Saturday, March 3, 2012
I asked the Israeli Soldiers to move their truck so I could get closer to the Jordanian Border!
Hail, poppies, Tel Jezreel, Beit She'an, Crusader castle, scenic drive on Mt. Gilboa (I stopped to explore a cave (see pic), 6th Century Jewish synagogue, dead end road, Israeli border road with Jordan, spilled hot tea in my lap while driving — today had it all!
This morning at Belvoir Castle (the last site the crusader held in the first crusade) we had just started to tour the castle and view the Jordan River Valley when it started to hail! We took shelter in under some arches build about 900 years ago! We cut our visit short due to the weather but the view of the valley where Jordan River meets with the Yarmuk River (which divides the Israeli Golan Heights from the Country of Jordan) and then continues to travels south toward the Dead Sea is quite a "beautiful view" (trans. of the french Belvoir).
A couple of hours at Beit She'an necessitated a toilet break! Although I may regret this, I'm posting a picture of how a person would have used a public toilet during the Roman times!
The Roman theater, the tel of Old Testament Beit She'an (think of King Saul's body being hung of the wall of this city) which contains 20 different levels of civilization, the Roman bathhouses, the columns that collapsed in the 749 AD earthquake, the amphitheater (complete oval where the circus and fights with wild animals occurred — all are found in this Decapolis city (the only Decapolis city on west of the Jordan River.
Our lunch was a falafel and a coke and then I decided to get a take-out cup of hot tea (ginger, lemons, etc). The only trouble was I placed it between my legs and when I went to stop half of it spilled out over my lap! Owww! I finally got the van in park, got my seat belt off, and jumped out of the car (no pictures are available on my frantic moves!). I'm sure the Israeli car that pulled up behind me was wondering what sort of dance this "tourist" was doing!
Some time at the Tel of Jezreel (think Queen Jezebel and Naboth's vineyard or Jezebel and his threatening of Elijah the prophet) and then on to the scenic drive on Mt. Gilboa (think Saul and Jonathon being killed on the heights of Gilboa) filled our afternoon.
On the way back up the Jordan valley I saw a sign that seemed to indicate that there was an overview that would allow me to see into Jordan (I've been on the other side of the river, in Jordan, a number of times and wanted to show Greg and Sharon where I had driven there. However, the road came to an end and I took this picture of Greg taking my picture with a Jordanian guard tower in the background!
I can be persistent and so I began to drive around until I found a way I could get closer to Jordan. I ended up on the electrified border fence road (patrolled by the IDF—Israeli Defense Force) and then found myself blocked by this army truck and soldiers who were testing the fence. They graciously moved the truck off into the mud and let us pass by. Greg took this picture of Sharon and I standing between our van and the fence (we stayed closer to the van than the fence!) with the Jordan River in the background (the other side of the river is Jordanian territory). Through some mud, around some hills and we were back on the highway heading north to "home."
Tonight we took Gary and Cindy out to a wonderful vegetarian restaurant named "Greg" where I had Pizza Spagetti with Sachlav an Arabic or at least Middle Eastern cream drink with pistachios on top! What a meal, what a day!