MadTrippin

The Amazing Race Meets National Lampoon’s Vacation

Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

Photos and entries made while in Israel.

Andrew’s Day 8

Posted by madtrippin on April 15, 2008

We got something of a late start today – 9:00am.  We’ve been leaving the hotel at 8:30.  We headed over the Garden Tomb today.  This is also a possible location of Jesus’ tomb – the other being at the Russian Orthodox church both Gabe and I complained about a few days ago.

 

Historical records and the bible both seem to point to the Garden Tomb as a more likely location.  It’s actually an interesting site.  It’s owned and operated by a non-denominational, non-profit group.  It’s a one-acre site just outside the old city walls and is brilliantly landscaped.

 

We then headed to another church that was just above the garden of Gethsemane – the name escapes me at the moment.  This is where Jesus is said to have been tried by the Jews before going before Pontius Pilot.  The mosaics were crazy.  I would have posted some photos, but I had already packed my camera cord for the trip we’ll be taking to Rome in the morning (we leave at 2:00 am for the airport in Tel Aviv).  Gabe has some good shots on his last post (read at your own risk).

 

Then we headed back to the hotel with a half-day free.  We all took a short rest and then we (Gabe and our parents) went out to the old city to walk the crazy labyrinth and do some last minute shopping.  We’ve really got this haggling thing down to a science.  The key is to be prepared to walk away, even if you really want the item.

 

I wanted one item and the vendor started out at $40, which was a joke.  I just started walking.  He then went down to $20 (“because business was slow today” he said).  I turned and told him it wasn’t even close and started walking again.  He then went down to $15 and just before I got out of earshot, he went down to $10.  Man I’m good.  I learned from the best – my mom.

 

Here are some shots of my kids I downloaded from the camera before the trip, just to have some images in my post.  The first is of Emma (She’s 8 years old) and the second is Noah (5)

 with our neighbor’s dog Lenny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 8 for Gabe…

Posted by glovin33 on April 15, 2008

It was definitely a good day.  We started with the garden tomb, which is the logical place of Jesus’ tomb.  The bible tells us that Jesus was crucified at Golgatha or the skull.  Look here at this pic…looks like a skull yes?

 

 Then you can track a bunch of stuff in the bible and point to a wealthy mans tomb in a garden.  Check out this pic…..this was Jesus’ tomb. 

 

The garden was beautiful and I got a lot of wonderful pics and can wait to share more with you when I get home.   But for now, that’s it of the garden.  We had a service in the garden and then went to the place Jesus was arrested, tortured and tried.  Here is a pic of the stairs they brought Jesus up after being arrested. 

 

The church that sits on this site was one of the most beautiful we’ve seen.  The entire interior was covered with mosaic tiles depicting everything from the last supper to Jesus being tortured.  To find it we had to follow all these pics of cocks and there was a giant cock weather vain on the top of the cross.  I have no need to tell you how hard I laughed, so I got pics to share with you….I present…the cock top church.

 

Last pic, we were in the jewish quarter today and the cross walk sign was funny.  Look closely at his hat….hehe.  I almost fell over.  If you don’t get why it’s funny, you need to come visit me in New York. 

 

My time in Israel is done.  It will take me some time to truly process it all, but it’s been significant.  Tonight, we go to Rome…

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Day 7? i dont’ know anymore…

Posted by glovin33 on April 14, 2008

Today was probably the busiest days so far, and one of my favorites.  I feel bad saying that because today have very little to do with biblical stuff, but it was really fun. 

 

We did some girly thing at the AHAVA store. Which was some cosmetics or spa something…..i was busy making fun of it, so I didn’t get a hold of it till later. Anyway, We went on to Masada. Which if you don’t know the story, it’s pretty cool, but I think Andy told it.  What I found cool is how they held out for 3 years with rain water and stored food.  Amazing.  But it was hotter than a mother—–out there.  I’m surprised no one over heated. 

 

Anyway, we went to Qumran. Another sect that handled the Romans in their own way.  But they were a bunch of fruits living in commune where the women lived separate and the men were crazy.  It becomes more and more apparent where sexism came from the more I’m here.

 

My favorite part was swimming in the dead sea.  I covered myself with dead sea mud.  Gave myself a good case of mud butt. It felt great.  Your skin gets all slimmy and it looks a lot like something I left in the toilet, but my skin is soft now and it was a lot of fun just floating around with no effort.  I’m really glad I have Andy here or I probably wouldn’t have gotten to go.  Only 5 people from our group went in.  It’s a shame too cause it was a life time opportunity.  Just lift your fit and sit in the water and you can read the paper your so sturdy.

 

We also went to Jericho.  It was different than the other places we went to, but everyone in the group was tired and crabby so we didn’t get much time there.  Poor.  Very poor.  You’d step off the bus and kids would bag for money.  Shacks everywhere. Rubble and garbage as far as you could see.  It’s part of Palestine so it is having a rough go at it and we had to go through another military checkpoint with giant guns. 

 

This day is busy.  Very busy.  Very fun and eye opening. 

 

I know your all looking forward to a poop update, so I won’t let you down.  I love Hummus, but Hummus doesn’t love me. I’m pretty sure Andy is about to kill me because of the constant gas attacks.  For some reason, I just can’t stay away from the chick pea.  Mmmmm…..chick pea…..

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Andrew’s Day 7

Posted by madtrippin on April 14, 2008

Today we headed out to the desert.  First we went to the Ahava factory.  Ahava is really high end skin care products made from the minerals and mud from the Dead Sea.  I’m pretty sure that was for the ladies of the group.

 

After that we went to Mesada, which is where a Jewish sect of about 900 called the Zealots holed up against the Roman army for 3 years (year 70 AD).  The settlement/palace was built on the top of a mountain by Herod as an escape from the Romans (which he never even visited) and only accessible by a crazy climb or cable car.  Because it was so remote, the ruins are fairly well intact.  The photo is of the remains of the ritual bath area. 

 

On the way out, Gabe and I spotted another mullet.  We could take hundreds of mullet shots every day, but this one was funny because he was wearing a sailing hat.

 

By the time the Romans were almost able to enter the city, the entire population (aside from 3 women who hid in a water cistern) were dead.  The men had taken care of the women and children and then killed each other.  One of the remaining women killed the last man.  This is where we get the term “zealot” – from this Jewish sect.

 

We then went and saw where the area the dead sea scrolls were found – Qumran.  It was found in a cave (pictured) by two Bedouin (sp?) shepherd boys by accident.  They had lost their sheep and were throwing stones into the mouth of a cave to kill time and heard one stone crash into a jar, so they went to investigate and found the scrolls.

 

Next we went to the Dead Sea for a dip.  Of our group of 16, only 5 of us went in.  Because I went in, I didn’t get in pics.  My dad did and I’ll try and get those up before I get back.  The experience was awesome.  You float with zero effort and in as little water as 16 inches. 

 

As I mentioned in the entry about Ahava, the mud and minerals are used for skin care.  The water feels slippery or oily.  The mud is ultra-fine and you are supposed to smear it on your skin with positive effects.  It definitely exfoliates and your supposed to feel the effects for a few days after your swim.

 

We then went to Jericho, which is a Palestinian area.  It was interesting because it’s not a very popular place for tourist.  We saw a famous 2000 year old sycamore from the story or Jesus and Zacheus.

 

Finally, on the way home, our bus just about died.  The air conditioner crapped out, the bus sputtered to a stop and black water started pouring out of vents in the ceiling.  Eventually it got up and running and we limped back to the hotel.

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Day 6….Gabe

Posted by glovin33 on April 13, 2008

Ok.  So today was a day.  We started with a Lutheran Church Service.  Which is just like every other lutheran church service i’ve been too in my entire life.  THe same songs the same order and the same everything…..You all need to come to the church malika has been taking me.  It gets out of that rut that is sunday services.  I just wish i could throw out all the hymnals and just enjoy a service that is inpirational and moving.  OK…done ranting….

I’m sure andy covered most of it so I’ll talk about Lillian….our tour guide.  We went to the holocost museum and she told us her story of living through the holocost and how her family lived through it.  She cried and it was good for all of us to put a face that we loved to the stories.  Then we went through the museum which was too much to handle in one day, especially with all the other tourists there.  But it’s important.  Very….

One thing that was a little weird today was all the israeli army everywhere.  I’m not used to seeing people with guns and today they were doing training.  Guns and troops everywhere.  Most were no more than 18.  And women with guns.  Men and women are the same in israel when it comes to the army.  So it was crazy with all the guns. 

This is a really great experience.  I wish you were all here.  Ok…i’m out. 

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Andrew’s Day 6

Posted by madtrippin on April 13, 2008

We started out the day with a church service at the only Lutheran church in the old part of Jerusalem.  It was built by Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm in 1910 or so.  That makes it a pretty new structure on old Jerusalem.

 

Later we headed to the Zion Gate and the upper room, which lays claim to the location of the last supper.  It’s really a very plain room, compared to many of the other sites.  I took a shot of the only stained glass in the room.  Interestingly, the writing on it is Turkish.  The image won’t load, so that will have to wait.

 

Our tour guide then took us up to the rooftops, where there were no tourists.  I took a couple of shots from there towards the Dome on the Rock.  Pretty cool.  There were also a couple kids up there flying a kite over the city.  Unfortunately for them, the wind died down, the kite crashed somewhere in the city and they were unable to retrieve it.

 

We also went down to the Holocaust museum, which was a little depressing and very crowded, but really interesting.  No cameras are allowed inside, so I didn’t bring my camera.  It’s unfortunate, because the architecture is crazy.  The museum itself is like a triangular peg balancing on a mountain peak.

 

My family decided to forgo the hotel dinner and we walked into the Arab/Palestinian neighborhood and find dinner.  It was nice to have good food and not have to deal with the crazy crowds.  It was also something of an adventure.

 

I also talked to Maria, Emma and Noah today.  I miss them a lot.

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Andrew’s Day 5

Posted by madtrippin on April 12, 2008

Today we stuck around Jerusalem.  We headed into the old part of Jerusalem (inside the walls).  It’s wild in there.  The streets are like something you’d see in an Indiana Jones movie, most places are about 10 feet wide with buildings on either side containing tiny shops with merchandise flowing out into the streets.  The people that run these shops assail the passers by with their sales pitches.  Avoiding them is a skill I believe I’ve mastered.

 

We followed the stations of the cross, which wound its way all through churches, monasteries and streets.  The final station was the supposed tomb of Jesus, which is inside a Russian Orthodox church.  We sat in line forever (probably over 1.5 hours) to see a stone that Jesus was said to have been laid upon.  The entire time we had a bunch of crazy Russians pushing us from behind and trying to cut in line.  Talk about pushy, rude and just plain uncool.

 

The Russian Orthodox church is really into worshipping icons and they kiss paintings and anything Jesus or bible related.  They’re also really into very gaudy displays in their churches.  Needless to say… this was not the highlight of the trip.

 

After all that we headed to the Church of John the Baptist.  It was very ornately decorated with hand painted tiles, paintings and statues.  The Franciscan monks that run the church didn’t want a single word spoken in the church, so our guide had to whisper when they weren’t paying attention.

 

Gabe and I ended the day walking back to the old part of the city after the group got back to the hotel (about a mile) to explore.  It’s a totally different place when you’re not there with the group.  It’s like a giant bazaar or flea market filled with people (Jews, Arabs, and every other race crede and color), housewares, clothing, produce, prepared foods, electronics, etc.  This is like the mall back in the states – maybe a little more like China Town in New York.  You can get just about anything – fake nikes and knock-off clothing were all over the place.  Gabe bought a four pieces of flat bread from one of the vendors for about 4 shekels ($0.25 each).  We ate it at dinner with humus.

 

One more mullet pic from today.  I know what you’re thinking… it’s just a pony tail.  What you can’t see is that his hair is cropped short on the sides.  All that pony tail is from the back of his head.

 

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Gabe’s Day 5

Posted by glovin33 on April 12, 2008

So I’ll just hit the highlights of today, cause it feels like we did a lot of stuff that wasn’t really important. We hit old Jerusalem today. Pools of Bethesda, Stations of the cross, Church of the holy Sepulcher, Prison where jesus was held and ended with the Church Of John the Baptist and the Springs of Mary. The holy Sepulcher was pretty cool. It’s like 12 churches in one all center around the spot that the orthodox church claims is Jesus’ tomb. Here’s a pic of the inside that I liked. There is really no proof in the pudding that this is actually jesus’ tomb, but we’ll see another spot tomorrow that claims the same thing. There is a lot of that here. They claim this or that, but none of it is true. I was talking to my dad about this and it all comes back to faith. We know this stuff happen and somewhere near here, but exactly where doesn’t matter so pick a spot.

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You know how you hear, Americans are rude? Wrong! Try Russians, Italians, Armenians, Palestinians, Israelis, Japanese, Indian, ect. Everyone is pushing and bumping and trying to sneak in here or there. This is a religious place, but most of the time you’d never know it. I had one Russian lady today while we were standing in line stand so close to me from behind, here toes were touching my shoes, and I think she may have checked out my colon. Every time I tried to move forward she’d move forward so she was touching me. I finally “accidentally” Stepped on her toe really hard. Didn’t stop her. So I started dancing, which pushed her back for a while. But man lines of people are annoying. Unfortunately they are everywhere.

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My favorite part of the day was old Jerusalem. It like a market out of a dream or movie. Packed with people and good and everyone jockeying for sales. It was great. When Andy and I got free time, we went back. Here’s a pic, but it doesn’t give it justice. You really need to see it yourself. You can buy anything and haggle to get the best price. I only bought some fresh made pita, which was wonderful, but I’ll go back and get more. It was a little weird though to have soldiers with machine guns on every corner. Not something I’m used too. Anyway, that’s it for today…….

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Gabe’s Day 4…

Posted by glovin33 on April 11, 2008

Ok…so i’m sure andy told you what we did.  So i can get into the good stuff. First of all, I’m having a blast.  All this stuff we learned about as kids or in college, or on my own, right here in front of me.  It’s neat to be with my dad in this place.  Every question i had, he has an anwser.  All the things I’ve studied….there they are.  I do kind of wish I could see more of the jewish and muslium sides of things, but we will not have time.  I’ve got 4 or 5 more completely packed days left and it will be a real trip. 

 So the palestinian/israel thing is a real freak out session. We crossed into bethlehem which we had to pass the border line.  Giant wall, Machine gun carrying guards, barbed wire, towers…….it was unreal.  The crazy part was that they bus driver would say, as a machine gun carrying guard would come on the bus, theses are americans, and he would leave.  We were let in.  No questions.  Yet our tour guide, a jew and israeli citizen was not allowed in.  Then as we talk to people , they all seem to love us.  So really….what’s going on?  Comercializm has taken hold and americans spend money.  Our group alone spend 1000’s of dollars. I know one person in our group spent over a $1000 on her own, let alone the rest of us.  So the bethlehem people love americans.  Is it that way in Gaza? 

This trip makes you think more than your used too…Religion, politics, history, relationships, family, friends….all in your mind…all the time.  At the end of the day your just wasted.  I’ve been thinking all day and there are no perminant answers, but i have my views.  And i now know what I want.  We’ll share that with on the solo front.

My favorite part of the day of the wailing wall.  An original part of the western wall of the temple in jerusalem.  I got to pray while touching an original part of the wall from Jesus’ time.  It was pretty cool to pray for my friends and family in such a holy place.  There was a special energy there that you could feel and sense.  I will remember it always.  

Ok….calling it.  I miss talking to my friends and family….especially Malika…..I will see or talk to you all soon…..

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Andrew’s Day 4

Posted by madtrippin on April 11, 2008

We had a crazy day tody.  We hit went to the church ascention (where Jesus was to have ascended to heaven.  On the way out, a arab kid handed me a olive branch and, unfortunately, I took it.  They expect to get paid.  I handed him a dollar and one of his little friends (maybe 5 or 6) wanted a dollar too.  I tried to give him a sheckel ($0.25) and he threw it back at me and followed me back to the bus asking to “give me… give me… give me.”  the whole way back to the bus.  It’s just pathetic.

Then we headed into the inner walls of Jerusalem.  We went to the Inside the inner walls of Jerusalemwestern wall / wailing wall, where people are praying.  It’s a high security area, so you have to go through a security check-point.

After that, we headed out to Bethlehem.  Our guide couldn’t come with, as Israeli citizens aren’t allowed in Palestinian areas by Israeli law.  We headed Security check-point on the way out of Bethlehemthrough the security wall picked up a new guide.  We visited the Church of the Nativity and Shepherd’s field.  I had no cell service in the Palestinian area, so I missed the call with my family – I was bummed.

 Here are the mullet hunting pics I promised to Maria.  The little kid in the middle had just been baptised at the Jordan river.  The guy in the middle of the other pic has a crazy mullet, but his camera strap blocked it little.  His female friend to the his left had a fe-mullet.  For this shot, Gabe offered to act as the faux photo subject, just in case he saw me taking his picture.

Mullet2Mullet 1

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