We have visited quite a few places, and several of us are keeping good journals that will help put everything in a nice chronological order. I have been more lax on that, so they are a little jumbled here, but I thought I'd mention some memorable sites that we haven't blogged about yet.
Nazareth was a beautiful city; it is in Israel's borders, but the population is almost entirely Palestinian Christians and Muslims. We visited Mary's Well and the Greek Orthodox Church of the Enunciation that is there, and we visited Mary's house and the Catholic Church of the Enunciation there. Both were beautiful. The Catholic Church of the Enunciation has beautiful, large paintings and mosaics from all around the world. I will post some images soon.
We visited Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee and saw some impressive Roman and Crusader ruins there. Here's a photo at that site:
We went on a boat ride in the Sea of Galilee and took communion there on the boat. A wave came across the side of the boat and splashed us in the middle of it, which felt really appropriate and kind of baptismal. Others have shared personal reflections on that experience, and I hope they will write about them here. (No pressure, Harriet, Rick, or Bar!)
Here is the boat:
Jericho is a familiar city from the Bible, right? Well, it was one of my favorites. We spent some time in the modern city, which is in the West Bank. Surrounded by desert, Jericho is very hot and not very touristy. Larry and I walked around and found a discarded school primer in Arabic. I can recognize the maps in it, but that is all. I have held onto it to share with friends who are studying Arabic in Austin (That's you, Christina). Larry and I wandered into an empty sandwich shop and had a limited but pleasant conversation with the 19-year-old kid running the shop. His grandfather had immigrated from Nigeria, but Jericho is the only home he has known. Unfortunately, he doesn't use e-mail, so it's unlikely that we have a new pen pal, but the short time we spent there was very pleasant.
We also went to the ruins of Jericho, but the results of excavation were never published, so there was not a lot to see except for deep holes and stratification of a variety of walls.
We made a quick stop by the River Jordan, although the traditional site where John was supposed to have baptized Jesus is on the other side in modern Jordan.
I've missed some things, but hopefully others will supplement and bring us up to the present. I will say that we're currently in Jerusalem staying at the Lutheran Guesthouse in the old city in the Christian Quarter.