on the bus, so we got back on to head to the next site. There I found some yummy chocolate. And some awesome mosiacs. The site was called Zippori National Park, or Tsipori, or Sepphoris, depending on where you were from and how long ago you were there. This was a Jewish town under heavy Greco-Roman influence. The ruins here gave us a good perspective on what structures and cities would have been like during New Testament times, in particular the larger cities that held synagogues and theaters and other large public buildings.

On this day, I realized that we were never going to have lunch when I was used to having lunch and should bring more food with me.

We were treated to a light lunch at The House of Hope International Peace Center, and were able to meet the leader of the center, Elias Jabbour. He spoke to us about the work of the center, as well as the challenges they face as Palestinian Christians and as agents of peace.

His wife and granddaughters, who helped with the meal. By the way, you may have noticed the fruit on the table and in the previous picture of Jericho. They grow this fruit in Israel--tangerines, oranges, pomelo, bananas, pomegranates, persimmons, dates, and more. It was delicious and so fresh. The clementine I bought when I came home--not so much.

After this lunch meeting, we headed back to Nazareth. There we visited the Basilica of the Annunciation. This was one of the newer memorial chapel/churches that we saw on the trip. Believers from around the world contributed wall mosaics within the courtyard. Under part of complex, we were able to see part of the ancient village of Nazareth.

We had a little bit of time after this to wander down the street to visit some shops. I found a couple of wooden statues. And I found a food shop to buy the first of my daily snacks, some dates.