Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Our trip to Israel - Part 3

Okay, is it possible to visit Qumran (where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found), Masada and the Dead Sea all in the same day?  Yes.  Is that the best way to enjoy these historic sites?  No.
Even if you are familiar with the literature, photos and movies, to really experience and enjoy these important places you've got to take your time.  See Masada in the morning (when it's cool) and the Dead Sea Experience in the heat of the afternoon.
Trip into occupied territory, anyone?  We were in a cab back to our hotel one afternoon when Khalil (email: offered to take us to Bethlehem.  $400 NIS includes transportation and tour guide through the Church of the Nativity.  Khalil phoned Khalid enroute and he met us at the Church.  Small groups with an experienced guide often get to go where larger groups cannot .... and the intimate nature of a smaller group befits this sacred place.
After our tour, we of course were escorted to a 'friends place' where the famous Arab hospitality and haggling over souvenirs began.  Some baklava and sweet mint tea, lots of laughter and probing conversation finishing with shopping bags filled with local olive wood handcrafts.

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