Steve Griffin

Fort Fun Granola Boy

Steve Griffin

Israel 2012


You are all wonderful.

-steve g

Middle East » Israel » North District » Nazareth May 30th 2012

Today was supposed to start with a nice run along the roadside as the sun rose over Galilee. So, after taking full advantage of the snooze feature on the alarm, I rose just in time for breakfast. So it goes. We started the day off with a nice, leisurely boat ride across to the other side of the lake. I say leisurely, in that at one point a large white bird flew parallel to our boat...and soundly beat us to shore. But it was well worth the time together as a group, and once we arrived at the other side we got to examine a preserved wooden boat which was discovered along the shore line. This boat has been dated to the time of Christ, the 1st century AD. We then hit up Nazareth, a church ... read more
please kids.  no swimmung.
the Sea of Galilee...mostly still
fisher on the Jordan River.

Middle East » Israel » North District » Golan May 29th 2012

Woke up on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, and stepped out the door to partake in a humid, sweat-filled run along the bike path and roads north of Ein Gev. The air is so thick here, you could choke on it. Even the wind this morning just pushed the soupy mess past me. Still, it felt good after a day off, and this was shortly followed by the best cappucino from a machine that I've ever had. Today our class started out at a preserved Talmudic village named Katzrin. The original village would date from the 5th-6th c. AD and would have housed a community of Jewish interpreters of Jewish thought and law. We discussed their methods of construction, using thatching sealed with clay for their ceilings (which of course required re-sealing every ... read more
Inside bunker, Har Bental.
Metal sculptures.
Mt Hermon facing North into Syria.

Middle East » Israel » North District » Ein Gev May 28th 2012

I write to you at 665 feet below sea level, on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee. A long-craved for cup of coffee in my hands, our team has landed at a lavish resort complete with a sandy beach, bike trail around the Sea, and...hammocks. A man could get used to this. After an early start from Jerusalem, our first port of call was...actually a port of call. Caesarea (Maritima) is on the Mediterranean coast between Tel Aviv and Haifa. Being the despot engineer that he was, Herod the Great commissioned an artificial harbour here, constructing between 22 and 9 BC. Once finished, the harbour was told to accommodate 300 ships. I had not previously made the connection between this port town and the events in Acts, wherein Paul would have arrived and departed ... read more
Harbour at Caesarea Maritima
kayaker in the Mediterranean
Absurd sign

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Nablus May 26th 2012

Day off of class in Jerusalem!'s the Sabbath, which means that almost everything this closed until nightfall. The first day we were in the country, one of our professors Dr. Dallaire introduced us to Aroma. Aroma is this absurdly good coffee shop just outside the Jaffa gate, and its small chain of stores around Israel is the reason why Starbucks is nowhere to be found. (Though...I should note that there's a "Stars and Bucks" in Bethlehem near the Church of the Nativity, whose logo looks suspiciously familar...) So, I'm having to be content with finishing up my blog posts in the comfort of the hotel room until our test this afternoon. Yesterday, we explored the area of Samaria which is largely in the modern-day Palestinian West Bank. We saw many examples of vines, olive and ... read more
Me at the MB II gates of Shechem
Excavations at Shiloh
Nablus and Balatah from Mt Gerazim

Middle East » Israel » South District » Masada May 25th 2012

I must first mention this evening that I am sitting in my top floor hotel room in Old Town Jerusalem, beverage in hand. The Sabbath is in full effect here, as it is every Friday night at sundown, which means that the town almost falls silent. Earlier a large group of us congregated up on the roof as fireworks echoed around us, but the lack of crowd noise and the background noise of cars once per week is such a contrast to the norm. But something must be open a few floors beneath me on the street, as I can still hear the din of a crowd socializing. Saxophone, of all things, wafts up through my open window. Jerusalem never seems to disappoint or fail to surprise. The final day of our trip down south was ... read more
Chief Ibex.
Storehouses at Masada.
Brian and Dr. Dallaire at the entrance to Qumran Cave 11.

Middle East » Israel » South District » Arad May 25th 2012

We trekked up to Tel Arad on Wednesday the 23rd. To illustrate the height of my nerd-dom in the ancient world, the highlight of the day was visiting the Arad house, which demonstrates the typical house layout from the Early Bronze Age. The doorway presents itself on the long end of the wall, and the dwelling had no windows. Ah, you want more trivia about this fascinating site? How about the fact that a small clay model of the exact same dwelling was found within the Arad House, which helps us confirm that this design was in fact a standard design for this time period. Brian (our fearless class instructor) made an excellent point at this site. We read so often about the various types of sacrifices which were performed throughout the Old Testament. Though the ... read more
the Arad house
Arad house
camels, Negev wilderness

Middle East » Israel » Center District » Rehovot May 24th 2012

On Tuesday (May 22nd) we took off for a 3-day excursion through the Shephelah, Coastal Plain (S of Tel Aviv), and the deserts of the Negev. Our first stop took us far and away from our home base of Jerusalem westward, bumping over valleys and over bridges on the modern roads which now scream past the ancient trade routes and fortresses. We eventually turned off at a small industrial complex, and the large tour bus (freight liner?) began slowly winding on a small gravel road past wheat fields and vineyards. If our tour guide had been any but the fearless and atrociously knowledgable Brian of Fresno Pacific Uni, we probably would have been slightly more suspicious ending up where we did! Our driver's efforts were soon rewarded, however, as we disembarked at the base of Khirbet ... read more
Columnbarium at Mareshah
Olive Press at Mareshah
Sidonian Patriarchial Tomb, Mareshah

Middle East » Israel » West Bank » Bethlehem May 22nd 2012

It was about time to ramp up a travel blog for this excursion! Over a week and a half after starting out in NYC, I at first had made peace with the notion that I would not blog this trip. But, we are simply learning and experiencing too much to not share the wealth with whomever might be interested. So I'll start with the current day and perhaps fill in the gaps later...? Yesterday (the 21st) a group of us took off from JUC for Bethlehem. We used the (newer) bus station across the street from Damascus Gate, which kind of kicked me into nostalgia mode since it was where a friend of mine and I found a hotel when I was here last. The public bus took us to the checkpoint for the West Bank ... read more
Wall mural, Bethlehem.
The Wall and Watchtower.
Wall mural.

Europe » Sweden » Uppsala County » Uppsala June 5th 2011

my last day in Sweden, i took the train an hour north to "the Oxford of Sweden," Uppsala (so says my Rough Guide, anyway). so glad i did. easily one of the highlights of the trip. the comparison to Oxford is a bit of a stretch, but it is very compact, and life does center around Uppsala University. inside the Carolina Rediviva, which is the university library, is a not-to-be-missed exhibition of priceless manuscripts. these include a 6th-century copy of the Bible (named the Silver Bible), an original copy of Mozart's Magic Flute score, and Newton's Principae Mathematica. and admission to this collection, easily the best of all the collections i've visited in all of Scandinavia...20 kr. settled in for another hot latte (which means it's served once again in a glass mug that is absolutely ... read more
Uppsala Cathedral
map in Greek and Russian
Original copy of Newton's masterpiece.

Europe » Sweden » Stockholm County » Stockholm May 29th 2011

there are not many more therapeutic exercises than a long train ride through new territory. the gentle rocking, new sights streaming past in an adrenaline frenzy - while there you are, taking it all in. the train ride from Copenhagen to Stockholm is about 5.5 hours, so i didn't pull into the station until late afternoon. the hostel i was staying at used to be a 747 (well, still is...but is missing engines and seats, has beds and rooms, and generally i slept a bit more comfortably than my last plane ride). Sunday I spent the whole day devouring Stockholm. south of the train station, Gamla Stan is the old city, and reminded me in some ways of Edinburgh with its narrow alleyways and blind twists and turns. there are all kinds of pubs, as well ... read more
more Vasa
this means something very different in English.

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