Saturday, February 25, 2017

Friday February 24, 2017 (lunch with Elaine)

Today I finally felt fully recovered from JET LAG and trip related EXHAUSTION.  It was raining, but I thought I might want to get out and do something.

I tried to reach Pam by phone to see if she wanted to go out to lunch, but it turned out she was working all day at the Y.  However, shortly after that, Elaine called me and asked if I wanted to go out for fish.  I said yes and we decided to go to COUSINS CAFE.  She picked me up.
Cousins is a very small diner like place in the Bewley Building.
Our lunch was very good.  I had broiled fish, Elaine said it was cod.  Then we went to TICKLEBRIDGE,   The woman working there was very friendly, and showed us pictures of her new grandson and also told us about BLING, another shop in the Bewley Building.  We stopped at BLING before going home.
It is a very interesting shop and the prices are reasonable.

GOING TO ISRAEL: February 6 and 7, 2017

Our flight was around noon from the Buffalo Airport. Janie generously picked David, Peggy and I up at my house and took us to the Buffalo airport to catch our first flight to NYC (Delta)
I don't remember exactly what Peggy was doing in this picture, but it appears to be just before check-in.

These T-shirts were on display at the check in area. 
  We met up with Pastor Craig and others from Faith Tabernacle and checked our luggage and got to our terminal  The flight was uneventful.

We arrived at JFK and had lunch while we waited for our EL AL Flight to Tel Aviv. I was happy to find out that Peggy, David and I were sitting together.  I got the window seat!   It was a VERY long flight, but it went well.  We were served two meals. There were a lot of Jewish people returning to Israel on this flight.  I think these two men were praying. 

We were expecting a direct flight to Tel Aviv, but found out that the plane would be stopping in Berlin, Germany to refuel.  That added time to our flight.

When we landed in Tel Aviv (Ben Gurion Airport) we met our tour guide Hanna.  The original plans had us going to Independence Hall and Jaffa, but because of the refueling delay, we went directly to our hotel DAN PANORAMA TEL AVIV.  We were given a brief welcome reception
and a drink while our luggage was taken off the bus.  We claimed it and took it to our rooms.  By this time, I had met my roommate, Kathryn.

Hanna suggested we drop our luggage in our rooms and then cross the road to the park and catch the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea.    Peg, David and I decided to try to find a geocache instead (Clore Park Re-visited).  We met up with others from our group in the park.

 We were unable to find the cache, but later on the owner told us to log a find since we were in the right area, and someone keeps stealing the cache.

Supper that evening was PHENOMENAL.  There were several kinds of meat including goose and lamb and veal.  The deserts were AMAZING.  I don't remember much about the room there, but we did have a partial view of the Mediterranean.  The main thing I remember is that a large piece of the ceiling in the hallway outside our room fell down !   
We only stayed one night and headed out the next morning with our luggage.  I don't recall anything about breakfast before leaving.

Day 2 in Israel (Wednesday February 8th, 2017) OUR ADVENTURES BEGIN and A VERY LONG DAY

We put our luggage outside of our rooms before going to breakfast  (by seven a.m.) and it was picked up and taken down to the bus where we identified it and had it loaded and we left the hotel around eight a.m.

Then we were taken to the Port of Jaffa (were Peter saw a vision of a linen cloth with unclean food in it) here are some pictures taken there 

and then to INDEPENDENCE HALL.  The building
originally was Meir Dizengoff's house and this is  where documents were signed in l948 forming the State of Israel.

 Our guide there was very good!
 She said that when WW2 ended in l945, the Jews had nowhere to go.

She told us how the first 66 families and their arrival in Tel Aviv.  The land was mostly sand dunes.  Visionary Thedor Herzl dreamed of a Jewish homeland with a Jewish school.  He referred to their land as "our new land"  (altnewland).  They moved to Kalem Jibab and split the land up into small sections.  MeirDizengoff became the mayor.  On November 29, 1947, they voted to end British control.  War broke out the next day.  On May 14, 1948, Israel was declared a state.  The following day Israel was attacked by five nations.

The original chairs from the famous meeting where statehood was declared have been kept
They played a recording of Ben Gurion declaring Israel a state, followed by a Jewish blessing. 

When we were done at INDEPENDENCE HALL we went back to the bus and headed to CAESEREA'S NATIONAL PARK: the Roman Theatre.  This place is absolutely magnificent!!!

 Yosef Ben Matityahu (Josephus Flavius) describes Caesarea, the magnificent city built by King Herod,!!!  

and here are some pictures I  took 

Herod lived in this palace.  Paul was held for three years and several trials were held.  He was sent to Rome from this port. 

The gladiator games were played here : 
and then we headed to Mt. Carmel, stopping to have lunch at a place that did not seem to have a sign
with a name. 
It was kind of a cafeteria and kind of a buffet, you chose from two sandwiches (falafel and chicken cutlet) and then chose from several salads and toppings. 
My meal looked like this after I went through the lines: 
I did not have time to finish it all, before we got on the bus and headed to the DISCALCED BENEDICTINE ORDER MONASTERY, where there was a viewing platform to see Mt. Carmel.  I took this picture. 
We had a brief service in the chapel there.  I am not sure if the proper name for it is Muhraka chapel or St. Elias Church (maybe both)
On the walkway to and from the courtyard I purchased several necklaces from a Druse fellow who claimed the necklaces were made of Mt. Carmel stones but since they were only a dollar (US) each, I am not sure that is true.  I also purchased two that he said are olive wood. 

And then we went to MEGIDDO, also known as ARMAGEDDON !!!! 

Megiddo was one of the strongest and most important cities of Canaan. The remains of the palaces, temples, gates, and the sophisticated water system of the city are evidence of its great power.

According to Christian tradition, an apocalyptic event will take place at the foot of Megiddo (Armageddon), and only the faithful will survive..  Unfortunately, my camera battery died after I took a picture of this sign: 

and this pic
I found some pictures online to add to my photostream on flickr.

And after that, we went to our lodging at Kibbutz-Ein Gev, situated on the Sea of Galilee.
Once again we were given a welcome reception before getting our room assignments.  These were individual units like this one 
We were supposed to have units with two bedrooms, but there was a mixup or something and the units only had one bedroom.  Kathryn graciously gave me the bedroom and she slept on a pull out bed in the living room area.  We were glad to be able to unpack a bit since we would be here TWO nights. 
I think this pic is of the main building where we had the reception.  Supper was another buffet.  There was an oriental group (larger than our group) and there was a lot of Chinese food on the buffet.  After supper, we shopped a bit in the gift shop (David bought beer) and we had a brief meeting downstairs.  During these evening meetings, we could give testimonies and we were told what time to meet up the following morning and other details.  It was announced that a baptism would be held on the beach, a few yards from our room, early the next morning. 

It had been a VERY long day and Kathryn and I went to bed as soon as we could. 

DAY THREE in Israel: February 9, 2017

It  was nice to get up this morning and NOT have to take our luggage with us.  After breakfast, we headed out in our bus for the TEL DAN NATURE RESERVE.  Dan is where the children of Israel fell to the depths of pagan worship. We walked quite a way on a trail, and it was quite beautiful. 

Jordan River
Part of the trail was a bit treacherous (wet rocks) but we finally came to an open area with ruins.  We stopped while Hanna told us about the site. About 931 BC, Jeroboam deliberately created a counterfeit replica of the religion Moses revealed in the Wilderness. He set up two "Jerusalems": One in Bethel and one in Dan. Here is the worship site he set up in Dan to compete with the real Jerusalem. The basic philosophies of the Samaritans where Mt. Gerizim is the real "holy mountain" not Jerusalem, had their origin in Jeroboam. This is why we call the Samaritans, "Neo-Jeroboamites". Jeroboam's famous quote, "Its too far for you to go to Jerusalem", was the foundation of the Samaritans making Mt. Gerizim as their holy mountain 200 years later. 

After Hannah explained this to us, Pastor Mike Chorey INSISTED on speaking and he took up a bit too much of our time.  Here are pictures of the ruins in this area: 

The Eastern Bronze Age gate is being excavated and reconstructed.

I think we walked out using a different trail or maybe it was a continuation of the same trail we walked to get to this spot.  On the way out we saw

Abrahams Gate (uncovered in 1979) and was  opened to the public in 2009.  (I think this is the gate, but I may be wrong)

The ancient structure from the Canaanite period of the Bronze Age is made of mud and is thought to have been built around 1750 B.C.E. The authority named the archaeological site for Abraham, the first patriarch of the Jewish people, indicating that it dates from the period of Abraham.
read more: Read more about it here   We only had a couple of minutes here, since we were running out of time.

Then we went to Caesarea Philippi, but I do not recall the significance of this site other than that it has access to a path and stairs up the hill to THE GATES OF HELL.  

 Caesarea Philippi - Caesarea Philippi was an ancient Roman city in Israel,

 I don't recall why Hanna asked Craig to pose like this: 
 Some of our group climbed up to THE GATES OF HELL. but I chose not to. 

   We had lunch here:
 I think I had a falafel, which came with several small plates of salads.  I shared with Peggy.
I cannot find any information about LEBANIS RESTAURANT online !!!  I would like to write a review for TripAdvisor

After leaving there, we went to this spot.  I think it is where Jesus taught.  The Beatitudes, Sermon on the Mount and The Lords Prayer.  I would have liked to write a review for TripAdvisor.

 I do not know what this building is.  It was fenced off.  The closest picture I can find online is of a guest house, but I am not sure it is the same picture, if it is, the pic was taken from the other side of the building. 
There is a geocache hidden here, but it was beyond the fence, so we really could not search for it. 

And then we went to this area.  (TABGHA)  We followed Craig right down to the beach.
passing the Church of the Primacy of St. Peter which is a Franciscan church located in Tabgha, Israel, on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. It commemorates, and allegedly marks the spot, of Jesus' reinstatement of Peter as chief among the Apostles.
Craig spoke on the beach
Our group did not go into the church but Peggy and I peeked inside. 
          The church contains a projection of limestone rock in front of the present altar which is venerated as a "Mensa Christi", Latin for table of Christ. According to tradition this is the spot where Jesus is said to have laid out a breakfast of bread and fish for the Apostles, and told Peter to "Feed my sheep" after the miraculous catch, the third time he appeared to them after his resurrection. (John 21:1-24)

You were supposed to pay one shekel to use the ladies room.
but I did not see a place to pay, which was OK, since I did not have a shekel with me.

     Once again, we did not have time to find a geocache.  We risked Hanna's wrath!!!  I wish I had a picture of her "pointing" Peggy and I into the bus. 

And then it was on to CAPERNAUM (The Town of Jesus).  Capernaum was a fishing village established during the time of the Hasmoneans, located on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee. It had a population of about 1,500.  Capernaum was the center of Jesus activities in the Galilee and his town during that time. Jesus taught in the local synagogue. It was also the home town of the apostles Peter, James, Andrew and John, and the tax collector Matthew.

There  are some magnificent ruins here! 

THIS IS  a young man in our group impersonating Zaccheus in the Sycamore tree.  (I think his name is Josh)

And then it was time to head to the spot on the Galilee where we would board a boat for a ride on the Sea of Galilee.  Our particular boat was named FAITH

Sea of Galilee Worship Boats holds the unique distinction of being the only Sea of Galilee sailing company that is owned and operated by a Jewish Israeli believer in Jesus.
 DANIEL CARMEL. He sang and gave his testimony and offered CDs of his music along with some pendants for sale. 
The boat trip was fantastic.  It was dark when we ended the boat ride and headed back to our lodging at the kibbutz.  Supper was better tonight, no Chinese food.