Walking Where Jesus Walked and Shooting Uzi's

Trip Start Mar 22, 2008
Trip End Apr 08, 2008

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Internet access has been extremely limited, so I apologize for the delay since our last entry.  Since then, we've joined the other 22 travelers and flew to Tel Aviv.  British Airlines rocks!  You get your own personal touchscreen TV and have about 20 recent movies at your command.

Very little to comment on with the arrival into Tel Aviv except for the fact that we were made to do ridiculous poses for an x-ray machine when going through security.  Richard Simmons type poses.  Enough said.

Upon our arrival in Tel Aviv, we met our tour guide Nir.  We boarded a bus and headed to the seaside city of Joppa.  Not only is this where Jonah fled when avoiding his calling to Nineveh, but it is also the place where Peter spent a bit of time.  We didn't have a chance to do much since we got into town late in the day, so we spent some time walking around and then headed to the hotel.

The next morning, we drove to the Sea of Galilee.  Our hotel for the next three nights is located in Tiberias.  We were fortunate to have a room with a beautiful view of the sea.  Unfortunately, we nearly suffocated from the heavy smoke smell whenever we entered the room.  We were told that they were fully booked when Bill asked to change rooms, but the front desk assured him that they could get rid of the smell.  True to their word, not 10 minutes later, a young Israeli girl knocked on the door with a bottle of cheap Febreeze knock off spray.  She skipped around the room with a trigger happy finger and we were soon coughing from the smokey fake Febreeze smell that now plagued the room.

Sites for today were Caesarea, Mount Carmel, Megiddo, Cana, and Nazareth.  You can google/wikipedia/Bible reference the significance of each place, so we'll stick to our impressions/observations.  This is our second trip to the Holy Lands.  One thing that we loved about Caesarea is the massive amount of archeological work that has transpired since our last visit.  An entire arena was uncovered and we were able to go stand in the exact spot where Paul made his defense before King Agrippa.

Friday's sites include the Mount of Beatitudes, Tabgha, Capernaum, the Primacy of Peter, Gadara, a boat ride across the sea of Galilee, a museum tour with an original fishing boat from the time of Christ, and baptisms in the Jordan River.  About half of the group were baptized in the Jordan and it was an amazing/emotional experience for everyone.

Saturday's sites were a tour of the Golan Heights (including an Israeli bunker 30 miles away from Damascus, Syria) where we discussed the political tensions between Israel and its Arab neighbors, Mount Hermon and Nimrod's Castle, Tel Dan, Caesarea Philippi, Damascus Road, Mount Arbel, and a shooting range.  Yes, a shooting range.  We both had a chance to go through a full clip with an Uzi (illegal in the US).

Tomorrow, we're heading south to the Red Sea and the historical sites near it.

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