A Travellerspoint blog

Israel

It’s over?

All but the plane ride

rain
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So how do I even begin wrapping up this wonderful trip back to Israel? We knew that today’s forecast was mostly rainy, but I have to say that the majority of the day we walked around and saw the different sites with no moisture in the air. We begin our day with a wonderful breakfast spread and then we made our way back through the Damascus gate to the Wailing Wall.

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Then we did a lot of walking around the Jewish quarters and through the tunnels underground to see the different architecture in the different remains that were found even under the city.
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then we took the time to walk the Via Delarosa and visited the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. There were a ton of people in the narrow roadways and so we kind of got sucked along through the streets. I was able to get a few pictures but not many.

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From here we made our way through the crowded streets and all the vendors and little shops along the way. We came to the garden tomb and saw what the protestants believe is the site of Golgotha, the place of the skull. And of course the garden tomb. I was stuck once again with the fact that it is empty. He has risen just as He said! We were able to celebrate the Lord‘s supper in our little area of benches. And as we left, it began to lightly sprinkle. We had made it through with no rain.

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Then we loaded up the bus again and headed off through the countryside to visit a place called Abraham’s tent. On the way there we passed through Bethlehem and saw the city of our Lord’s birth. When we got to Abraham’s tent, here comes Abraham himself to greet us. We had to wear the garments of the day. Some of us were treated to camel rides. We went into Abram’s tent and had a delicious meal. Probably the best meal we had all week and we’ve had some good meals! Some of the younger folk actually sat on the ground and questions while the rest of us had chairs. Abraham said that he would feed us like royalty. And he did. And then the rains came down and the rest of us we’re not allowed to get up on the camels for the ride back to the bus. So the bus came to us and he made a marvelous turn in a very little space to get back down the mountain. Our bus driver, Anon, was the best.
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we got back to the hotel a little early so that we could pack for our final leg of the trip home. We went down and did a little souvenir shopping in the old city and then came home and ate our final buffet dinner. Of course I had to get a picture for my neighbor, Jay of my Hope shirt in honor of those fighting the battle against colon cancer. And I have a final picture of the Grammys and the grandpas with the Wailing Wall behind us as we say goodbye to Israel. I hope you enjoyed coming along with us and I look forward to blogging our next journey together. Our flight leaves at 12:45 AM and we are now sitting in the airport. We got through the gate and the passports and the machines that checked our luggage and now we sit and wait. We will fly through the night and hope to arrive home sometime around 10:00 AM. We stop first in Boston and then hopefully will get through customs and make our connecting flight. I’ll get through the rest of the pictures and put them up on Facebook later this week. And again anyone is welcome to come over and let us share our trip with you.
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Posted by brendagerber07 12:51 Archived in Israel Comments (4)

Learning so much

I think my head is going to explode.

overcast
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We had a good night‘s sleep at the Leonardo Jerusalem Hotel. Our room is very artsy and it had a beautiful lobby as well. We needed to meet in the lobby to leave at 7:30 AM so breakfast was early once again.
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Our first stop today was to the temple mount. Last time when we came to Israel we were not able to come to the site because of the unrest in the area of Hebron. But today we were able to come up onto the steps where the floor level was actually the steps where Jesus would’ve walked. Of course the dome of the rock is in the place of the Temple of Israel. So I will show you a few of the gates and some of the scenery from up on top of the Temple Mount
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We did quite a bit of walking again today down the narrow streets. There were a lot of steps and ups and downs as we wound our way down to the city of David. From there we were able to travel through the ancient Hezekiah‘s tunnel. Some of us wanted to stay more dry so we went to the tunnel that was 1000 years older than the one that Hezekiah built. Our pastor and his wife needed the headlamps and went down into the wet tunnel. These tunnels emptied out and to Salome’s pool. Although Arab owned, we were able to see some Hebrew inscriptions on some of the rocks there.
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There were so many interesting things to see as we walked through the narrow streets. We saw the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and also a Turkish temple. Of course there was the Jewish and Arab cemeteries. Two monuments that stood out in the Jewish cemetery was the one for Absolem, David’s son and the one for Zacharias. They are the two larger stone pictures in the cemetery. We also saw where one of the bridges had collapsed and we saw where the money changers would have been in Jesus‘s time. We watched a short film about what it would be like to be a pilgrim for the first time and have to come to the temple, be ceremonially clean, and purchase a little goat for sacrifice.
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of course there were some random things that stood out to me as well. We walked into the Jewish quarter and had our lunch there. We found a burger joint. Wynn and I ate with Linda and Jackie. We saw a lady playing an accordion. And we had to meet after lunch at the big menorah in the middle of the square. Of course the cool Grammys had to get a thumbs up picture.
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After lunch we did some more walking to see some of the steps that would’ve been there when Jesus walked on this earth. We saw the three gates. I think they were called the Beautiful Gate. Our guide was good about showing us the authentic pieces that were there when Jesus was there and then showed how things were built up when the Crusaders or the Turks took over the area later on in history.
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Our last stop of the day was at a museum called The Friends of Zion. It was a walk-through several different rooms that talked about all of the people that have helped the Jewish nation over the years that were not Jewish. So many familiar names and faces. So many verses of scripture that talk about Israel coming back into the land and becoming a nation. So many things that were horrible in history as we think about the catastrophes that happened to the Jewish people all because of hate. It was quite a moving presentation. He talked about all the little lights shining out in darkness. People willing to put it on the line in order to do what was right and to protect those who were going to be slaughtered. Left us with the question of what would we do if this was a situation where we could be a help. Would we shine in the darkness?
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And now we are once again back at our hotel. We’ve eaten supper and it was delicious. We went to a little olive wood shop to look for souvenirs. Wynn joined a group of people to walk down to the Wailing Wall at night. I thought I better get the blog done and soak my feet and get ready for our final day of touring tomorrow. I wish I could share just a small part of what I have learned over the past week. I do want to leave you with one spiritual insight. I looked up in the cleft of the rock on the temple wall and saw a bird with its wings spread and it reminded me that God has us safely under his wings. His protection is there and I have certainly felt it this week as I have been healthy and able to walk and observe. Once again we are encouraged to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Good night.

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Posted by brendagerber07 09:35 Archived in Israel Comments (2)

Jerusalem ...Jerusalem

Masada then Jerusalem

semi-overcast
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Getting up this morning we saw a beautiful sunrise over the Dead Sea. We scurried down and tried to get a few pictures. Then the hotel had a scrumptious breakfast laid out for us. I doubt I will lose any weight on this trip despite walking 20,000 steps each day. There’s a buffet line everywhere we look.
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We loaded up the bus again at 7:45 and took the highway back up following the road that Mickey refers to as route 66. Our first stop was the ancient sight of Masada. 1/3 of our group hiked up the trail and the other 2/3 took the cable car. When we got to the top Char and I hiked around the one end of the top of Masada. The views were breathtaking and the story sobering. By the time the hikers joined us we went around and actually saw where the Romans built a pathway to break in to the top of Masada. I cannot imagine what it would’ve been like to have been a Jew on the top watching the Romans coming up the side and knowing that there was no escape. I may have been a little excessive on the pictures I took from the top of Masada but feel free to just scroll through.
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From there we took the road into Jerusalem. We learned a little bit about some of the different cities and then saw where our guide, Mickey lived. Our driver dropped us off at the top of the mount of olives and we were able to see an overview of the city from there. We also were able to walk down into the garden of Gethsemane where John gave us a lesson from the Bible. It was quite impressive to see the olive trees and to imagine that night when Jesus went there to pray and was then handed over to the Jewish leaders.
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Mickey then took us to a little shop that sold olive wood from Bethlehem. He knew the owners and the works were quite beautiful, but expensive. Instead of going and fighting the crowd at lunchtime, we had pizza ordered in and ate in this little shop. The workers there were so quick to serve is and kept putting more pizza on our plates and trying to fill up our juice cups.
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We stopped to see the miniature model of the city of David Dash Jerusalem. It was very interesting to trace the steps of Christ in the last few hours of his life.
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From there we drove down into the city and saw where the Kinneset net and then went to see the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Shrine if the Book museum. What must have been like to discover one of the scrolls in a clay pot up in a cave in Qumran? The top of this museum is shaped like the lid of a dead sea scroll container
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We are now settled into our rooms at our hotel, The Leonardo plaza/Jerusalem. We will be staying here for two nights and exploring the city as best we can for the next two days. We will eat a late supper tonight as we are going to a laser show at the Jaffa gate to see a presentation on the history of Jerusalem. Should be interesting and something totally different. So here we are in Jerusalem!
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The last picture is for my brother Bob.

Posted by brendagerber07 09:33 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Heading South- following the Jordan River

I’ve never been so high when I’ve been so low. - Mickey-

sunny
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We said goodbye to the sea of Galilee today and started following the Jordan River south where we will end up at the southern end of the Dead Sea. Of course this is the lowest place on earth. We had a substitute bus driver today because our bus driver spent the day at the hospital with his daughter and a kidney stone issue. It sounds like everything resolved itself but we are not sure if we will get him back the rest of the tour. He was a great driver.

Our first stop on the trip south was at Bet Shean where there is a huge archaeological dig. This was from the time of King Saul and this was the city where he died and had his head raised on to the city gates. Sharon, Linda, Wynn and I sang How Great Thou Art at the bottom of the amphitheater. “Will put it up on video one of these days” We saw the public toilets… Can you guess which picture shows them? And we had quite a time wandering around the dig before the enemy buses came and flooded the place with more visitors. We were the first ones at the tel. Here are a few pictures of the tel
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Then we made a stop at the traditional sight of Jesus‘s baptism in the Jordan River. We actually had to cross over the border into Jordan to get these pics. Guards from both nations were posted. This part of the Jordan River is so dirty and awful because Jordan dumped its garbage into the river. That is why we chose to be baptized farther up the river. Incidentally, we saw a representative Jim Jordan at this location from the state of Ohio. Even even took pictures with some of us. Funny story.
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By now you can see that the terrain is quite different than the green hills of Galilee. We are starting to get into the sand mountains and then eventually down into the rocky craggy mountains. Continuing our journey south we stopped at Qumran, where the dead sea scrolls were found. We had a presentation and then got to walk around the dig of the town there and learned about the finding of the dead sea scrolls. We will actually see them when we get into Jerusalem tomorrow. we also ate our lunch here in a very crowded cafeteria with pretty high prices. Wynn and I decided to split a meal and that way I could get my Nestlé‘s ice cream bar.
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Next stop was En Gedi. This time we did not have much of a history lesson but we did have a beautiful hike -the young and foolish went all the way to the top waterfall and the old and wise hiked to the small waterfall. Wynn and I split guess which way I went? We did see a couple of animals along the way- Wynn captured a bird and I captured a badger. this is the area where David was hiding in the back of the cave and Saul was in the front. David cut off the corner of Saul’s robe but would not lay his hand on the Lord‘s anointed.
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Our last stop for the day was at the south end of the Dead Sea. We quickly got our room assignments, ran up and jumped into our swimsuits and headed to the Dead Sea. It is such a fascinating experience to feel your feet come up and floating with no force or effort needed. We actually even had a conga line in the water. If you went out farther enough you could bob without having your feet touch the bottom. Probably could’ve stayed out there longer but it was a little cool. We opted for rinsing off and coming into the hotel pool which was heated and warm. There were a couple of different pools available including a saltwater pool, freshwater pool, sulfur pool. You could also take a sauna or get a spa massage for a little bit extra. So these pictures got on a little out of order, but I think you can figure out which ones are the Dead Sea and which ones are the pool in the hotel. We have a nice room and one of those pictures shows a view of the Dead Sea from out of our window.
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So now we are back in our room and have showered up and are ready to think about supper. It’s supposed to be a very nice dinner. We are looking forward to the trip to Masada and Jerusalem tomorrow. Still having a good time. The knees and the feet are hanging in there. Keep those prayers coming. I should add that Tim is feeling much better today and was able to participate fully in the trip. I have no doubt it was because so many of you were also praying for him. We are enjoying every minute. Until tomorrow…

Posted by brendagerber07 07:40 Archived in Israel Comments (1)

Day 3 in the books

Last day in Galilee????

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Our third day in the Galilee region found us waking up to a light breakfast, because of it being the Sabbath day and the key puts. As always on a trip of the size, there are times when we have someone get ill. This year we had Tim Cook come down with an inner ear infection and sinus infection. We dropped him off at the local hospital and he was able to be seen and get medicine and spent the day resting. Hopefully he will feel better tomorrow when the meds kick in and we will be traveling on to the Dead Sea area.
after dropping them off we proceeded into Nazareth and we saw he precipice. This would’ve been similar or may have been the actual area where the people of Nazareth May have tried to push Jesus off and stone him when he said that he was the fulfillment of the prophecies in the Old Testament. It was quite windy up there and we had to hold onto our hats. There was a beautiful view of the Jezreel Valley and also of the modern day town of Nazareth.
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Our next stop on today’s journey was to visit the Nazareth Village presentation. It was a reenactment of what it may have been like back in the time of Jesus as a young boy. We were able to see several artists and shops and also visited with Abraham the shepherd and his sheep and donkey. The gospel was clearly presented and we were blown away once again by how God used these volunteers to show truth. There was an area that showed off how to make and spin yarn and then weave a cloth. There was also an olive press. We were able to see how they smashed the grapes. And also saw some of the typical fruits and vegetables that would’ve been grown at that time. We were each given a small oil lamp as we departed to remind us that we are to be lights in this world.
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We finished the presentation there and went on into the little town of Cana for lunch at a local restaurant there. this is the town where Jesus did his first miracle when he turned the water into wine at the wedding. The traffic was crazy but our bus driver is a pro when it comes to getting into tight spots and breaking through the traffic. We were offered a falafel or Shawarma today. I was thankful for the Coke zero as well.
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Then it was time to do a little bit of a hike as we went into the town of Zippori. There was an amphitheater there where we enjoyed the talk from Mickey. And then we went on to tour a crusader building that had been built on top of the remains of a first century building. And then we went into an old city that had been uncovered with beautiful mosaic floors in a governors home. And finished with an ancient synagogue of course Wynn wanted to be a gladiator and get his picture taken in the little chariot.
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We next stopped in a village called Magdala, The city where we read of Mary Magdalene. And there is a relatively new dig uncovered there when a hotel was going up. The excavators found the remains of an old synagogue from the ancient city in the first century when Jesus would have lived. This was something totally new from when we visited here 26 years ago. There’s something always being uncovered that once again proves the Bible was real.
There was also a small part of the city uncovered that housed the ceremonial baths for the city of Magdala.
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From here we continued to the last leg of today’s journey and went down to the Jordan River for those who wished to be baptized. I have a video available for those who would like to see my good friend Linda Varady getting baptized in the Jordan River. She said the water was very cold but she wanted to proclaim to her grandkids that she was a follower of Jesus and this was an experience she didn’t want to miss. I wouldn’t let her back out but I was a chicken and didn’t join her.
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So our last evening at Ma’agan and we had a beautiful sunset from the shore of Galilee. When is practicing for palm Sunday with his palm branch. We will soon be off to dinner and then figuring out how to put everything back in our suitcases for our next leg of the journey. So good night from Galilee.

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Posted by brendagerber07 07:55 Archived in Israel Comments (2)

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