Dear Friends,

Greetings from Jerusalem!  We arrived in the city from Tiberias (on the shore of the Sea of Galilee) this afternoon.  I have been meaning to get this blog off the ground long before now…but it has taken me a while to get into a rhythm of writing. My apologies for the delay!

I am now committed to this daily task…so I intend to post daily from here on…probably this time of day.

So, let me begin with a summary of our first days.  The map. comments, and pictures below will give you a sense for the ground we have covered so far:  

  • We landed in Tel Aviv on Friday afternoon and drove to Netanya (about 45 minutes north) to our hotel for the first night.  Early the next morning we headed up the coast to Caesarea to visit an incredible site where Herod the Great (d. 4 BCE) built his seaport and palace on the Mediterranean Sea—equipped with a hippodrome for horse and chariot races. 
  • From there we made our way to Nazareth (with a brief stop in the ancient city of Sepphoris).  In Nazareth, we visited the Church of the Annunciation (the site that remembers the Angel Gabriel’s visit to Mary).
  • We then drove on to Tiberias, situated on the Sea of Galilee, and checked into our hotel for the next two nights. 
  • Over the course of the next two days (Sunday and Monday), we visited the principal sites of the life and ministry of Jesus around the Sea of Galilee:  Mt. of the Beatitudes (where the Jesus’ Sermon the Mount is remembered) Chorazim, Capernaum, a place on the shoreline where the Jesus’ visit with his Disciples after the Resurrection is commemorated, and Magdala (the home town of Mary Magdalene).
  • First thing this morning (Monday), we took a ride on a boat on the Sea of Galilee before boarding our bus to make the 2 hour journey to Jerusalem.  Upon our arrival into Jerusalem, we visited the Temple Mount (where the Dome of the Rock is located) and then took an orienting walk through the Old City of Jerusalem before heading to our hotel which will be our base of operation for the remainder of our trip.

Below I have posted pictures from several of the sites and activities mentioned above.  I will write more of my impressions in the coming days…for now, I just wanted to orient you to our activities so far.  The trip is going wonderfully...the group has gelled nicely and our guide, Steve Notley, is doing a phenomenal job!  

Everyone is thoroughly enjoying the trip.

More tomorrow!  Peace, David