North America, Asia, Africa · 13 Days · 16 Moments · March 2017

Tessa & Karen's journi to Israel

15 March 2017

Last but not least, mom and I spent nearly 24 hrs in the traveling process to get home. We close from Cairo to Istanbul, and then onto Dulles. By the time we got back, it was about 9 pm, but mentally for us it was 2 in the morning. Needless to say, by the time I hit my pillow I was out cold. It is sad to see this journey come to an end, but we both had an absolutely amazing time. I may be posting more pictures on here so I have them all in one place, so stay tuned if you wish to see even more photos from our trip. Thanks to everyone who kept us in your prayers! God kept us safe the entire trip in everything we did to which we are very grateful. Can't wait until whatever our next adventure will be!

14 March 2017

Sorry for the delay in posts- these past few days have been a whirlwind. On Tuesday, Mom and I started the day off by going to the Pyramids via horse carriage, and eventually found ourselves riding camelback around some of the sites- that was so cool! While I've ridden horses for years, this was a really different and neat opportunity and we both loved it. We went into the biggest pyramid and up close to the top, where we got to see where a pharaoh's tomb was. By the afternoon, we had finished at the pyramids and headed over to the Egyptian Museum where we spent a couple hours- that place is huge!! We saw a lot of really cool and old pieces from ancient Egyptian time. We got to see the royal mummies room, where they had about 10 preserved mummies on display, as well as a room dedicated to items found buried with King Tut. We ended the evening with a dinner cruise on the Nile which was a lot of fun. The food was delicious and they had some good entertainment. Fun night!

13 March 2017

This morning (after getting ~2 hrs of sleep) Mom and I hopped in the car & headed to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv to board a plane. It was definitely a sad moment for us having to leave Israel, but it made it better that we were on our way to Egypt :) At or layover in Istanbul, Mom and I used the short time we had to hop in a taxi and see as much as we could (which wasn't a whole lot but hey- another country we can say we've seen). When we finally arrived in Cairo (our first time in Africa!!!), it was beautiful outside. Both Tel Aviv and Istanbul had been cold and rainy, so this was definitely a picker upper for us. We again hopped in a taxi and headed for our hotel. It was about an hour away, but it was cool seeing the country along the way. Our view at the hotel is GORGEOUS. We have a perfect view of the Sphinx and the three pyramids. It was sunset as we were settling down which gave way to a breathtaking sight, and then watched a light show after dark. Can't wait til tomorrow!

12 March 2017

Today, Mom and I crossed the border to Jordan and headed off to Petra to see one of the 7 wonders of the world. I don't have a ton to report, other than the fact that Petra was beautiful and left us in awe. We weren't there for that long actually- only about an hour. "How does one see Petra in an hour" you may ask? One word: Run. While our time was cut short because we had to make it back to the border before it closed, it really was an hour well spent getting to explore and see what really is so wonderful about this neat place. P.S. Today was our last day in Israel, so tomorrow we are Cairo bound ;-)

11 March 2017

Mom and I woke up this morning at 4:15 to go on a sunrise hike to Masada. It was breathtakingly beautiful to take in everything that was around us- we even made a mountain goat friend :). We spent a few hours walking around and exploring the ruins; the site was huge, and honestly much bigger than I thought it would be. We were surrounded by beautiful mountain and desert scenery, and it was a lovely morning. Towards the afternoon, we headed to the Dead Sea but took a quick pit stop to see some "unusual cacti". There were actually some pretty cool ones, but the Botanical Gardens itself was closed, so I'm only wondering what else they could have had. We spent the last half of our day at the Dead Sea, floating in the water and then covering ourselves with mud (our skin is now super soft). It's crazy to how easy it is to float there- once my body got semi-used to the water, laying back and floating became a breeze. We spend the night in Eilat tonight! Looking forward to the AM! :)

10 March 2017

Today was our last day in Jerusalem. These past few days in Jerusalem have definitely been some of the best on the trip so far. We started off our morning by sitting down to breakfast at a cute outdoor cafe, and then headed back to a few places to finish some shopping. We went to the Mt. of Olives where we saw the Church of Gethsemane/All Nations and the Tombs of the Prophets (we accidentally joined a tour group for that part, but it was pretty cool). While we were there, I made a cat friend who melted my heart. He was pretty mangy looking and beaten up and I just wanted to take him home and nurse him to health. He was pretty tiny but let me carry him around for a while and love on him before he was ready to go on his way. Mom said a little blessing over him and then we said our goodbyes (I was pretty attached by then). We are now en route to Ein Gedi, where we will spend half our day at the Dead Sea tomorrow :-)

9 March 2017

Mom and I had a blast today. We started at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the believed sites of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. (Honestly, while it was sobering to thinking about what may have taken place there, I wasn't a fan of how commercialized it had become). We then headed to the Wailing Wall where we each spent some time in prayer, and then headed on to the City of David. We explored Hezekiah's Tunnels which were SO neat- easily a highlight of the trip. I'm still happy just thinking about it. We headed up to Mt. Zion after, where we saw King David's tomb and the room of the Last Supper. After that, we headed to the Garden Tomb, another believed place of the crucifixion and resurrection; I was much more impressed with this site. The maintained it beautifully and I could really picture things happening there. We spent the rest of the evening shopping and eating and enjoying the evening; like I said earlier, today was a great day. Off to the Dead Sea tomorrow!

8 March 2017

Today Mom and I took a tour of Bethlehem and Jericho. We saw the spot where Jesus was supposedly born, and also went to Shepherd's Fields, which is where the shepherds supposedly has their angel encounter. In Jericho, we ate lunch on the top of the Mountain of Temptations, where Jesus was tempted by the devil 3 times, and fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. We also saw ancient Jericho, where the wall was destroyed after Joshua's marching and blowing of the horns. Jericho also has the Sycamore Tree that Zacchaeus climbed in order to see Jesus better, and eventually met him in that way. That was pretty neat :). Also, there were camels which was SO cool to see just chilling on the side of the road. When Mom and I got back we decided to do some exploring so we went to Old Town Jerusalem and looked around some of the shops. We also walked around the entirety of it (and yes- I do mean we walked around the entire wall of Old Town) which took about 3 hrs. Looking forward to sleep tonight!

7 March 2017

After baptizing each other in the Jordan River, mom and I took a quick trip over to Capernaum. As we were walking through, it was so cool and easy to imagine Jesus by the rocks on the Sea of Galilee just talking to people. We took an early afternoon boat ride with JesusBoats; what an incredible experience. We went out on the sea and just worshipped together, both in English and Hebrew. Mom and I didn't know the other people on the boat, but it was such a good reminder that no matter who or where we are, we are all connected to our Father God. Our next stop for the day was Mt. Hermon, one of the believed spots of the Transfiguration (though we can both argue that the scholars are wrong). We went to the top, the highest point in Israel, and though it was cold and snowy, it was breathtakingly beautiful. Afterwards, we headed on down to Jerusalem where we will be spending the next 3 nights. Adventure awaits ~
Momma and I just baptized each other in the Jordan River :) |mark 1:9-11|

6 March 2017

Today we saw the Basilica of the Annunciation as well as St. Joseph's, and spent some time walking throughout the Israeli version of a flea market. Afterwards, we headed onto Nazareth Village where we received a guided tour throughout a recreation of what Nazareth would've looked like during Jesus' time; that entire experience was really neat. The guide and volunteers did a great job bringing Scripture to life. My mom and I both really learned a lot and it really expanded our knowledge of life in the 1st century CE. We then hiked Tel Megiddo, where the final battle of Armageddon will take place, and also got a wonderful view of the surrounding area from up high. Certainly a surreal feeling to think about what had happened and what was going to happen there. We ended our night in Tiberias, and had a fish dinner on the Sea of Galilee (delicious). We made some kitty friends and shared our meal with them. One of them reminded me of Peetie- I'm missing him. More fun tomorrow though!

5 March 2017

Today we headed to Mt. Carmel where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal, and God showed Himself by striking down fire on a soaking wet altar, while the false prophets had nothing to show for their day of prayers and shouts. We saw Elijah's cave, where he lived and meditated before meeting with the prophets of Baal, and hiked up the mountain as well, where we were met with a breathtaking view. After hiking down, we took a cable car back up to the top to get a different viewpoint and enjoy something else. We enjoyed lunch up there and had delicious coffees with a scoop of vanilla ice cream๐Ÿ˜. We walked on the beach some more and found a ton more sea glass (score) before moving one. We drove through Jezreel Valley which was definitely an adventure. More to come on that later. Overall, it was a fun but exhausting day and we are definitely ready for a good nights sleep :)

4 March 2017

Day 2 is done! We started the morning in Jaffa (previously Joppa for all the Bible nerds) and it was beautiful outside. The weather was 65 and sunny, and we were content just about the whole time. We stopped to get almond croissants for breakfast, and they were probably the best croissants I've ever had. We then moved on to the beach, which is the port in which Jonah departed (and is also 5000 years old- the oldest port in the world). While we walked the beach we hit a sea glass jackpot; mom and I gathered as much as we could hold and it made me a very happy camper. After getting gelato, we then headed back to the car and drove to Caesarea. We explored ruins from the Crusaders Citadel as well as Herod's palace. Both were really cool, and also had a beautiful view of the sea. Lastly, we headed to Nazareth, where we are settling in tonight. We enjoyed a super yummy dinner and walked around the town a bit, where we saw Mary's Well. More fun to come tomorrow, so now time for bed!

3 March 2017

Day 1 of our trip is officially at an end. After arriving in Tel-Aviv, we hopped in our rental car and drove to Jaffa where our hotel is. It wasn't even 10 o'clock yet, so we dropped our bags off and headed out to do some exploring (we were antsy). We stopped in a couple of markets to get a stronger feel of where we were. We then headed to see the beach (only a 5/10 minute walk away-score!). Along the way, we saw the Clock Tower, the Wishing Bridge and the Statue of Faith; everything has been beautiful. There are lots of stray cats here, so naturally I made a lot of friends. After sitting down to pet a couple, one of the cats came and made himself comfy but cuddling in my lap. Of course I wanted to take him home, but Mom said no. Maybe next time ;-) We finished our evening by getting some dinner, which was basically a pita lamb sandwich with lots of yumminess inside- they were excellent. We walked home with happy tummies and are now ready to turn in for the night! Stay tuned!!
WE ARE HERE! safely arrived :)
We're off! Officially Israel bound- it's about to be a looooong flight, so time to catch some z's ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ˜ด