Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Photos - Caesarea

This is the last batch of photos from our trip.

On our way back from the Galilee, we stopped in Caesarea and had lunch in the harbor:

From there we walked through the Hippodrome

to the Amphitheater:

to the Roman procurator's palace:

Above the Hippodrome, they're excavating a series of buildings, many with mosaic floors:

Beyond the Roman city lie the Crusader-era ramparts:

Beyond that lies the fruit juice stand:

And beyond that lies the Mediterranean:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Photos - Galilee

We started our tour of the Galilee with the ancient synagogue at Beit Alpha (6th Century, CE):

The binding of Isaac:

The ark and menora:

Scenic Bet She'an:

They actually have a spectacular archaeological dig, but we didn't have time to visit it this trip.

From there we drove up to the Crusader castle of Belvoir, above the Jordan Valley:

The moat:

Inside the fortress:

We spent the night at the Pastoral Inn at Kibbutz Kfar Blum.

The breakfast buffet at the kibbutz restaurant:

Where the kibbutznikim live:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Photos - Ein Gedi and the Dead Sea

We stayed for two nights at the Kibbutz Ein Gedi Guesthouse and Spa.

Our rooms:

They had a concert on the lawn Friday night:

The Ein Gedi Spa is 2 kilometers away. When it was built in the late 1970s or early 1980s, it was on the shore, but the Dead Sea shore has retreated. It reminds me of the spas in Budapest.

The spa has several sections. Indoors are the sulfur pools, with the heaviest mineral water on earth. I snapped a quick shot in the men's locker room of the entrance to them.

Outside, there is a fresh water pool and further down are the mud pits. A shuttle now takes guests to the Dead Sea beach. In the far distance is Kibbutz Ein Gedi.

There's also a lobby area where people can relax:

The Kibbutz is located in the Judean desert, above the Dead Sea and near the Ein Gedi nature preserve.

We had rare rain, so you can make out a rainbow over the Dead Sea:

Inside Ein Gedi National Park, you can see a shafan (aka a "rock hyrax"):

They live in trees and rocks

There are also lots of Nubian ibexes:

We walked as far as the lowest of the David Falls:

Dad and I walked up a bit further to the middle falls.

I then crossed over and went back down a different path:

We drove from there to an ancient synagogue (2nd-3rd Century, CE):

Note the list of donors:

The main sanctuary:

The bimah:

Unfortunately, our visit to the synagogue led to our getting a "puncture" in a tire, which necessitated a visit to the kibbutz repair garage:

The kibbutz looked particularly lovely at sunrise: