Thursday, February 24, 2011

February 21st 2011--Day One

By Belinda
Friends, a very busy schedule, slow internet and exhaustion! These are my excuses for not posting yesterday. :) Thanks Susan, for posting the itinerary!
We are leaving Tiberias today for Jerusalem, but I am going back to day 1 and will try to not leave a day out as I record this journey. Wow, it is wonderful to be here.
The silver winged cylinder sliced through silent sky. It encapsulates life; a baby’s cry carries across the three parallel rows of seats on and I hear scraps of sentences as people share details of grandchildren.
“She’s five going on 10.”
“Yeah, mine too.”
And other details of family compared; strangers learning the landscape of one another’s lives.
Finally, lights are turned down, window shades lowered and all falls silent. We sleep; or try to.
Eleven hours into the flight a new day is starting in the Middle East, and we descend through layer upon layer of cloud, into Tel Aviv.
The airport is modern and beautiful. “Welcome to Israel,” a big sign proclaims. We are here, don’t quite believe it. After so much anticipation, can we really be here?
Our guide, Danny Apelbaum, is waiting for us at the doors to the airport. Our cases are loaded onto the comfortable air-conditioned bus that will be our home away from home for the next eight days and we run through chilly rain to climb on board. It is something like 8 a.m. and our first day of relentless touring is beginning.
That day passes in a blur.  From Tel Aviv we go to nearby old Joppa, where Peter was at the house of Simon the Tanner, who lived by the Mediterranean sea when he had the vision that broke the boundary of ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 9:43, 10:9-23.) We walk around the old town and the waves crash against the shore and it doesn’t seem real that Peter was here so close to the tall buildings of Tel Aviv.
Back on the bus we head to Caesarea Maritima, where Peter walked to in order to meet with Cornelius, a Roman centurion who had sent servants to fetch Peter. For Peter it was a day’s journey. As we drive I am amazed at the distance Peter had to walk.
We are saturated in ancient history in Caesarea—so much to absorb and learn. Pontius Pilate was stationed there and Herod the Great built a breakwater in the harbour. A Roman Theatre—the Hippodrome and then we are whisked off on the bus under now cloudy and rainy skies to Mount Carmel, where Elijah challenged the 400 false prophets of Baal. Through the rain and mist we see dimly the plain of Megiddo, where the final Battle of Armegeddon is prophesied.  But by then we are all so tired, cold and wet that the hotel is the most longed for sight.
At Joppa
The Sea of Galilee
It feels a little like a movie in fast forward this day. But we are here, and excited to be soaking in the sights, sounds, scents and flavours of a Middle Eastern culture. A soft bed awaits in the Leonardo Club Hotel. We are here..


Dave Hingsburger said...

So glad to see this post, so glad to know you are there and well. I somehow think this story is going to take a pot of tea in a long afternoon. I wait in expectation.

Marilyn said...

Wonderful photos! I can hear the water lapping up against the rocks.

Lizzie said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely. I hope you can rest occasionally on this whirlwind trip. Safe Travels.

Anonymous said...

Belinda I am so happy that you are experiencing Israel!
Our guide in 1999 (Solid Ground Ministries) was Danny?? Maybe you got the same one. If so you are most blessed!
Steep in every a tea bag.
You will not be the same person after Israel!!
Brenda J Wood