We’re back in Alonim. I’m not happy about it but I’ll only be here for a few more days. I wanted to stay in Binyamina next to the Sea. Someone else lives in that apartment now and we’re off with the wind, only knowing it takes us to the US.
This Tuesday is my birthday and for the first time I get to celebrate it with Ram! Last month we got to celebrate his for the first time as well. Anyways enough about birthdays.
On Thursday I start my long trip home… (I AM getting on the flight this time). It’s hard to believe that in three days I’ll be in my old room. It’s been six months since I was there. I’ve never been gone for so long. I wonder how it is for people who are gone for years?
This weekend Rams parents house was full of family. To escape the crowd we took a road trip to Belvoir Fortress. It’s Hebrew name is Kohav Hayarden meaning “Star of the Jordan”. The fortress was built close to the ancient Jewish town of Kohav (star). In 1168 the Hospitaller Knights (Crusaders) bought the land from a French noble family and began building the fortress. The fortress is on the edge of a cliff high above the Jordan river and about 20 km south of the Sea of Galilee. From the fortress you can see the Jordan river and Jordan the country.
A 10 meter deep mote surrounds the black and white stone fortress (the black stones are volcanic and the white stones are chalk, all from the surrounding area). The main gate faces the cliff and has two big double arches that I imagine a big wood gate slid between. Just before the gate and scattered around the outer walls are many firing slits. A firing slit is a tiny space between the stones of the outer wall where an archer can shoot without being shot. I’ve seen these firing slits in every fortress we’ve been to so far. On the opposite side of the fortress there was a big draw bridge stretching over the mote. Now there’s a nice and safe modern one.
While wondering around I found the entrance to a water cisterns. A water cistern is a big man made cave like structure that captures rain through small openings in the roof. Because they seal the walls and ceiling so well water doesn’t evaporate. Of course there is no water in it now so Ram and I hung out for awhile to escape the blazing sun and stuffy humidity. Next to the cistern are some remains of a bath house. I read that all the members of the Crusaders were required to shower and shave; which at the time was very uncommon. Good for them!
I’m not sure the reason, if it was the heat, the location or that it’s one of the smaller fortresses in Israel but Ram and I were alone most of the time. I felt fortunate to be alone is such a interesting place. It seems to me that historical sites have a certain vibe to them and when you’re alone it’s stronger. I’d say it’s a very grounding feeling.
It was a great last minute trip. I’m glad I got to explore one more fortress before I leave. I’ve been to quite a few ruins and fortresses but I never get sick of them. I’m not sure I ever will. They are just so cool!
When I post my next blog I’ll be back in Washington. There isn’t much history there but there is a lot of gorgeous wilderness! And next to that wilderness a new chapter of our lives will beginning. I’m nervous and hopeful. My first goal is to get home; to survive the flights, rides and sleep deprivation. So as this chapter is coming to a close I say:
Goodbye to Israel
Goodbye to the Sea
Goodbye to Binyamina
Goodbye to Alonim
and most of all Goodbye, for now, to Ram
“you will always be my favorite hello and hardest goodbye” -Cecelia Ahern
Wish me luck!
P.S. This is my 100th post on About a Little Lion!!!