In a couple of days, my wife and I will take a trip to the country of Israel. She visited that country about 25 years ago. I have never been. So, we both are so excited that we get to take this trip! We hop on a plane on Saturday, May 26, and arrive in Israel the next afternoon. We will get back into the United States on Sunday night, June 3.
I will try to post to this site periodically during our trip. I want to capture the moments in writing, pictures, and videos. Doing so will help me to enjoy this trip for many years to come. But, it will also allow others the opportunity to explore Israel from their own homes as they view my blog posts.
Here is our itinerary:
Saturday, May 26
Depart for Israel
Sunday, May 27
Arrive in Israel (Tel Aviv)
Monday, May 28
Begin your pilgrimage to the Holy Land with a drive northwards along the Plain of Sharon, the Mediterranean and old coastal road.
The first stop will be the ruins of Caesarea Maritima, built by Herod and where Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, based his seat of government. This is also where Cornelius lived and was baptized (Acts 10); where Paul embarked to Tarsus (Acts 9:30) and where Phillip preached (Acts 8:40).
Then travel north and ascend Mt. Carmel to view the Carmelite Monastery, the “Place of Sacrifice” where the Prophet Elijah had an encounter with the Priests of Baal (1 Kings 18:17-40).
Enjoy panoramic views of the Jezreel Valley, also known as the Valley of Armageddon, viewing Megiddo, one of King Solomon’s walled, fortified cities, with the ruins of 20 levels of civilization.
Continue along the pastoral hills of Galilee to Mt. Precipice, to the town of Nazareth, the hill country of Galilee where Jesus grew to manhood (Matthew 2:23). Here, visit the Church of the Annunciation.
Later this afternoon arrive in the city of Tiberias by the Sea of Galilee.
Tuesday, May 29
This morning, embark on a full day tour where you will have the opportunity to take a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee docking at Ginosar to see the famous “Jesus Boat”, an archaeological treasure recovered from the waters of the Galilee, dating back to the first century.
From here, cross the lake to Capernaum, the town where Jesus chose His first disciples among the humble local fisherman. You will view the remains of Peter’s house and the synagogue site where Jesus taught and worshiped (Mark 1:21; Luke 4:31).
Continue to Tabgha, the sight of the multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes (John 6) and the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus preached His famous “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7).
The day continues with a lunch stop at St. Peter’s Restaurant before you continue north to the Golan Heights.
Stop to visit Banias, one of the sources of the River Jordan and the site of ancient Caesarea Philippi, where Peter made his confession of faith in Christ (Matthew 16:16).
After the conclusion of the tour, drive back to your hotel for dinner.
Wednesday, May 30
Another spiritually enriching day begins at the headwaters of the Jordan River, the Yardenit, where Christian visitors come to renew their faith with a traditional Baptism.
Continue southward to the remarkable ruins of Beit She’an, a city mentioned in the Bible, later a Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine city which was destroyed by an earthquake in 749 AD. It was here that the Philistines hung the bodies of Saul and his sons on the walls of Beit She’an (1 Samuel 31:10-12).
Walk through the incredible excavations of the largest ongoing archaeological dig in the land of Israel, with its amphitheater, colonnaded Roman streets, mosaics and Roman bathhouse.
Proceed south toward Judea, through the lush Jordan Valley and passing by the ancient city of Jericho.
Arrive at the Holy City of Jerusalem for observation of the city from the Mount of Olives with its panoramic view of the entire Old City. Tracing the footsteps of Jesus, continue down the Palm Sunday route to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations.
End the day just outside the city walls with a visit to the Garden Tomb, first identified in 1849. A rock formation resembles a skull (Golgotha) and the site accords with the biblical data of the area where Jesus was buried.
Arrive at the hotel where dinner will be served.
Thursday, May 31
Start the day by visiting Western Wall Tunnels, which stretch along the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. Visit the Pool of Bethesda and the Crusader Church of Saint Anne and walk under Ecce Homo Arch, built by Hadrian in 135 AD.
Then retrace the steps of Jesus with a walk along the Via Dolorosa before reaching the final station of the Cross at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
Enter the Jewish Quarter and the Cardo of the Old City.
This afternoon, take a short drive to Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity, built over the cave of Christ’s birth, as well as Shepherd’s Field and the plains of Boaz. Finally, visit one of the famous Bethlehem gift shops before returning to the hotel.
Friday, June 1
Begin the day with a drive by the Knesset and the Big Menorah, symbols of the State of Israel.
Next visit the Shrine of the Book at Israel Museum, where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are kept.
See the Model City, a 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it was during Jesus’ time on earth.
Continue to Yad Vashem, a museum built in memory of the 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II.
This afternoon, continue to Mt. Zion to visit the House of Caiaphas the high priest, where Jesus was interrogated the night of His betrayal (Mark 14:53-65).
You will also visit the King David Tomb and the Upper Room, the traditional location of the Last Supper.
Saturday, June 2
Today, visit Masada and the Dead Sea.
Tonight, enjoy a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.
Sunday, June 3
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight