Abraham Path; From Beit Idis to Pella

It was still dark when the Muezin announced the start of EID, the festival of breaking the second fasting after Ramadan.

In the early morning our host showed us his herd of sheep. It was cloudy, a rare weather condition for the summer time.

We started our hike with the visit of the ruins of a Byzantine Church. Most of the mosaic floor was covered by  sand. The site, a  cultural treasure, was unprotected.

Our hike took us through two Wadis- Wadi Sirr and Wadi Malawi – with only a few very old oak trees providing shade along the way. We walked down from 600 meters to around sea level.

Despite the unhospitable seeming land we came  across some wildlife – a giant lizard and two communicating Levantine turtles. Das With their hard shells they bumped into each other which made a loud noise.

Walking down into the Jordan Valley in a temperature of over 40 degree celsius was a challenge. Good thing that we carried plenty of water!

From under the shade of a few pine trees we enjoyed the view down into the Jordan  Valley and the West Bank.

We stayed overnight in Pella, a city founded by the Romans. Pella was one of the 10 fabled cities that made up the Decapolis.

Our first sight of Pella. The city has a history of 7000 years of continous settlement. The reason for this is the existence of a well that, according to a Pella resident, produces 700 liters of water in a second.

In the evening we visited the site with our local host. He showed us the pre-Roman Canaanite  temple of Baal costructed in 1270 BC (in the foreground). In the distance down below is the well-preserved Roman Civic complex which was transformed into a church during the Byzantine times.

In the past the site was not protected and stealing artifacts was done without punishment. Nowadays a small area of the site is sourrounded by a wired fence with holes in it for easy access. This site is a treasure for humanity. It needs to be researched, guarded and protected.

Local children watching us with curiosity.

Born and raised in a village along the Danube in Austria, Traude Wild soon ventured out into the world. After a two-year program for tourism in Klesheim/Salzburg, she spent nearly a year in South Africa and Namibia. By returning back to Austria, she acquired a Master of Economics at the University of Vienna. After moving to the United States with her four children, she studied Art History at Arizona State University and stayed in the United States for fourteen years. Here, she was teaching Art History in several Universities like Webster University and University of Missouri-St. Louis. Now, she lives partially in Arizona and Vienna and works together with her husband for the University of South-Carolina, Moore School of business as Adjunct Professor organising and leading Study tours in Central Europe. She also teaches at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. Since 1999, she is practicing Zen meditation in the lineage of Katagiri Roshi. She loves to hike and to write and is a student of Natalie Goldberg. During her often many weeks long hikes she brings her awareness into the Here and Now, describing her experiences in an authentic way. She loves to walk pilgrimages. The longest hike so far was the 1,400 km long 88 Temple pilgrimage in Shikoku, Japan in 2016.

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