- First Class Hotels
- Breakfast and Dinner Daily
- Deluxe A/C Motor Coaches
- Fuel Surcharges and Gov't Taxes
- Entrance and Program Fees
- Guided Tours
- Hotel Gratuities
Day 1 Monday, December 30: Depart the USA
We are on our way to the Holy Land!
Day 2 Tuesday, December 31: Arrive in Israel and Ceasarea Maratima
We land and are met at Ben Gurion airport by our guide. Our first visit is right by the sea, walking the ancient ruins of Caesarea Maritima, built by Herod the Great. We see its harbor, aqueduct, and theater, as well as Herod’s Palace, where St. Paul would be kept under house arrest for two years (Acts 23-26). Next, we check into our northern hotel, where we will stay for two nights. We will enjoy dinner at the hotel in the Galilee area this evening.
Day 3 Wednesday, January 1: Nazareth
We spend our first morning in Nazareth. We visit Mary’s Well, the site of the town fountain, where Mary would often go to draw water. Nearby is the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Gabriel with its many icons. From there, we walk to the Latin Church of the Annunciation, the traditional site of Mary’s childhood home and of the Angel Gabriel’s appearance to her. After lunch, we visit the rounded hilltop of Mount Tabor, the traditional site of the transfiguration. Dinner is at our hotel in the Galilee area.
Day 4 Thursday, January 2: From Galilee to Jerusalem
This morning, we will enjoy being around the Sea of Galilee. First, we stop by the Jordan River to renew our baptism vows. Then, we will take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee, before continuing to Capernaum to see the ancient synagogue and St. Peter’s house. We will continue to the Mount of Beatitudes and visit the lakeside sites in Tabgha-The Church of the Loaves and Fish and the Chapel of St. Peter’s Primacy. Afterward, we will travel south to Jerusalem and visit the Israel Museum before checking into our Jerusalem accommodations.
Day 5 Friday, January 3: Bethlehem & Yad Vashem
Today, we are going to Bethlehem. As we go in, we cannot but notice the large wall, especially near Rachel’s tomb, that now separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem. Down below the town is an area known as Beit Sahour (Shepherds’ Field), where we have an opportunity to see many of the caves in which the shepherds might have stayed when they were “out in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night” (Luke 2). We then go to Manger Square, From here we go into the Church of the Nativity and down the steps into the Grotto of the Nativity, the traditional site of Jesus’ birthplace. We will explore the poignant exhibits of Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial before returning to our accommodations in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 Saturday, January 4: The Judean Desert, Jericho, and The Dead Sea
Today, we will have a different feel as we escape into the wilderness of Judea, stopping in the Wadi Qelt to experience the desert’s early morning silence and then going down to the Jordan Valley to hike up the Mount of Temptation from where we will enjoy panoramic views over Jericho. In the afternoon, we visit Qumran, famous for the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and close our day by swimming in, or really floating in the Dead Sea! Then, we will return to our accommodations in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
Day 7 Sunday, January 5: Jerusalem
We depart for the Western Wall, a central site within Judaism, located just below the Haram al-Sharif (the Muslim sanctuary of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Asqa Mosque). We walk through the Old City streets to St. Anne’s Church by the Pool of Bethesda. After lunch, we walk down the Mount of Olives, following the traditional route of the Palm Sunday Procession. We will stop at Churches of the Pater Noster and Dominus Flevit, where the Lord wept over the city (Luke 19). Then, we will walk in the Garden of Gethsemane and visit the Church of All Nations. We will then visit the Church at the center of Christendom, the Church of the Holy Sepluchre, also known as the Church of the Resurrection which marks the traditional site for Golgotha and the empty tomb of Jesus. We will visit the Princess Basma Center for a short presentation on their charity work, before returning to our accommodations in Jerusalem for dinner and overnight.
Day 8 Monday, January 6: The Way of the Cross, Emmaus, Masada & Joffa
Early this morning, we will walk along the Via Dolorosa (the Way of the Cross) and pray together. We will return to our accommodations for breakfast before we travel to Herod’s legendary mountaintop fortress known as Masada, which became the last desperate stronghold of the Jewish Zealots against the Romans. We then will drive westwards past some of the sites associated with the story of Emmaus (Luke 24). Finally, we drive to the beautiful town of Jaffa (ancient Joppa) before heading to Tel Aviv airport for our journey home.
Day 9 Tuesday, January 7: Return Home
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Thursday, December 26: Depart the USA
Friday, December 27: Arrive Amman
After landing in Amman, we will be met by our local guide and transferred
to our hotel in Amman for dinner and overnight.
Saturday, December 28: Amman & Bethany Beyond the Jordan
On our first day, we tour the city of Amman, seeing the archaeological
museum and the Roman theatre. Drive down into the Jordan Rift Valley
and visit the recently discovered site of Bethany Beyond the Jordan
(John 1:28, where John may have baptized Jesus. In the mid-afternoon,
we drive southward to Wadi Rum and settle into our Bedouin camp for a
BBQ dinner and overnight in a Bedouin tent.
Sunday, December 29: Wadi Rum & Little Petra
The landscape of Wadi Rum (the Valley of the Moon) with its immensity,
color, and awe-inspiring shapes can create an awesome, supernatural
atmosphere. It was the setting for the 1962 film Lawrence of Arabia,
and the actual location where T.E. Lawrence set up his camp. His book
“The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” (1926) was named after the seven natural
columns that can be seen as we approach the wadi. We will explore the
desert in 4X4 vehicles driven by local Bedouins and experience the
hospitality for which Bedouins are so famous for when we share tea with
them in a tent. Some of us may, for an additional fee, go on a camel ride!
Then, in the afternoon, we set off northwards, stopping briefly (if time
permits) in Siq Al-Barid (Little Petra) before arriving in Petra, where we
will check into our hotel for dinner and overnight.
Monday, December 30: Petra
Today is our day to explore the unique city of Petra (the rose-red city half
as old as time). The only way into the extraordinary rock-cut city is through
a long, narrow gorge known as the Siq, which can only be accessed by
golf cart, horseback or on foot. The first thing we see standing directly
in front of us as we emerge from the Siq is the vast facade of the treasury
(Al-Khazneh), built in the first century AD. We have several hours to wander
further into the city, enjoying the intricate details of the many monuments
carved into the cliffsides of rose-colored rock. We return to our hotel in
Petra for dinner and overnight.
Tuesday, December 31: From Jordan to Israel
This morning, we visit Mount Nebo, where Moses caught a glimpse of the
Promised Land (Deut. 34). On a clear day, you can see all the way across
the Jordan Valley to the rooftops of Jerusalem. We then travel north to
the spectacular ancient city of Jerash, one of the best-preserved Roman
cities in the world. We will enjoy strolling through the famous oval piazza,
wandering along the many colonnaded streets and standing in the grand
theater. We then continue our journey, crossing the border into Israel and
traveling north to check in to our hotel in the Galilee area, where we will
meet our fellow pilgrims.
Monday, December 30, 2024From $2565