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St. Paul's Outside the Walls

Hello from Jerusalem! I’m back after a few days without internet access. In the meantime I left Rochester, NY to come back to Jerusalem for my final semester. However, I had a two day stopover in Rome, Italy. I had never been there before. Of course, you cannot see nearly everything there is to see in just two days. I saw just enough to know that someday I will have to come back to Rome and the rest of Italy.

The Coliseum

The best part of this trip is that I am on it with my parents and brother! We are traveling the Land Between together and I get to be the teacher for a big portion of the trip! I am very excited about that. We are going to be in Jerusalem until Friday morning when we set off for a week visiting the Coastal Plain, the Shephelah, the Galilee and the Negev. We are going to be running through this land like Tiglath-Pileser III!

Titus's Arch and the Temple menorah

Our time in Rome included a visit to St. Peter’s Basilica as well as many other churches filled with magnificent art. We also visited the Pantheon, the Coliseum, the Forum, and many public squares and fountains. It was a very busy 2 day trip.

St. Peter's Basilica

Today was spent traveling from the Sileo Hotel, where we stayed near the Termini Train station in Rome, all the way to Jerusalem. Tonight we unsuccessfully attempted to make our way to the Israel Museum by bus in order to see the Dead Sea Scrolls and some other interesting artifacts. We quickly discovered that most Jerusalem-ites know nothing about the various branches of the Jerusalem bus system. They just know which one takes them from home to work and to the shopping areas.

Pope Benedict

However, not knowing which bus to tell you to ride does not keep them from acting like they know. I was fooled by their certainty tonight and thereby got myself and my family lost. What a way to begin Mom and Michael’s first experience in Jerusalem. It can only get better from here I suppose. Tomorrow we plan to see Bethlehem, the Herodion, the Temple Mount and surrounding area, the City of David, Hezekiah’s Tunnel, and the Siloam Pool. That’s a lot, but hopefully there will be time for some shopping and a visit to the Holy Sepulcher in the evening. Maybe we will even be able to make it over to Moshiko’s on Ben Yehuda Street for some of the amazing shawarma that is served there. It will be an exciting day of site-seeing. I’ll update you with more news later.

Grace and peace,
Peter