June 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Day 3

DAY 3 – TUESDAY, JUNE 12: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, BETH SHEARIM, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIAS

Today was our first full touring day here in Israel. While we dearly missed the 14 who were delayed from Chicago to get here, it was a great day! We were greeted with sunshine and temps in the low 70s, and highs in the 80s.

Casearea

Caesarea theater

Sitting in the theater at Caesarea

Leaving the hotel at 7:30, we drove north to Caesarea. This was a city built by Herod the Great in 22 BC. Unique, after hearing about biblical connections to this city (Peter – Acts 10; Herod Agrippa I – Acts 12), Phillip (Acts 21), and Paul (Acts 26) while sitting in the reconstructed theater, we we poured upon! It never rains in Israel in June… but it did for about 15 minutes. After watching a video about the city, we saw the palace, the hippodrome, the area of the harbor, and the Crusader part of the city. Before leaving, we saw the aqueduct that brought water into the city from the Carmel Range.

Carmel Range/ Muhraqa

Jezreel Valley

Jezreel Valley

Driving form the Sharon Plain, we climb the Carmel Range. Upon arriving at Muhraqa, the highest peak of the Carmel, we entered a small chapel. Here we read from Isaiah 35, Song of Songs 7, and 1 Kings 18 (Elijah). Fro the roof of the chapel we saw our first of three views of the Jezreel Valley below. The visibility was very good for this time of year. We ate lunch at a Druze restaurant near by.

Megiddo

Canaanite gate at Megiddo

Canaanite gate at Megiddo

Driving down into the Jezreel Valley, Megiddo was our next stop. This was our first OT archaeological site, complete with over two dozen occupation levels spanning about 2,500 years. Climbing the tel (“ancient mound”), we saw three different stone gates, horse stables, a train bin, among other ruins. We remembered the stories of Thutmoses III who captured this city in the 15th century BC prior to Joshua’s conquest. Solomon would eventually re-fortify the city (1 Kings 9). We left the site by walking down 180 steps through the water system. 

Beth Shearim

Beit Shearim

One of the tombs at Beit Shearim

Because of a big traffic jam and lack of time, we could not make it to Sepporis near Nazareth. However, we stopped at Beth Shearim instead. This was where some of the early Jewish leaders int eh Talmudic Period (3rd- 7th century AD) were buried. It was a large underground necropolis! 

Precipice of Nazareth

Mt Tabor

Mt. tabor

Our last stop of the day was the Precipice of Nazareth. With a great view of Mt. Tabor (Judges 4-5), the Hill of Moreh (Judges 7) Mt Gilboa (1 Sam 31) and even the hills of Gilead to the east. We read from Luke 4 and John 1 ad were inited to “come and see.” 

Driving through Cana (John 2), we arrived at our hotel in Tiberias. We enjoyed dinner together before retiring for the night. We also were delighted to hear that the “missing 14” from Chicago finally arrived in Israel tonight after 50+ hours of travel! 

DAY 4 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 13: GAMLA, QATZRIN, MT. HERMON SKI LIFT, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, DAN

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June 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Days 1 & 2

DAYS 1 & 2 – SUNDAY-MONDAY, JUNE 10 & 11: DEPART FOR & ARRIVE IN TEL AVIV, ISRAEL

Welcome to Israel

Welcome to Israel sign at the Ben Gurion Airport

Our day of departure finally came! The group of 82 that God has brought together used primarily three flights, with some flying to Israel on their own. All the flights went well with the unfortunate exception of part of the group flying out of Chicago. Because of the delay of their flight, 14 in our group missed the international flight. We hope they are able to be re-scheduled in a timely manner.

Jaffa

Jaffa Tel Aviv

Jaffa and Tel Aviv beach

The rest in the group arrived at the Ben Gurion Airport in the Lod/Tel Aviv area. Arriving at various times and meeting each other, we loaded up the two buses after the usual passport and luggage procedures. with sunny skies and temps in the mid 80s, we drove to Jaffa/Joppa, a southern suburb of Tel Aviv (600,000 people). We walked the alley-ways, read from Jonah 1, and Acts 9 & 10, and enjoyed our first great view of the Tel Aviv coastline.

Hotel/Med Sea

Med Sea sunset

Sunset on the Med Sea

Arriving at our hotel just north of Jaffa in Tel Aviv and right on the shoreline, some enjoyed a nap while others enjoyed a swim in the Med Sea. The water was very warm (about 80), the sane was white and soft, and the waves were beautifully rolled in.

We enjoyed dinner at 6:30, followed by an orientation meeting to help prepare us for the trip ahead. We met out on the beach and enjoyed a marvelous sunset on the Mediterranean Sea! Following the meeting, some enjoyed a stroll on the promenade, while others retired for the evening.

It was a long day but we’re excited to be here in Israel, the land of the Bible! We pray for a timely arrival of the rest of the group!

DAY 3 – TUESDAY, JUNE 12: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, SEPPORIS, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIAS

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March 2018 Israel-Jordan Tour Update – Day 3

DAY 3 – TUESDAY, MARCH 13: CAESAREA, CARMEL, MEGIDDO, SEPPORIS, PRECIPICE OF NAZARETH, TIBERIAS Today was our first full day of the tour. We enjoyed the sun all day long, with highs in the mid 70s. Perfect! Caesarea Leaving the hotel at 7:30 after a great breakfast and checkout, we drove north to Caesarea. This was a city located right on the Mediterranean coastline by Herod the Great in 22 BC. We started in the Roman theater. We read about Peter (Acts 10), Herod Agrippa (Acts 12), Philip (Acts 21), and Paul (Acts 26). Walking through the rest of the site we saw the palace, the hippodrome, many mosaics, a few statutes, and the harbor area. We exited the site … Continue reading

October 2017 Greece Tour – Day 5

DAY 5 – FRIDAY, OCTOBER 13:

Athens at sunrise

Athens at sunrise from Mt. Lycabetus

This morning we enjoyed a later start. The sunrise here in the classic city of Athens really is something to see (a few pictures are included from Mt. Lycabetus looking down to the city and the Acropolis/Parthenon as the sun came up)! The day was once again filled with magnificent sun and warm temps in the 70s.
We all enjoyed another great Greek breakfast before loading the bus for a 9:45 start. As we departed from Piraeus, the primary the port of Athens, we read from 2 Timothy 3 and Paul’s encouraging words to this fellow servant of Christ and young missionary companion.

Piraeus

Piraeus

The Greek port of Piraeus

Arriving at Piraeus, Tasos (our Expedition & Tours agent) accompanied us through the usual cruise ship procedures. He will be our escort for the next three days on board the Olympus cruise-line boat. After boarding, we all found our rooms, went through the life-jacket check and orientation meeting before enjoying lunch. There are about 1,400 on board the ship.

Mykonos

Windmills at Myconos

The windmills of Myconos, a Greek island

Leaving the port, we “sailed” towards the beautiful Greek island of Mykonos. Upon arriving there around 6 p.m., we disembarked and enjoyed a walking tour of the “island of windmills.” We just barely caught the sunset. Spectacular!  We also enjoyed exploring on our own and some shopping. By the water’s edge, many stopped in one of the many cafes for a bite to eat and/or coffee, taking in the culture and beauty.

We all boarded back onto the ship between 8:30-9:30 for dinner. It is amazing to think that Paul sailed these same waters. As we retired for the night, the ship kept course through the night and early morning hours towards Kusadasi on the western coastline of Turkey. We arrive their tomorrow morning prior to breakfast.

DAY 6 – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 14: KUSADASI, PATMOS

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September 2017 Israel Tour – Day 3

DAY 3 – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5:

Caesarea theater

Caesarea Theater

Today was our first full day here in Israel and it was a good one! With sunny skies greeting us, with eventual highs in the high 80s, we loaded our bus after breakfast and drove to Caesarea. Located in the Shalom Plain, this was a city built by Herod the Great in 22 BC. Walking from one end of the city to the other, we saw the theater, the palace, the hippodrome, the Crusader part of the city, the harbor (used by Paul), and the aqueduct that brought fresh water into the city from the Carmel Range. We read from Acts 10 (Peter and Cornelius), Acts 12 (Agrippa), and Acts 26 (Paul).

Driving to our region, the Carmel Range, we ascended the highest peak called Muhraqa (“burnt offering”) today. Here we heard the story (1 Kings 18) about Elijah and the prophets of Baal and Asherah. We also remembered other passages that connect us to this region (2 Kings 4, Song of Songs 7, Isaiah 35, and Amos 1). After entering the small chapel to sing a few songs, we went to the rooftop for our first view of there Jezreel Valley. From here we enjoyed lunch nearby.

Jezreel Valley

Jezreel Valley from Mt. Carmel

Following lunch, we descended down to the valley and to the ancient site of Megiddo. This is a large archaeological site with over 2 dozen levels of ruins spanning a time period of about 2,500 years. After seeing a model of the site, we climbed the tel (ancient mound). We saw two difference Canaanite gates, a Solomonic gate, stables, and a granary/grain silo). We stopped to look across the valley where we could see Mt. Gilboa (1 Sam. 31), the Hill or More (Judges 6-7), Mt. Tabor (Judges 4-5), and the Nazareth Ridge. We also celebrated Christ’s victorious return and the end-time battle where God has the final word (Rev. 16 and the Valley of Armageddon). We left the site by descending down 180 steps through the water system.

Megiddo

Megiddo water system

Driving across the Jezreel Valley we came to Sepporis. Even though this city (located only 4-5 miles from Nazareth) is not mentioned directly in the Bible, it was the most prominent site at the time of Jesus. Here we saw lots of Roman ruins including many mosaics. The most famous being the Mona Lisa of the Galilee mosaic.

We ended the day by ascending to the precipice of Nazareth. Here we saw the Jezreel Valley from yet a different perspective. We read from Luke 4 (Jesus in the synagogue) and John 1. It was Phillip who invited us to “come and see” Jesus! We enjoyed a quiet reflection time before getting back on the bus and driving through Cana (John 2) to our hotel located on the NW corner of the Sea of Galilee north of Tiberias.

Jezreel Valley

The September 2017 group on the Precipice of Nazareth, with the Jezreel Valley in the background.

As we arrived at Nof Ginnosar our “kibbutz-hotel” for the next three nights, the full moon over the Sea of Galilee was spectacular! We enjoyed dinner together and a free evening.

DAY 4 – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6: GAMLA, QATZRIN, MT. HERMON SKI LIFT, CAESAREA PHILIPPI, DAN, ABEL BEIT MAACAH

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September 2015 Tour – Days 1 and 2

DAYS 1 & 2 – MONDAY-TUESDAY, AUGUST 31/SEPTEMBER 1

IMG_8232The departure day finally arrived!  God brought together a total of 28 for this tour.  Most of the group met at the Philadelphia Airport for a night flight to Tel Aviv.  Others (including 6 new friends from Australia) arrived at various times.  Flying into the Ben Gurion Airport (named after Israel’s first Prime Minister), the majority of the group were greeted by our Amiel representative as well as Dr. John, Shlomo Ben Asher (our Israeli guide) and David (our driver).  Once proceeding out of the airport and loading the bus, we made a brief stop in Jaffa (Joppa).

Alleys of Jaffa

Alleys of Jaffa

While there is not much to see here, we were introduced to the concept that everywhere we go in Israel, we literally “touch” the Bible! We read from Jonah 1 and Acts 9 & 10 here, two places that mention the ancient city of Joppa.  The Mediterranean – Tel Aviv coastline is beautiful here.

Just a few miles south is our hotel.  After checking in and refreshing a little, we met for dinner together.  This as followed by an orientation dinner.  An optional walk was enjoyed by most on the sandy beach of Bat Yam.

Sunset on the Med

Sunset on the Med

We are looking forward to our first full day tomorrow when we head south through the Shephelah to the Negev.

DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2: GEZER, BEIT GURVIN, BET SHEMESH, ELAH VALLEY, LACHISH, BE’ER SHEVA

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