Today was one of those days where I spent my layover time in Atlanta. That’s not that rare nor is it for me to halfway listen to the news broadcast on CNN at the gates. However, today, I suddenly stood up looking for the speaker. The anchor was saying something about Israel and the West Bank, Syria and the Golan Heights. Granted these are frequent topics on the international news, but just hours earlier I was in Israel on vacation. I had a chance to see so many places I had heard about for decades… its clear that while this trip has helped me understand some of the history and religion that makes the region unique, that I will remain feeling connected to the Middle East in a different way now.
Don’t worry, I don’t think I learned nearly enough in a week’s trip to think I’m now an expert on Israel, much less Middle East politics. I got a tiny bit of exposure to the place, particularly its history, religion and people. And I hope that as I put some of that together into blog posts in the coming days (and potentially weeks) you find something of interest in the words and photos I can share.
The story on CNN recycled a little while later and I realized the events were in the Golan Heights, which we got very close to but did not enter. We did go to areas of the West Bank though. And the reporter did his standup from Jerusalem — we had just left the city Saturday night as we flew home to the US. During our visit to Israel, we saw several areas of the country and even crossed the border into Palestinian-controlled areas of Jericho and Bethlehem. We stayed at a hotel on the shore of the Sea of Galilee several nights and the drive from the Sea of Galilee through the West Bank to the Dead Sea will stick with me forever. As I recover from jet lag & the back log of work that no doubt has amassed, I will share some of my thoughts in the next few days.
To help get this started, let me tell you a little bit about the parts of the map we covered during my tour — our focus was central & northern Israel including the cities and towns of:
- Mediterranean cities of Tel Aviv, Jaffa and Haifa
- Several nights staying in Tiberias on the shore of the Sea of Galilee with day trips each day to explore the region including areas southwest like Nazareth and northeast like Caparneum
- Driving south through the West Bank to the Dead Sea and then heading west to Jericho
- Several days & nights in Jerusalem seeing sites there and in neighboring towns of Bethlehem, etc.
I’m not sure what I’ll end up pulling together so if you have a few things of interest, please shout. Of course, you should always feel free to ask questions or add your thoughts.