Crusader Castles and American Colony Reception

Last night the staff went to a reception at the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, held by the financiers of the American digs in Israel. Essentially, we ate munchies at a now fancy hotel (was originally a mission that provided shelter for American travelers in Israel) with millionaires. It was awkward. haha. The food was delicious. There were about 4 or 5 different excavations represented, but Gezer by far had the largest representation of staff. Everyone else only had maybe 3 or 4 tops. Well, Israelis were invited too, but as it was Shabbot, they didn't show. I thought that was a poor choice for the hosts, but oh wells.

We chatted with a few people, but it was quite uncomfortable for most of us, so we sat in the chairs around the walls and munched on the tasty food. At one point, one of the couples came up to Lesley, Marcella, and I and asked if we were some of the volunteers. When we said that we were two years ago and were back for our 3rd season and were now full staff, they were pleasantly surprised. They said that that was the best compliment to give, to actually have people returning year after year. Then they had a prayer circle with us. They were nice. [EDIT: Steve just informed us that these two donors were "quite impressed with the three ladies in the corner". hmmm....]

Later, when many of us were itching to leave, Gary came up, stating how he'd also like to leave. Two of our staff, Cameron and Adam (quite an inseparable duo) were outside on the porch. Gary gave them a stern look and a gesture to come inside. He was kidding of course, but Cameron and Adam looked at each other and hurriedly made their way in. We laughed and as they approached made to tell them that Gary was only joking, when Adam walked softly up behind Gary and gave him the sweetest kiss...on his bald spot.

We all completely lost it. This is just one of the many many many examples of the humor of the people on this dig. I have never known as humorous a bunch.

Anyway, here are some more pictures of Galilee. After the Crusader Castles, I have one more set from Tel Dor.

Dennis took us up to a park where lots of people were having BBQs. *drools* But the view was absolutely spectacular. He took us here to show us one of the crusader castles, most probably of the Knights Hospitaller. This area was a boundary between all the fighting knights.

See the bit of stone waaaay off in the distance where those two mountains kind of meet? Yea, that's a castle.

Oh, some more of the view.

So green and mountainous...

What the...oh. Well. OH, I remember. I found out that my camera has a "smile" setting. The caption with it says that it takes the picture automatically when your subject smiles. Um...it didn't really work, did it?

Pretty yet dangerous (!!!!) thistle flowers! It's pointy!

There it is! The castle! Super cool.

Alright, the last of the photos are from the next caslte we went to at Yihiam.

Sky view of the castle...

Oh excuse me, it's a fortress...

Built right into the bedrock.

There was a little restaurant and it made for pretty pictures...

Ah...a bathhouse....

Erm...this place made for lots of super pretty pictures...

I'm thinking this isn't what the castle used to look like. It's most likely been silted up to that level. It doesn't make any sense for those arches to start right at the floor level. But, I'm not a medieval archaeologist nor a medieval historian, so I really couldn't tell you. haha.

A narrow pathway we decided to follow. ooo, we're adventurers!!!!

This led up to a high tower with a gorgeous view of the Galilee.
See? These spots were chosen specifically for their views for obvious reasons.

It was reused, much like Gezer was, in the 1948 war. There were quite a few bunkers. But all the signs for information on them were only in Hebrew, whereas all the warning signs about falling rock, etc were in Hebrew, English, and Arabic. We were wondering why that was, but as we don't know Hebrew, we can't really say.

A well inside one of the towers!

Aaaaand there's the Triumvirate! Plus Transvestite Belle (Lesley's roaming gnome)! Actually, we have a new nickname now. Marcella Barbosa is now Field Captain Smoky Barbosa and we are her pirate crew: Peg Leg Haines and Crackpot Davis. Cameron and Adam gave us these names.

Marcella's last name is Barbosa, so she gets lots of comments about having the name of the pirate captain from Pirates of the Carrabean. Then she became the mini-field supervisor for Adam and Cameron as they learned how to manage a square. They affectionately referred to her as Field Captain Barbosa. But then she nearly set fire to her pizza bites in the microwave in the dig house, so now it's Smoky Barbosa. Lesley and I for the life of us cannot remember why she's Peg Leg, but that's what it ended up as. Crackpot is only a temoporary name for me until they can come up with a better one, but Crackpot is from all the smashed pots we removed from my square on Thursday.

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