Israel Pilgrimage –TU- 23 November 2010
We packed and loaded the bus and bid adios to Maagan. We had enjoyed our excellent rooms, great food and our time on the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee. I love the Galilee. It is a shame we couldn’t spend more time. In our four days in the Galilee we were only able to hit the highlights but we did cover all of the high points but there are more wonderful things to discover there. A friend of mine in Israel has just purchased a home in Karmiel. They live and work in Jerusalem. I’ve noticed that they seem to have lots of reasons to go there as much as possible. They too love the Galilee! Before we left the sea shore we visit Yardenit a traditional baptismal site on the Jordan River. Jim Parker did our morning devotional on the Jordan River.
We climbed up from 600 plus feet below sea level to a 100 or so feet above sea level and drove to Zippori (Sepphoris) which was a Rome Administrative town about 4 miles outside of Nazareth. It was built in the time of Jesus and in fact Joseph may have worked there. This is a splendid site. Its claim to fame is the its beautiful mosaics. The Mona Lisa of the Galilee is in the Governor’s House. In an administrative building are several superb mosaics including the Nile o meter and Greek and Roman mythological characters. We visited the site comprehensively and then departed for Caesarea by the Sea.
Avner, our bus driver does above and beyond the call of duty. He does an excellent job of driving and maneuvering the bus. In addition he knows times form place to place, where to find anything you need including batteries, phone cards, a good place to eat, all of the Aroma Coffee Bars, and does a really good job of getting our stuff on and off the bus, coordinating getting our stuff into and out of the hotel, making sure everyone is taken care of and helping when anything goes awry. A great bus driver is a necessity on a cross country march like we do. Avner works very well with our great guide Gilla. The two of them are an excellent team.
Caesarea is a spectacular archaeological site. It is Crusader, Byzantine, Herodian period and is arranged over several 100’s of feet along the seashore. Herod had a wonderful palace that extended into the Mediterranean. Roascoe led our devotional and sang at the end of the devotional. He has a professional voice and has done a lot of singing with Gospel Quartets. For the few moments of our devotional we were the only group in the Caesarea Theater.
Our weather has been superb. It is another picture perfect day. One of the great joys of our trip now is that coffee has found Israel. There are Aroma (wonderful) Coffee bars everywhere and we visit more of them than we miss. It is as good as home and we have great coffee at Café New Orleans at home.
We sprinted from Caesarea and Akiva Or Aroma Coffee Bar where we had lunch to Bethlehem. It took us 2 hours and we got there a few mintues after 4pm. The Church of the Nativity closes at 5pm so we had no time to waste. Avner has his permit to go into the West Bank so we crossed the border and stopped for Gabriella our guide. I must say that Bethlehem is as noted in the Bible a place that is a bit forbidding. You never know quite what to expect. The visit to the Church of the Nativity is tense and walking from the bus to Manger Square is a bit anxious. We had a good time in the church. Gabriella does a good job of guiding us. We shopped at BSC, Edward Tabash’s Souvenir Store and departed Bethlehem about 6:30pm arriving at Jaffa Gate where we left our bus and walked into the old city of Jerusalem to the Lutheran Guest House on St. Mark Street. Dinner, devotional and a trip up to the Jaffa Gate Aroma Coffee Bar and our day is done. I’m tired and going to bed. Blessings to all.