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I only have a few hours left in Israel. At 4am tomorrow I take off to the airport for my 7am flight to Rome. I’ll have an eight hour layover in Athens, so I’m going to try and make the best of it and so see the Acropolis in the time I have. It should be a really busy day: wake up early, fly, run around Athens, get back to the airport, fly, arrive in Rome and try to get settled in a room I have yet to book. I also gain another hour back from the 24 I lost when I went over the International Date Line.
Yesterday I spent all day taking photos in North Israel. I visited Caesarea, Haifa, Acre, and got to within about 20-30m of the Lebanon border. In Caesarea was the former capital of Israel during the time of Herod. He built it in honor of Augustus and created an artificial harbor. It was also the HQ for the Roman Governor of Palestine. It was believed the Paul was imprisoned here before he was taken to Rome to be executed. There were also Crusader and Turkish buildings built on the site. The ancient Roman theater has been rebuilt and is currently used for performances. I’m not sure how I feel about that….
Haifa is the home of the Baha’i Gardens which is the most sacred spot in the Baha’i Faith. The gardens were beautiful, but closed because it was a Baha’i Holiday. We could take photos from the top of the hill, but that was it.
In Acre we explored the old Crusader Fort, which is still inhabited. Acre is a mix of Jews, Arabs, Christians and Druze. It was very odd to explore all the tunnels and rooms in the fortress and then walk outside into the middle of a wedding ceremony.
I’m excited to be ending the Middle East part of the journey and beginning the European part. It will be nice to be in a place once again where I can at least pronounce the words I see on signs, even if I can’t understand them.