Today was our first day of touring, and it felt pretty full, although the tour guide at the end of the day said that tomorrow will be a full day, and so apparently it is possible to at least try to squeeze even more in.
Today was a visit to completely new places for all of us, since they were places that even I had never been before. Our first stop was Caesarea Maritimia. It is a fantastic site for introducing the way sites in Israel reflect a long history of occupation by a variety of civilizations, all of whom may have left their mark on the site. The location seems to have first been established as a port by the Sidonians. In the Roman era, Herod the Great built a city there and named it after his patron. During the period of direct Roman rule, Pontius Pilate lived there and it is the place where the only inscription mentioning him was found. Conflict between Jews and Gentiles there sparked the war against Rome that ended with the destruction of the temple in the year 70. It served as the capitol of the Roman province of Palestine in later times. And the history continued, often with things being built, destroyed, rebuilt, destroyed again, replaced by something else, and so on and so on.
From there we went to our hotel, where they have free wi-fi, and so hopefully today and tomorrow not only will blogging about the trip be easy and painless, but perhaps I can persuade the students to also share some of their photos and thoughts – or at the very least make contact with family at home if they have a device with them that will let them do so!