Sorry, no sunrise picture today as my room is on the wrong side of the hotel.
We started off our day with a stop at the Mount of Olives where we could overlook the city. We also took our group photo for the trip.
Here is the view from the Mount of Olives.
We had a great view of the Temple Platform and the Dome of the Rock. Our guide gave us an overview of where different landmarks were to help us better understand the history and development of the city.
We could also see down into the Kidron Valley and see the many tombs and monuments.
The picture was taken from in front of the Church of All Nations that was built on the traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane.
The trunks of these olive trees are amazing. Many of them are old and gnarled.
Our next stop was at the City of David.
We viewed the excavations from the time of Melchizedek and David and then descended down to the lower levels below to enter the water system of the city. In the picture above you can see members of the tour group descending the stairs. For those of you with friends on the trip here is you chance to try and spot them.
We then went to the entry gate of the water system. We had two choices of tunnels to follow to get from Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam. One choice was to follow Hezekiah’s Tunnel.
This is a difficult route as it is an active watercourse. The tunnel is also very small with an average height of under six feet.
We chose the safer and easier route through the older Canaanite Tunnel. Even so, there were times that I had to turn sideways to make it through.
Unfortunately at the end of the tunnel we did not get a great look at the reservoir section of the water system as they were doing some heavy construction in the area. After leaving the tunnel and reservoir we continued on to the Pool of Siloam.
I really enjoyed seeing the Pool of Siloam as I remember reading about the discovery about eight years ago. I also got some great pictures of bees and flowers while at the Pool of Siloam. Look for them in the future once I get home.
After a nice lunch we traveled the short distance to Bethlehem. While in Bethlehem we visited the Church of the Nativity that was built on the traditional spot of the birth of Jesus. The visit was very insightful as we were able to see variations in worship practices between different groups of Christians.
So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations. (Matthew 1:17 ESV)
Jerome or Hieronymus lived in Bethlehem where he finished his Latin translation of the scriptures.
We then had an opportunity to do some shopping at a famous store. More on this store in the future, but for now I just want to let you know that I was finally able to find an elephant made from olive wood to add to my collection of elephants from around the world.
We also drove by the Herodium.
Since I was unable to get a sunrise picture, I will finish off the post with a sunset picture taken from the bus on the way back to our hotel.
Tomorrow we will visit the Dead Sea and Masada, two of the places that I have been really looking forward to.
For more information about the trip you can also read the following blogs by other tour members.