The next two posts are little off topic, but it’s related since I made a visit to the Holy Land and I want to share. Yea! This definitely was a dream trip and I hope to go again one day. I’m thankful to God for allowing me to go (especially after a few health challenges) and protected our group even when 2 rockets were dropped near Tel Aviv.
Days 1 & 2
After a 10 hour flight, we hit the ground running and went on our first tour. I thought we were stopping by the hotel first, but I guess I didn’t hear the part that we weren’t. One of the first places we visited was Cesarea, one of King Herod’s palaces (basilea), which later became the seat of a Roman Ruler. The back drop of the palace was the Mediterranean Sea, absolutely breathtaking. At the end of the tour we stopped at an ice cream shop. I got Berrie something, and it tasted wonderful. Not like ice cream, I don’t know if any cream was in it at all; more like juiced berries, without a lot of ice, but whatever the ingredients, it was good!
Then it was time for lunch and we had our choice of Falafel or Schnitzel. I chose the Falafel (fried Chickpeas with herbs and spices), it came in a Pita and there was a Salad and Fixins’ bar of items you could either eat alone or put in the Pita with the Falafel. Later I learned that Falafel is the ultimate street food in Israel. The Schnitzel was flattened & breaded chicken (I always thought it was a traditional German dish).
Next, we visited one of Solomon’s palaces in Meggedo (Armageddon). Asked about the battle of Armageddon, which the guide, who was Jewish, referred to as the “Apocalypso”. She said since that’s not in the Jewish Talmud, she wasn’t too knowledgeable about it.
On our walk up to the palace, we saw a few lizards; some very large and one person said it looked like a baby dinosaur in Jurassic Park. Lol…moving right along. The palace was huge and we even saw where the horses were kept; all I can say is the horses were living pretty darn well.
We also went down in the cistern at the palace and each time I thought we were getting to the bottom, another flight of steps appeared. When I say it was waaay down, I mean it was waaay down. The last set of steps had slates you could see through, not my favorite. When I saw those steps I had to concentrate to continue (still have a little fear when it comes to these types of steps). Turning back was not an option, as the only way to return to the bus was to backtrack the way we came (like I remembered), so downward and onward, fears and all.
By the end of the day I was thoroughly confused…we left N.J. on Monday afternoon, arrived in Israel Tuesday morning (they are seven hours ahead), then toured all day. By evening, I wasn’t sure what day it was, all I knew is I was tired!
Short ride on a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee to Ginnosar; the same sea that Jesus walked on (Mark 6:47-51). Our Pastor, Victor O. Kirk, gave a sermonette and afterwards I felt led to give my testimony of all God had brought me through (diagnosed with cancer twice and all the things that came along with it, including heart issues and more).
We were taught a traditional Jewish Celebration Dance, danced to the song, Hava Nigila. The fisherman showed us how to cast a net for the fish…cast net in for a few seconds, then pull it up. Also, learned that Talapia is a native fish of Israel; what we get in the U.S. is it’s 5th cousin removed, the farm raised version.
In Ginnosar, we saw an actual fishing boat, found and preserved , from Jesus’ time. We also did a little shopping at the Jesus Boat Store. They actually take U.S. dollars and the dollar equals 3.64 of the Israeli Shekel.
Also, For lunch we had fresh Talapia, the whole fish (head and all). It was delicious! I’m quickly learning that Pita Bread is served with almost every meal.
Visited the Mount of Beatitude, site of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-11). Also, visited Mount Carmel where Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a contest, but alas Baal didn’t show, but my God did by raining down fire from heaven which burned the sacrifice and dried up the water surrounding the alter (Kings 18:24-40).
We ate dinner, then a vendor who sold necklaces, bracelets and charms came to the hotel and my name was in the brochure. I was confused at first and thought maybe they had personalized it to lure me in, but the guide showed me it was in all the brochures. I NEVER see my name. I see Carol, Carolyn, Carla but never “Carlyn”.
Wow! I had to come all the way to Israel to see my name in a brochure. This must be a sign, so of course I got a bracelet with my name written in English and Hebrew. I asked if my name had a Hebrew meaning, the guide told me No. Oh well!
I’ll continue sharing my sojourn in the next blog. Until then, Shalom!