For those of you who follow this blog on a semi-regular basis, you know that one of my favorite types of postings, are those about trips of mine around Israel.
One place I haven't been to in a long time, is "Sebastia" (the Roman name for the Shomron). It used to be a much more popular location for family trips and hikes -- there's an old Turkish train station, Roman columns, ruins of a Roman amphitheatre (extra credit for those who can name the locations of ALL the Roman Amphitheatres in Israel).
(Palestinian Grafiti on ancient stone columns; thanks guys!)
In fact, the entire modern day settlement movement -- of building Jewish communities in the Shomron was actualized in Sebastia at a mass rally which led to the building of Elon Moreh (the first settlement in the Shomron).
Unfortunately, since the Disengagement from Gaza and the Northern Shomron, Israelis are not allowed to visit Sebastia without special IDF permission and escort (it used to be that you could drive there since its minutes away from Shavei Shomron, a nice-sized community). Double-unfortunately, I was unable to go on this particular tiyul this past chol hamoed due to Tesseract-type reasons, but a good friend of mine, BoneCrusher, went there instead and took lots of pictures and blogged about it.
He gets his blog-name from a guest appearance in my post about "What's in a Jewish Handshake", and he accompanied me on our wonderful night-time excursion to Kever Yehoshua.
His blogging style is very different than mine, but the information and pictures make it more than worthwhile to receive an official Muqata hat-tip.
See it all here: The Trip to Sebastia.