Friday, July 30, 2010

Israel: Part One

A few weeks ago, Jerid and I had the opportunity to go to Jerusalem with our friend Alex Hawks from our church. I may have said this before, but his family has been in Utah for the summer so he has been our buddy on a few adventures, this being the greatest.

We decided on a Saturday/Sunday trip in which we would just stay one night at the YMCA right outside the old city walls. We figured if we left early enough on Saturday morning we could get through border control and customs quicker than waiting until it filled up later in the day. It's illegal to take any cars across the border in exception to diplomats, so that was our saving grace! Alex works at the embassy so we happily made it through every line and obstacle in record breaking time (even for diplomats). We made it through in around 45 minutes! You could tell that the arabs waiting in line to get across were going to be in line for hours and hours. Poor folks.

We made it into the city from the Hussein bridge in about 25 minutes. (I'm not going to get into too much detail about the differences in the city with the Isreal/Palestinian parts of the city because the more I'm here and the more I learn the more upset I get about the entire thing. So, I'll save that for another day, but let's just say this experience has opened my eyes to the reality of the situation.) So, entering the city we immediately went up past the LDS Jerusalem center to a lookout where you can see the entire old city. That's where our picture tour will begin.

I thought this sign was funny.

Hate, hate this picture, but this is Jerid and I standing in front of a view of the old city. You can see the dome of the rock above my left shoulder. Ohh... the spot of earth that holds the answers and dilemmas to nearly all of the worlds problems.

We found a parking spot right in from on Orson Hyde Park and we headed down the hill about 1/4 mile to the Garden of Gathsemene. Jerid joined the groups of crazy christians who tried to lean as far over the fence as possible to grab a piece of olive branch to take home. Luckily his arms were long enough, so we have a wonderful 3 inch piece of olive branch to remember it by :). Thanks babe!

Next we headed over to the supposed place of Mary's tomb. This was the first taste we had of mere scary, dungeony, dark and gloomy sites where over the centuries places that should have been bright and lovely and peaceful have become, well, like this....

We didn't take too much away from this other than wanting to escape pretty quickly.

Next we headed to the cemetery that is parked in front of the East Gates of the city of Jerusalem.

We headed into the city in the newer East Gates. First we stopped at the old washing pools where Christ healed the blind and sick. We had to go down pretty far to get to the area that was being used when He was around.

Jerid, Melody, Alex and Matthew

Next we headed into the small streets of the city, walking the path of the Via Dolorosa. The path that Christ took while carrying the cross to be crucified.

There were marked spots along the way citing where Christ may have fallen, or where he received his crown of thorns, etc.

The last thing we did on our first day was visit the Garden Tomb. This is where I know that Christ was crucified and laid in His tomb. It was a wonderful experience because of the wonderful Christian group from the UK who preserved the site so well and carried the spirit with them while they let the public in. They really let open it up for you to chose for yourself whether this was actually the true Galgotha or not. They lay out the facts and tried to preserve the area to the best of their ability to resemble what it looked like 2000 years ago.

My favorite place in Isreal, by far.

Behind us in this picture is Galgotha (the skull). This was once a quarry that was set just outside the city walls. It was also on the side of a major street way. You can see the face of the skull directly between Jerid and I. Back in Christs day they would often times use the quarry as a place to stone people in punishment of crimes. We know this to be where Christ was nailed to the cross and died.

This was our tour guide. He was a wonderful man who cared deeply for Christ and for his atonement for us. He really drilled into us that this should not be a place to mourn but a place to celebrate that He Lives!

Inside the tomb. The only finished side of the tomb where one body laid. The other two spots were never finished.

Such a beautiful site! Jerid and Alex talking out side the tomb.

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Location:Jerusalem, Israel

Friday, July 2, 2010


A few weeks ago we went to Jarash to see the old Roman ruins. We found some guy on the side of the street who offered us a ride up north for 1 JOD each. We couldn't refuse. So, we headed up the hill, about 45 minutes north, to see the city. It was super hot this day so we didn't stay exactly as long as I would have liked, but we had a nice audio tour with our portable device that explained a lot of what we were looking at. Because it was a few weeks ago and we've done a lot of touring since then, I don't remember a lot of details, so I'll just put up the pics and a website where you can learn more about the old city.

Jerid tried on a traditional Kafia that he ended up buying. He looked pretty sexy in his arab wear :) We also bought an original oil painting from this guy. We're bringing home quite the collection of art, hope we can get it all back on the plane!

The southern gate to the city. Just inside these doors were stables to the left where you could drop off your donkey, horse or camel.

Inside one of the old palaces that is now used to display the most detailed stones that they've found. The ceiling is, as you can see, covered in soot and smoke from the hundreds of years of candles and fires inside.

Heading onto the main street toward the city center where the markets would have been. The layout of the city would have been pretty spectacular then. As you can see from the cracks in the streets, there were quite a few earthquakes that helped take down this city. The main quake in 700 something AD left the city lifeless.

Detailing on a fallen stone.

This was my favorite place. This was the public pool/bathhouse. In each of the crevices there were roman statues that had water fountains pouring out of them into the pool below. You can see the holes in the stones fed the water. There would have been huge canvases threaded through wooden beams that covered the top of the semi-circle so that the pool was partially shaded. when you look inside the pool, under all the garbage and fallen stones, you can still see the details of carved fish at the bottom of the pool.

This was some queens temple, I can't remember, but it was HUGE! As you can see by the pictures of Jerid at the top and me at the bottom, this was quite a trek to the top. Everything was still in great shape.

Jerid standing at the entrance to the northern ampitheater. The people must have been pretty short back then because Jerid had to duck in a lot of the doorways.

The Temple of Zeus (from the side) the temple is being excavated right now, so we couldn't get to it or get a great view of how magnificent it really is. This is set up on top of a hill above the city center.

A great view of the great size of the city. You can see the south gate at the very furthest point in the photo. About 1/4 inch right from Jerid's right shoulder.

Another great outing in a fascinating country. Can't wait to see it again when Jerid's parents come out. They're coming out for 12 days on July 11th, we're very excited! What a great opportunity they have to see this part of the world!

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