I am leaving today to lead a tour in Israel and Jordan. This is my seventh trip to Israel since 2005 and I am looking forward to this one a great deal. I have 24 students along with me on this trip and they are all ready for an adventure. We arrive in Tel Aviv and begin with a walk through the Old City, the Rampart Walk, Western Wall and Davidson Archaeological Park.
We have a couple of days in Galilee, visiting all the “Jesus sites” as well as Tel Dan. We will cross into Jordan at Tiberius, see Jerash and Mount Nebo on the way to Petra. Finally, after crossing back into Israel at Eilat, we get a few days in the Negev, visiting Arad, Masada, En Gedi, Qumran and a few other sites.
I am particularly looking forward to the Southern Temple and City of David excavations, there are always and exciting things to be seen there.
I plan on walking down the Mount of Olives and across the Kidron Valley, then up the other side to the City of David excavations. While it is a long walking say, I think it will be an education on just how far people walked in and around Jerusalem in the first century.
Here is the basic itinerary, days 1-2 are travel and arriving in Jerusalem.
- Day 3: (Wednesday-April 29) Jerusalem. Jaffa Gate and Old City of Jerusalem. We will pass the Citadel of David and begin the “Rampart Walk.” We continue to walk through the Old City market to the Western Wall, including parts of the Via Dolorosa and visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
- Day 4: (Thursday April 30) Jerusalem. We will spend the morning at the Yad VaShem Museum and Israel Museum (Dead Sea Scrolls, Jerusalem Model, and the Archaeology wing of the Museum).
- Day 5: (Friday-May 1) Jerusalem. The day begins on the Mount of Olives, looking across the Kidron Valley. Walking down the Mount we will visit Domiunis Flevit (where Jesus wept over Jerusalem), the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations. We will walk across the Kidron Valley past Absalom’s tomb and up to the City of David and Hezekiah’s tunnel and the pool of Siloam. Finally we visit the Davidson Archaeology Park on the Southern wall of the Temple.
- Day 6: (Saturday-May 2) Galilee. We will begin the day by driving from Jerusalem to Caesarea, through Nazareth to Beit Shean, and finally arrive at Maagan Holiday Village in the late afternoon.
- Day 7: (Sunday-May 3) Galilee. We will begin this day by visiting Mount Arbel, the Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum, Caesarea Philippi and/or Tel Dan, Kursi.
- Day 8: (Monday- May 4) Jordan, Jeresh, Mt. Nebo, Amman. We will leave the Galilee early and prepare to cross into Jordan at the King Hussein Bridge and transfer busses in Jordan. We will stop at Jeresh for a tour of this spectacular Roman city.
- Day 9: (Tuesday-May 5) Petra. We start out for Petra early, walking the Suq to the famous Al Khazneh or Treasury at Petra. We will ahve a full day to explore this fantastic site!
- Day 10: (Wednesday-May 6) Aqaba, Eilot, Tamar. We will head south to the Red Sea, crossing the border back into Israel at Eilat. After some time swimming in the Red Sea we will arrive at Biblical Tamar Park.
- Day 11: (Thursday-May 7) Mamshit Tel Arad, Masada, the Dead Sea, Tamar. We will be on the bus early to explore several sites in the desert. Our first stop will be Mamshit, a Nabatean trading village which has been beautifully restored by the Israeli Park service. Then we will visit Arad, an ancient Canaanite city captured by Joshua. We will visit the Israelite citadel and travel to Masada, the famed fortress built by King Herod 2,000 years ago.
- Day 12: (Friday-May 8) Ein Gedi, Qumran, The Dead Sea. We will hike to the waterfall in Ein Gedi where David hid from King Saul, then visit Qumran, the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We end this day with a float in the Dead Sea.
- Day 13: (Saturday-May 9). We will depart Tamar Park and visit a few sites on the way to Jerusalem to spend our last few hours in the Old City for shopping.
One of the highlights of my tours is spending a few days at Tamar, an archaeological site south of the Dead Sea. The site is small but unique, with remains from the Iron Age (include a small Solomonic Gate and a four-room house), an Edomite shrine, a Roman bath and store rooms, a Turkish water system, a building once used as a jail during the British mandate, and an Israeli bomb shelter.
Look for frequent updates from Israel and Jordan over the next two weeks!