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January 4, 2018

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Today was kind of a sad day, we said good-bye to Jerusalem as we headed towards Jericho and the Sea of Galilea. We started the day by catching up on a site we had missed-the Mount of Olives. The view from there of Jerusalem is just breathtaking. You can see the Dome of the Rock and the Church of Holy Sepulchre and the wall around the Old City. Below us was an Israeli cemetery.

We then began to travel north towards Tel Jericho. The mountains are amazing and you can see the strata in the rocks. You see Bedouin communities who have been displaced from their original

homes and settlements as well as Palestinian communities and even a couple of refugee camps along the way. We stopped at the Mount of Temptation where we were welcomed with dates which were really tasty. They were medjool dates. I wish I could fit some into my suitcase but there’s limited space but they are indeed good. Today is Jean O’s 81st birthday and she celebrated by riding the camel Jacky. Back on the bus we started to descend until we were below sea level. The striations in the rock were even more noticeable. We went to Tel Jericho and looked at the various wall pieces and supports that they have unearthed there. We also saw the where the public baths would have been.

We also saw the ruins of Hisham’s Palace which was destroyed by an earthquake. It must have been amazing when it was whole. We saw the entrance way, and a floor that they unearthed that was tiled but it covered right now due to the need for money to restore and protect it.

We also went to Beit Sh’ean which was a Roman city-a pretty large city once filled with a thriving population.

We went to one possible location of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan river. While we were there we got to watch as several pilgrims were immersed in the chilly waters.

We next traveled to the Sea of Galilee where were are spending tonight and tomorrow night.