DAY 01 Mon . Apr . 24
Our journey of a lifetime begins with departure on a United Airlines wide body jet. After take-off, we will be served dinner and breakfast en route.
DAY 02 Tue . Apr . 25
ARRIVE ISRAEL / CAESARE BY THE SEA
We arrive at Ben Gurion airport in the morning, clear passport control and other protocols. We begin our journey with a stop along the beautiful Mediterranean Sea at the majestic seaport of Caesarea by the Sea. We see the ancient theater that is still used for concerts today, as well as the remains Herod’s Palace and the Hippodrome. Then we move on to Megiddo where we climb a tel and learn about the 30 layers of civilization that developed here as well as the final battle of this period of world history. We head to Tiberias for dinner and overnight overlooking the Sea of Galilee at the U Boutique hotel.
DAY 03 Wed . Apr . 26
NAZARETH / BAPTISM / BEIT SHE’AN
We begin the day with a visit to Mt. Arbel for a glorious view of the Sea of Galilee where the Crusaders experienced their final defeat at the hands of Saladin. Then we turn toward Nazareth, where we recall the announcement of the angel, Gabriel, to Mary about the birth of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38). Visit Nazareth Village to see Nazareth as it might have looked in the 1st Century, with its replicas and exhibits of 1st Century life. After lunch, we enjoy baptism at Gan Hashlosha, a part of the Jordan River system, celebrating all that Jesus has accomplished for us. We conclude the day with a visit to Beit Shean before heading to Tiberias for dinner and overnight at our hotel.
DAY 04 Thu . Apr . 27
AROUND THE SEA OF GALILEE
Nothing is more beautiful than sunrise over the Sea of Galilee! We begin the day with a peaceful boat ride on the lake where Jesus performed many of His miracles. We drive up the Golan Heights to Caesarea Philippi, the picturesque location for the conversation between Peter and Jesus recorded in Matthew 16. Following lunch we turn our attention to the ministry of our Lord described in the Gospels with visits to the hometown of Jesus – Capernaum and Magdala, a thriving community at the time of our Lord where a recent archeological discovery revealed a First Century synagogue, likely visited by Jesus. We remember the “Greatest Sermon ever Preached” with a visit to the Mount of Beatitudes before we return to our hotel for dinner and overnight
DAY 05 Fri . Apr . 28
JACOB’S WELL / JERICHO / BETHANY
We depart Tiberias and turn our attention to sites in Samaria like Mt.Gerazim and Nablus, the location of Jacob’s Well. We are not far from Shiloh where the ark rested upon the entrance of the Israelites into the Promised Land. We enjoy lunch at Jericho before we climb the tel and look down on the ruins of the oldest excavated city in the world. We conclude our day at Bethany, the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus before heading to Jerusalem where we enjoy dinner and overnight at the Leonardo Plaza Hotel.
DAY 06 Sat . Apr . 29
TEMPLE MOUNT / POOLS OF BETHESDA / MASADA / EIN GEDI / QUMRAN
Today, we catch an early bus to the Temple Mount, home to the temples of Solomon and Herod and the current location for the Dome of the Rock, the Mosque of Omar, originally built in the 6th Century and the Al Aqsa Mosque, used by Muslims for prayer. After the Temple Mount, we visit the Pools of Bethesda, where Jesus healed the lame man (John 5). We then head to the desert to enjoy a stop at Masada, where Jewish zealots met their fate at the hands of the Roman army. After lunch we move on to Ein Gedi, the desert oasis, where we recall the worship of David in Psalm 46. We then turn toward Qumran, the location for the most significant archeological discovery of the 20th Century - the Dead Sea Scrolls. We conclude the day with a visit to the Dead Sea, where the adventurous can enjoy floating in the waters at the lowest place on earth. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 07 Sun . Apr . 30
BETHLEHEM / HERODIAN / MUSEUMS
We begin our day at the Shepherd’s Fields and reflect on the appearance of the angels to announce the birth of Christ to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-18). A visit to the Church of the Nativity concludes our focus on the incarnation of our Lord before we enjoy shopping in Bethlehem. The Herodian is our next stop, the majestic man-made mountain outside of Bethlehem, where King Herod’s grave was recently discovered. After lunch we experience a sobering visit to the Holocaust Museum, Yad Vashem, which reminds us of the atrocities of World War II. We move on to the Israel Museum where we explore a model of 1st Century Jerusalem and some of the discoveries in the caves of Qumran. We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight.
DAY 8 Mon . May . 01
We begin our last day in Jerusalem with a moving visit to Gordon’s Calvary and the Garden Tomb, where we celebrate communion and remember the death and resurrection of our Lord. We then descend the slopes of the Mt. of Olives and retrace the steps of Jesus on that first Palm Sunday before arriving at the Garden of Gethsemane where He agonized about his coming crucifixion. We retrace the steps of Jesus on the way to the cross as we make our way along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We enjoy lunch in the Old City, then conclude our time in Jerusalem with free time for shopping before a farewell dinner at the Ambassador Hotel. We will spend our last night in Jerusalem before our journey continues to Turkey the following morning.
DAY 9 Tue . May . 02
EL AVIV / ISTANBUL / IZMIR / KUSADASI
We’ll have an early transfer to the Ben Gurion Airport for our flight to Turkey. Welcome to Turkey -- a land of minarets, ancient civilizations, and modern bustling cities! Upon arrival in Istanbul (following passport and visa control), we will board our flight for Izmir. After baggage claim, we meet our tour guide at the international arrivals terminal and board our bus for Kusadasi where we have dinner and three nights in Kusadasi at the Charisma Hotel overlooking the beautiful Aegean Sea.
DAY 10 Wed . May . 03
KUSADASI / PATMOS / KUSADASI
After breakfast, we will transfer to the Kusadasi harbor and board the ferry across the blue Aegean to visit the Apostle John’s famous Island of the Apocalypse, Patmos. Upon arrival, we are transferred by coach to the Cave of the Apocalypse. Located on the small island’s highest hill, this is the traditional location where John received the Book of Revelation. It’s here that we will have time to wander by a quiet bay area on the rear of the island for spiritual reflection. We return to Kusadasi for dinner and overnight.
DAY 11 Thu . May . 04
EPHESUS / IZMIR
After breakfast, the coach will take us to the town of Selcuk to visit the remains of the ancient city of Ephesus. We visit the Temples of Hadrian and Domition, along with the Library of Celsus, and the great theatre with a capacity of 24,000 spectators. We continue our tour with a visit to Mary’s last home--a visit to the chapel erected at this traditional site where the Virgin Mary spent the last days of her life. We will then tour the Basilica of St. John. Our next stop is a local workshop to learn about Turkey’s highest art form, carpet weaving. Since their introduction by nomadic Seljuks in the 12th century, woven rugs have been essential pieces of tent furniture. We then drive to Izmir for a short orientation tour and visit of the Agora in the city where the persecution of the Christians began in Smyrna (Rev 2:8). We return to our hotel for dinner and overnight in Kusadasi.
DAY 12 Fri . May . 05
IZMIR / ISTANBUL
After breakfast, we head to the airport for a brief flight to Istanbul. We visit the St. Sophia Museum, the great Byzantine Basilica built in the 6th century. We will then go to the Grand Bazaar where there will be an opportunity to shop. We turn toward the Hilton Hotel where we enjoy dinner & overnight at our hotel overlooking the Bosphorus Sea.
DAY 13 Sat . May . 06
ISTANBUL / ATHENS
This morning we head for the Blue Mosque, which is a 17th-century Ottoman mosque famous for its six minarets and magnificent interior with blue tiles. Afterwards, we visit Topkapi Palace, the residence of the Ottoman sultans housing the richness of 700 years with its treasures that include the crown jewels and a unique collection of Chinese porcelains. We head to the airport for an afternoon flight to Athens where we check-in to the King George hotel in Athens which provides comfortable accommodations and dinner for us this evening.
DAY 14 Sun . May . 07
ATHENS / CORINTH
We spend the morning exploring the Acropolis and the magnificent Parthenon, the ancient temple and grandest landmark in the city of Athens. We stand on top of Mars’ Hill and remember Paul‘s challenge to the Athenians in Acts 17:22- 31. In the afternoon, we head for Corinth and learn about “the Bema seat” (2 Cor. 5:10). We then return to Athens for our “Farewell Dinner” with time after dinner to visit the old city, the Plaka, and reflect on the fascinating architecture of Greek society.
DAY 15 Mon . May . 08
DEPART ATHENS / ARRIVAL USA
We arrive in the U.S., clear customs and make our connecting flights filled with memories for a lifetime and renewed passion to study the Scriptures.