Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hirbet Itri - February 19th 2010

Whoever started a story, "it was a dark and stormy night", wasn't thinking about the Mosaic walk on Friday the 19th. In spite of a rather murky Thursday the 18th, Friday was gorgeous, with only a slate blue sky short of being perfect.

Everyone from Jerusalem who gets individual mails from the jrsmosaic mailing list, as opposed to the digest, gathered at one side or the other of Binyanei HaUma in Jerusalem. We all found each other, and pulled out by 8:15.

Tova, our guide, walked us through some of the reconstructed digs of Hirbet Itri, a ruin from the 2nd temple period and Bar Kochba revolt. The brave-hearted crawled through a tunnel from the synagogue. The tunnel came out in one of the private houses. Actually, Alan came out somewhere else. I don't know, ask him.

I'm not sure who said that they must've dug the escape route as a way to to get away from long sermons, but he should probably change shuls, or at least find one with a tunnel out the back.

Our exploration of Hirbet Itri ended at one of the most beautiful wine presses I've ever seen. One of the hikers (Marty, I think), explained to us the that the two openings in the upper pool were for straining the refuse out of the stomped grapes.

The walk from Hirbet Itri to Hirbet Borjin was a short and easy, but beautiful. The spring flowers have come out. It's great to see them every year, after the winter.

Hirbet Borjin was great. We started by visiting a bell cave at Hirbet Pitum, spent some time watching the birds, and visited another bell cave, wher Alan tried to get us all to beam up.

After a panoramic view of the whole area, we started home.

Thanks to Tova for a different kind of hike in a place I personally have never heard of before. Looking forward to going back again.

Steve, Alan