The Holy Land : Israel Part II

Jerusalem, IL
November 11- 23, 2012

Mid way through the trip, the militant group Hamas, located within Gaza, and Israel, signed a ceasefire, which made tensions much lower within Israel, with everyone we were with, and our families and friends back home.
This is me in the cave systems under the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

This is a picture of Me and my girlfriends Dad in Safed.
 Safed is a city in the Northern District of Israel located at an elevation of 2,953 ft, the highest city in the Galilee and in Israel. Due to its high elevation, Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters. Since the sixteenth century, Safed has been considered one of Judaism’s Four Holy Cities, along with Jerusalem, Hebron and Tiberias;  since that time, the city has remained a center of Kabbalah, also known as Jewish mysticism. Due to its mild climate and scenic views, Safed is a popular holiday resort frequented by Israelis and foreign visitors.

At a boat yard in Tiberias
My girlfriend and I in the Ramon Crater, the largest natural crater in the world caused by erosion. 

This is me in a crater, within the largest natural crater in the world. (Ramon Crater)

This is me and my girlfriend floating in the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea, also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are 1,388 ft below sea level, Earth’s lowest elevation on land. The Dead Sea is 1,237 ft deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With 33.7% salinity, it is also one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water.

This is my girlfriends sister, brother, and me, swimming in the Dead Sea.
This is my girlfriends brother, her, and me on a buoy that we swam out to in the middle of the Sea.

This is me on the Snake Path up to the historical site of Masada.
Masada is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel, on top of an isolated rock plateau on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. Herod the Great built palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE. The Siege of Masada by troops of the Roman Empire towards the end of the First Jewish–Roman War ended in the mass suicide of the 960 Jewish rebels holed up there. Masada is Israel’s most popular paid tourist attraction.

This is a view of the top of Masada. We climbed up the Snake Path by foot, and then later took the gondola back down.
This is my girlfriend and me sifting through debris for bones, pottery, and ancient artifacts from the Tel Maresha excavation sites.
This is me in the Tel Maresha caves, with only a wax candle to light my path.

This is the family, and guide that I had one of the most memorable vacations with, and this night capped my study abroad experience. I think it should be mandatory for everyone, not even students, but  everyone should explore the world, be the minority, and live life on the edge of the seat a little more. There are too many people who take their lives for granted, and those that are not living up to their potential, and those who are ignorant to other cultures, or ethnicities. My study abroad experience has molded me into a humble, adventurous, passionate, creative individual with a respect for my fellow man, and mother nature.
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