i was very fortunate to have the opportunity to take a trip to Israel this winter. the closest i had ever been to the middle east was the Czech Republic in college. to say that it's a different world is perhaps both accurate and obvious at the same time. i didn't much of an idea what Israeli geography looked like, and as it turned out, i hadn't seen anything close to a lot of what i did see. it seems that the more places i see, the more times i can make comparisons between places, but there are also more times where it's undeniable that what i'm looking at i have never seen before. that's a pretty cool feeling.
instead of write a day-by-day synopsis, i'll just give some thoughts and stories. the pictures aren't in any sort of order, except the one i gave them.
the road above was the beginning to a canyon hike we did in the Golan Heighs. abutting this road on either wide are Syrian landmine fields.
above, the ancient fortress Masada. of all the history and information we were presented with at this site, i'd like to share one bit about desert warfare. the desert can be a horribly intolerable place, but if you've got water and food, you're set. so if you can keep enough water and food for yourself then the desert becomes your enemy's enemy.
while on a hike, i was talking with Amir, one of the Israeli soldiers who had joined us. he asked me how i was liking Israel. i immediately said that it was great - i was loving the scenery and also the weather, as i had been wearing shorts, sandals and a t-shirt for most of the trip. Amir responded and said, "This is the Holy Land, you never know what each day will bring." dumb tourist that i am, i nodded my head and was about to tell him about how variable weather in Maine can be, when he finished his sentence: "...war or peace."
*text message received from the big man on the eve of departure