holmes sweet holmes

sucking marrow and seeking more

Archive for the month “February, 2014”

winter break wrap up…almost

the problem with waiting to blog about a trip until 6 weeks later? not only have i already forgotten some details, but i also have newer adventures that i’m itching to write about. so, the last week and a half’s worth of travel stories from winter break 2013 will be condensed into two blog posts. today i’ll tackle the exploration of northern israel, mostly with pictures and a few explanations sprinkled in for good measure.

***caesarea and akko***

after leaving the desert fortress of masada, we drove north to kiryat ata looking for the residential home we’d rented for two nights. in pleasant contrast to some of our other accommodations, we found ourselves in a spacious, well-lit, heated upstairs apartment, with incredible homemade bread delivered to us each morning. delicious.

warm and well-fed, we headed out to explore early the next morning:

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mediterranean sea, caesarea national park


travel buddies

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roman ruins

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ruins of the hippodome, with factory pieces in the background

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the only stone ever found that bears the name “pontius pilate” — caesarea was the administrative center in judea

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roman amphitheater in caesarea, which is still used for concerts, etc

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akko is a crusader city, complete with underground tunnels

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the crusader citadel in akko. it’s currently under restoration, with many nooks, crannies, tunnels, and tombs to explore.

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ate dinner overlooking the port. until the sun went down and temperatures plummeted, causing us to be annoying restaurant patrons who asked to move inside.

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santa in the streets


***mount of precipice, nazareth, and mount tabor***

note to self: next time, rent a gps. 

we wanted to see many of the smaller cities in northern israel, specifically ones that are traditionally part of the bible stories. all three of us prefer moving at our own pace and exploring areas a bit off the beaten path, so we definitely did not want a tour guide. but after getting lost in multiple teeny tiny cities that are not well marked — especially when attempting to reach mount tabor by taking what appeared to be the most direct route — i’ll be splurging for the gps.

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standing on the mount of precipice, where jesus preached, looking at mount tabor, the site of his transfiguration

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morning sunlight overlooking the city



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church upon a hill

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spices in a local shop in nazareth

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coptic christian church in nazareth

a muslim cemetery in nazareth. i can read slightly more arabic than hebrew, but still not much.

a muslim cemetery in nazareth. i can read slightly more arabic than hebrew, but still not much.

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the church built over what is believed to be joseph’s carpentry workshop

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mount tabor. standing in the ruins of a 12th century benedictine church, with the fransciscan church in the background, both commemorating the site of jesus’ transfiguration.


franciscan monk friend, photo by sheila moloney

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stunning views on the twisty route down the mountain

***arbel national park and the horns of hattin***

it was too wet and rainy to hike to the famous cliffs at arbel national park, unfortunately, so we hiked shorter and less steep paths around the park, before heading to the battle site where saladin beat the crusaders in the twelfth century. and fun fact: the horns of hattin is an extinct volcano. wild. 

we abandoned our rental car when we bottomed out on the dirt road, and hiked the rest of the way to the top. when we arrived, winded and tired, a light rain began to fall. it was beautiful. 

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ruins of an ancient synagogue in arbel national park

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horns of hattin

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saladin’s victory site

***church of the loaves and fishes, capernaum, mount of beatitudes, and tiberias***

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the rock under the altar is the traditional site where jesus performed the miracle of loaves and fishes. the church floor is made of original mosaics.

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the site where jesus told simon peter that he was the rock of the church. my favorite church of the entire trip.

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“upon this rock i will build my church.”

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the church of simon peter, on the sea of galilee

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the sea of galilee

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overlooking tiberias

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high five!

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ancient synagogue, which was built upon the synagogue where jesus studied as a young boy

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ruins of the city where jesus was raised

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the white synagogue

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the traditional site of simon peter’s house

mount of beatitudes: "blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" and other such nuggets of preaching from jesus

mount of beatitudes: “blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” and other such nuggets of preaching from jesus

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view from the restaurant patio during my birthday/new year’s eve dinner. ancient and modern mingle in the design of tiberias.

new year’s eve celebrations are limited in israel, as the populace tends to celebrate the jewish and islamic new years instead. we welcomed the new year with dinner, toasts, and a parking ticket. the next morning, we returned to jordan for the final leg of our trip. 


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