In my wildest dreams, I could not have known how this tour of Israel and Jordan with Insight Vacations would touch my heart so deeply. Experiencing, first hand, the history of the Roman legions, Muslim armies and the Christian Crusaders was life changing for me.
The very moment that we arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel, I could not believe how modern and Westernized the people appeared. Watching from our breathtaking view on the hotel balcony, we sat and watched the young people play volley ball along the sea. The white sand along the blue endless waters were simply mesmerizing.
The city of Tel Aviv was filled with many beautiful winding roads and ancient cities. We walked through the city of Jaffa along the sea shore, while the winds and the oceans danced, creating massive waves.
As we left Tel Aviv I felt a greater understanding of the suffering and triumphs of the Israeli people. I knew that this journey was going to change me in many ways, and it did… I was able to put a face to a people and a country that reflect the past, as well as the present, at the same time. Simply astonishing to behold!
We drove along the gorgeous coast to Caesarea to see the ancient Roman and Crusader ruins. As we entered the Amphitheater, and walked through the lands where others battled over centuries, you could almost hear the whispers of the past in the wind.
Finally, we arrived in Nazareth to see the Church of Annunciation, the place where it is believed that the angel Gabriel is said to have appeared to Mary. Walking through history and being able to take it all in with your very own eyes gives you an unexplainable perspective. What we have seen from afar is nothing in comparison to reality…I cannot stress that enough!
On the fourth day, we set sail on the Sea of Galilee on a wooden ship. As the waves slowly rocked us back and forth, my eyes watched the the sea that Jesus was said to have walked on.
Our exciting tour now led us to a fortress from a cable-car ride to Mount Masada, where Jewish Zealots held out for three years against Herod’s armies. This is also where, instead of surrendering, the mass suicide took place. We walked through the mountain carved rooms, and swimming pools with running water systems built in.
We passed the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were said to have been found on the way to the Judean hills to Jerusalem. This was also the day that we went to visit King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion and the Room of the Last Supper before entering the Old City. We walked with the hundreds of people from around the world, all of us wanting to touch and see all the things that we have been raised on. After this day, I could say that I touched the Tomb of King David and walked the room where the Last Supper was held. I will never be the same. I will never forget what my eyes beheld.
After a relaxing morning in yet another fabulous hotel, we headed out to the West Bank border to the Holy city of Bethlehem. Bright and early, we drove to the oldest, still operating, churches called the The Church of the Nativity. As we walked through the caves, we passed in front of the exact cave that Christ was said to be born. There were absolutely fascinating ancient caves surrounded by paintings and relics. This place is sacred to Islam, as well as the Christian faith. No matter what your faith may be, there is a holy ambiance within the air that can not be denied.
It was time to head out to Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to see the seventh wonder in the world, the city of Petra. On our way to Petra, we visited Jerash, a 2000 year city captured in time . Jerash was a true Roman city still existing in present time… an unbelievable place to visit!
Petra the Lost City
The Siq is the main entrance to the ancient Nabatean city with a red rose colored mountain. The walls are as high as 600 feet and are breath taking. While you walk through this ancient city you can almost feel as if you have somehow traveled through time.
As we approached the Treasury, a building carved out of solid rock, that stands over 4130 feet high, we couldn’t help but wonder how this was ever built back in the ancient times. Seeing the tombs and the Roman theaters leaves you in agreement of why Petra is one of the seven wonders of the word.
Speechless and awe-struck are the only words that describe how I felt about my Israel and Jordan Insight vacation. This, by far, exceeded all of my expectations, and I will defiantly return again as soon as I can.
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