North America, Asia · 7 Days · 19 Moments · March 2017

Kent and Karen's journi to Israel

8 March 2017

This was a very warm day and a long ride. We stopped at a Bedouin village where the children all came out to get candy from us. Adorable! We went to Masada, a desert fortress considered to be a powerful symbol of Jewish bravery. It was built by various civilizations, with King Herod building a palace and massive fortifications there. Jewish rebels occupied it and were besieged by the Romans. They killed their families, each other, with that last man committing suicide rather than succumb to torture and slavery. We visited the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, a Bedouin desert land. Then, we went to Dead Sea itself, and floated in the buoyant waters before slathering black mud on ourselves. Last, we visited Jericho and shopped in a glass shop. We have an early day tomorrow, so off to bed.

6 March 2017

We left Tiberias today after watching the sunrise over Galilee. We drove past the site where we were baptized in the Jordan, heading south into the desert. We passed the kibbutz where Golda Meir, the first female prime minister, lived. We continued on a highway that closely paralleled the Jordan River, where now it was the border between Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan. We stopped at the Jordan again, at the place where it is believed John baptized Jesus. The path that led to the river was narrow, as the area around was littered with land mines from previous wars. At the water, we were 50 feet from Jordan. The water was muddy. We had lunch and some rode a camel for $6. Then, on to Bet She'an a tell of 20 layers of cities. There were columns tooled by earthquakes and a 153-step climb to the top. We rode through the West Bank, passed Bedouin villages and Jewish settlements. We got to Jerusalem and toured Caiaphas' house, were Jesus was kept before crucifixion.

5 March 2017

We woke early to the sunrise over the Golan Heights. After breakfast, we were off, but we changed seats to the back of the bus. Our other seats had an obstructed view. We drove through miles and miles of green farm land with lots of citrus trees and banana plants. First, we went to Caesarea where there we ruins from the port built by the Romans. That was my first time to see the Mediterranean Sea. We saw King Herod's box seat in the hippodrome. Not bad seats for a chariot race! We then went to Mt. Carmel, with sweeping views of the Armageddon Valley, where military superiority controlled the area throughout history. We could see the borders with Lebanon and Syria. Falafel for lunch, then to Megiddo, where 27 layers of cities lay atop each other, each built on the ruins of the last. We exited through a deep tunnel, dug to provide water even in times of siege. We went to Nazareth for another mountain view, then to Cana,where Jesus turned water into wine. A long and amazing day!

4 March 2017

Today we went to Caperneum, saw Peter's house, floated on the Sea of Galilee, and were baptized in the River Jordan. The weather was great and it was a fascinating journey through Biblical and modern Israeli history.
Breakfast was really good, too, but Karen and I have some sleep-medication hangover still, so we're a bit dizzy. We head out in a few minutes on our first tour.
The view from our hotel overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Today we will begin touring. We slept okay. And this was a nice morning view!
We made it! Time to start this party!
We are about an hour out of Tel Aviv. We slept okay, but our seats were little more than regular plane seats. No comfy bed. But we were able to squeeze six hours of sleep. The meals weren't too bad.

3 March 2017

We made it to the Ron Beach Hotel in Tiberias just in time to dump our bags in the room and go eat. It was really good, with a vast array of salads, meats, and desserts. We're on the Sea of Galilee, and I can't wait to see it in the daylight! Looks very hilly. Early to bed, as we have a 7:00 AM breakfast before hitting the road.
We passed the West Bank on the way to our hotel. Not much to see but a high wall with military vehicles on our side of it.
Our first view of the land. Cloudy right now, and this area is reminiscent of Orlando.
It's pretty hard to pick your drink with a selection like this!
Shuttle at Dulles. I guess this counts as part of the trip! We had a nice lunch with Austin, who dropped us at the airport but forgot to give us the transatlantic cheese-touch!
We met Austin in Herndon for lunch, and he will drop us at the airport.

1 March 2017

Packing took a little longer than it should have, but it was a day of running all over the state. It's all ready now. The wind is ripping outside, so I hope it finishes before we fly! Excited and a little anxious, but we're ready to go to the Promised Land!