Last week Sam and I took a four day trip to Israel with his parents and it was an amazing experience! The days were packed and we slept very well every night because we were worn out, but it was all wonderful and worth it.
We set our alarms for 3:00 am Monday morning so we could get to the airport for our early flight. Our plan was for Sam to drive our car to pick up his parents at their apartment, then head to the airport together. We flew out of the Craiova airport, which is about 12 minutes away from our apartment and it was such a luxury!
Right from the beginning this trip was an adventure. One of the back tires of the Tico locked up and Sam ended up having to remove the tire and do something to fix it. I know absolutely nothing about cars, so I am very thankful for a car-expert husband! Sam put the tire back on the car and we still made it to the airport in time. We were just in time to learn that our flight had a four hour delay. Thankfully, since we live so close to the airport we were able to go back and get a little more sleep before trying again. The second time we were successful and we landed in Tel Aviv at 12:30 pm.
Mom planned a lot (at least a lot more than Sam and I did) for this trip beforehand and we were so thankful for all her ideas and insight! She signed us up for a fascinating tour of the Western Wall for our first night. We got to see layers of history walking under the wall, including a massive stone from Herod’s Temple! Our tour guide was exceptional and I think we all learned a lot and really enjoyed this tour.
We went to the Temple Mount first thing Tuesday morning so we could walk around before it closed. When we first walked in a man gave me and Mom skirts and shirts to put over our clothes so our arms, ankles, and heads would be completely covered and we would not offend the Muslims on their site. The men were okay, but we did see a few men around us wearing skirts because they were wearing shorts.
That afternoon we went to the Israel Museum where we did an audio tour. We got to see various interesting artifacts and learn fascinating facts about different subjects, from the Qumran community to the Dead Sea Scrolls to the Isaiah A scroll, and much more.
We were also able to explore the 1/50 model of first-century Jerusalem, which was also a neat learning experience.
Thanks to having a rental car, we were able to spend our third day in Galilee. When we arrived in the morning we visited the Church of the Annunciation, which is where it is believed that Gabriel came to Mary, telling her of the birth of Jesus. Whether or not that is true, it was a neat experience to visit the church and see the historical site.
This is another historical site we were able to visit in Capernaum. The church behind us is built over a first-century house that is thought to have belonged to Peter the apostle. Surrounding the church were the ruins of a village that we got to walk around and explore.
We also got to see the Sea of Galilee! It was beautiful.
We had to try some authentic Israeli falafel one day and it was amazing.
Behind us is an olive press that we saw on a tour of a Nazareth village. We did not really plan on seeing the village or taking the tour, but it just all worked out and we were so thankful. We loved learning about first century life and seeing so many relics and replicas that help make Bible stories come more to life.
On our way back we stopped at the Jordan River. This was an especially wide and clear spot, and we just parked the car nearby and walked down.
On the drive back we saw people giving camel rides in a parking lot. I don’t remember why, but recently I was telling Sam the things that are on my bucket list and one of them was to ride a camel! When we saw them he asked me if I wanted a ride. I did if he would with me! The camel was named Pistachio and she was so huge and gentle! It was a lot of fun.
When we got back to Jerusalem we went up to the Mount of Olives to try to get some pictures and see the view before the sun set.
On our last day we drove south to Masada. Somehow I don’t have any pictures, but we hiked all the way up to the top and walked around all the ruins. I did not know much about Masada at all before this trip, so I enjoyed learning as we went through, and as Dad explained a lot of it.
We also got to float in the Dead Sea! I had no idea what it would be like, and it was the strangest sensation. After we dried off we were all crusted with salt. After hiking up the dusty mountain and being covered in salt it felt so good to get a shower that night!
It was a short trip, but it was packed to the brim and I know I learned a lot. We are so thankful for all the experiences and memories we have from this trip!