Monday, January 11, 2016

Marissa Goes Hiking (sort of)

Before I get to the shocking story about how I experienced some nature today (fyi: it's not shocking unless you know about my aversion to outdoor activities), I have a story I need to recount so I don't forget about it and I can laugh in the future.

Last night when I went to bed, my room was clean and organized and everything looked normal. This morning when I woke up, everything that had been on my desk was flung all over the floor, and most surprisingly one of my sliding closet doors had completely fallen off. 

These are big, wooden doors and I have a hard tile floor. Yet somehow... I didn't wake up to what had to be a really really loud noise. Not only did the door fall, I'm guessing it smacked my desk on the way down. There were a ton of books, nail polish bottles, and perfume bottles that fell off my desk (thankfully nothing broke). What??!! What is wrong with me? 

I usually wake up really easily and I always set my alarm clock to the quietest setting. So I'm very confused. It did wake one of my roommates up and gave her a nice scare. Anyways, I've been laughing about that all day. So bizarre.

This morning I went out exploring in Haifa with my friend Bryonna. I'm running out of time to see everything I want to in Israel, so it's sightseeing crunch time. There is a monastery called Stella Maris overlooking the sea that I've wanted to go to. You can reach it by cable car, because it's on top of a mountain. 

Unfortunately, after riding the bus for a long time, we got to the cable car station only to find that it was closed for repairs. Thankfully, a taxi happened to pass by and we were able to take that instead.

Here's the outside of the monastery. This mountain is where the Carmelite order was founded. Guess why they're called the Carmelites? Because it all started here on Mt. Carmel, that's why. This building is from around 1830, but there have been previously destroyed churches here since the Middle Ages.




There's a small but pretty chapel inside.






This little cave part (currently featuring a nativity scene) is there because the Bible says that Elijah hid in a cave on this mountain to escape King Ahab when he wouldn't worship Baal. So apparently this is one possible location of "Elijah's ACTUAL cave." We went to another one later in the day.

To get to the other cave, we had to hike down the mountain. I would definitely call it a mountain, but Bryonna called it a hill. At least in Wisconsin it would be a mountain. You be the judge.

Mountain/hill from the bottom:


There were lots of pretty views while we were walking down. Here are some of the trail.





And some of the views.





We came across this random little chapel that according to the sign had been converted from a windmill. I vote that that our church buys it and establishes a Haifa branch. It would probably be about the right size. ;)


When we were almost down the mountain, we came across another possible "Elijah's ACTUAL cave." This one was the Jewish version. It was basically a synagogue being used by lots of people praying... in what looked like a strange little basement.

On the bus ride back to campus, we were unexpectedly treated to a free show. Two little boys, probably around 8, realized that they'd gotten on the wrong bus. They were crying and everyone else on the bus was YELLING at each other to establish the best way to help them. Hint: everyone screaming at each other was probably not the best way. It was just a little bit ridiculous and hilarious because it was all so intense. It was my second bus-wide argument I've experience in Israel (other one found here). That's Israel for you! It's an interesting and entertaining place.

It was nice to get out today. By the way, it's about 65 degrees warmer here than at home. Just throwing that out there. Now it's time to go back to homework... I just have 2 more weeks of class and 16 days until I head home!






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