Hello everyone! It’s hard to believe we’ve been here nearly three weeks already. School is well underway and Brad and I both are loving classes. I am fortunate enough to now take two classes—Archaeology and The Gospel of Matthew. Brad is taking these two classes as well so it’s fun to have them together. We were fortunate enough to find people to watch Denyon for the six hours we’re in class which is such a blessing. It gives us some time away and keeps Denyon used to being with others. It’s working out great.
This past weekend we spent three days in the Galilee region. We stayed at a very nice inn on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee (aka Kinneret as the Israelis call it). We had extremely hot weather (nearly 110 most days) so we had to be mindful of Denyon of course. Despite that, we were able to visit the ancient ruins of Bethsaida (a small fishing town in the bible where at least Peter, James, and Andrew were from), Capernaum (another fishing town where Jesus regularly visited and preached in the synagogue), Tabgha (the site of the church of the multiplication of bread and wine), Susita (in the Decapolis on the eastern side of the sea…near where supposedly the pigs from the demon-possessed man ran into the water), and Hazor (an ancient city built by King Solomon’s men). Hazor was the only new site for us and we had the whole park to ourselves for three hours. The ruins were extensive and included a large Solomonic Gate to the city with six chambers and an outstanding water system with a shaft that went underground to a tunnel of a pool of water. It’s amazing what these early builders could do without the conveniences of modern day.
In addition to these ruins, we visited a place in the Golan Heights called Hexagons Pool. It was in the Yehudia Valley Reserve and we hiked down (about 25 minutes) to a beautiful natural waterfall and springs and pool among beautiful rock walls and trees. The water was so refreshing and the whole family enjoyed a swim…well Denyon mainly splashed water everywhere. It was lifegiving water in the extreme heat. Brad and I are actually headed back to the same area next week with JUC for a more extensive all-day hike. We’re looking forward to it very much.
We briefly visited the Jordan River park, saw the ancient Galilee boat in the museum located in our hotel, went down to the area where seven natural springs flow into the sea, and climbed a small mountainside for a beautiful view of the entire sea. We arrived too late to explore the ancient ruins of Gamla (we were there two summers ago but wanted to go again…maybe next time). And it wouldn’t have been a complete trip without some family swim time in the Sea of Galilee. Again, the water was refreshing although not near as cool as the water at Hexagons Pool. Overall it was an amazing trip and we were grateful for our time as a family there.
On another note, everyday life is going well. I’m figuring out how to grocery shop here and it is a little different. If I go alone, I typically must take the stroller, lock it outside the store, put Denyon in the cart while I shop, and make sure I don’t get too much that I can’t carry it home in the bags I bring and the stroller. We have been told that most stores deliver if you like but we haven’t ventured to do that quite yet. If Brad goes along it’s a little easier and we’ve actually taken a suitcase to fill up with groceries. As Brad likes to say, “Here comes the carnie act!”
Denyon cracked me up on the last shopping trip. I was going to buy some cucumbers and went to grab a produce bag to put them in. I probably looked away from him for maybe 5 seconds and when I looked back, he had grabbed a cucumber and was eating it whole! I suppose he wanted some cucumbers as well! He’s been doing much better sleeping and is getting back to his normal 8 a.m. wake up time. We are so grateful for that!
I suppose that’s it for now but we’ll keep you posted! Until next time…shalom!