Friday, March 11, 2016

Israel, Part 1

I originally thought I would just post pictures of my trip to Israel on Facebook, but after I realized how much I was going to see, and the amount of pictures I had, I realized how incredibly obnoxious it would be for me to blow up Facebook with all of that. SO I'm actually posting on the blog! First time in 3 years friends!

 I got this fortune about two weeks before my trip.:) 

I sent this to my niece when I boarded my flight to Tel Aviv. 

I arrived in Israel on February 5th and started my trip by hugging Angela's neck, which was a pretty awesome start to my trip! We went straight to Jaffa for dinner, which is right on the coast. We walked around and saw lots of old buildings! Since I arrived Friday evening it was the beginning of Shabbat, so I heard the Shabbat horn blowing as we walked as well as the Muslim call to prayer. My niece pointed out that at times you can hear church bells ringing as well, all at the same time.

We weren't positive, but we thought this was the entrance to a Mosque.
Looking at Tel Aviv

Old stone steps

Love that door
Angela and Jason

The next morning we headed North to Akko. Akko has so much history, but we saw all the Crusader ruins. Not so much ruins because it was all in great condition. We walked through the Templar tunnels and ate lunch at a restaurant that overlooked the Crusader Harbor. We toured the Citadel and the Sea wall. It was a really amazing day! So beautiful to stand in those ruins right on the Mediterranean.

 Crusader Port
 Lunch and trying to message my husband.

 Love this guy! He's a sweet one!

Marketplace in Akko. The merchants would set out their goods in the bottom arches and sleep on the second level above.
Courtyard of the Citadel

Yummy sweets 

So pretty!

Another courtyard

The food  was so yummy!

 On the sea wall

The Next day was Sunday and we headed to the Mount of Olives. We went to The Garden of Gethsemane first and it was incredible. Contrary to what I thought, I did not walk around in tears the entire trip. I thought I would be very emotional, and there were definitely times when I was overwhelmed by where I was, but there was so much to absorb and take in that my mind was pretty occupied. But Gethsemane was one of those places that felt very special to me.
Damascus Gate leading in to the old city

 Me sitting in the Church of all Nations

Very old olive tree. Here is some really interesting information about the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Imagining the anguish of Jesus that night in that garden I stood in was overwhelming. Next to the garden is the Church of all Nations, which is said to be built over the rock that Jesus prayed on. Gethsemane was very very special. I wanted to go back before I left and didn't get a chance, but I absolutely loved it!

From there we went to the tomb of Mary, where they say Mary was buried. And then we started a long and very steep climb up to the Tomb of the Prophets.

Looking down into the church where Mary's tomb is.

Mary's Tomb. People leave notes and prayers.
Praying and writing a note


The Tomb of the Prophets 

There was a sweet old man that does the tours there and he led us down into a very dark cave with little candles lighting our way to the tombs of Zachariah, Haggai and Malachi. It was too dark to take pictures, but there were large holes in the walls of the cave where the tombs were. It was pretty cool.

From there we went to a sort of overlook that looks toward the Old City of Jerusalem.
 Walk back down.
 Kidron Valley
The largest Jewish cemetery in the world. According to Jewish tradition, it is here that the Resurrection of the dead would begin once The Messiah appears on the Mount of Olives and head toward the Temple Mount.

The Mount of Olives was amazing! My only regret is that I didn't get a chance to go back. It was so moving to stand in a place where there is such rich Christian history. Christ wept for Jerusalem there. He ascended to heaven there. Oh my word! It was the perfect way to start things because it only got better from there.

This was the first two days, I'll do the next two days in my next post since they were extremely full!