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israel

The Itinerary 

Day One
Sunday, March 14
Our journey begins with a late evening flight out of Washington Dulles International Airport en route to Tel Aviv, Israel.

 

 

Day Two
Monday, March 15
We arrive at Ben Gurion Airport where we are met by our local representative at international arrivals. After airport formalities, we transfer to our hotel and check-in. In the evening, we enjoy a get acquainted dinner at the hotel.
Lodging: Tel Aviv (D)

 

 

Day Three
Tuesday, March 16
After an early breakfast at the hotel, we drive to the Mediterranean coast where we visit the Argamon Iris Reserve, located just south of Netanya. We hike through this precious remnant of coastal dune habitat and experience the incredible tapestry of spring wild flowers up close. As we continue north we visit the Gardens of Ramot Hanadiv. This site is a memorial to Baron Edmond de Rothschild, who had significant influence in the early establishment of communities in Israel. We enjoy the beautifully maintained formal gardens which have incredible views and many peaceful and tranquil corners.
Lodging: Haifa (B)(D)

 

 

Day Four
Wednesday, March 17
This morning we have a guided tour of the Baha’i Gardens with the Head Gardener. This spectacular garden features a golden dome, marble walls, granite pillars and manicured gardens which cascade down the slopes of Mount Carmel. The gardens are designed in nine concentric circles resembling waves extending out from the shrine. Next, we set out to explore Mount Carmel National Park; the evergreen forest, a breathtakingly beautiful wild landscape, important historical sites, and a rich world of flora and fauna that have made the Carmel a nature and heritage expanse unlike any other in Israel. In the late afternoon, we drive to the Sea of Galilee to our hotel nearby. We stay here for three nights where dinner is included each night.
Lodging: Tiberias (B)(D)

 

 

Day Five
Thursday, March 18
The Gamla Nature Reserve is a rare combination of both natural and archaeological attractions. Today, we spend several hours walking this historical national park that embodies the landscape characteristics of the Golan Heights, enjoying the spring flowers and witnessing a breathtaking view of the Galilee. We return to our hotel in the early evening and enjoy dinner.
Lodging: Tiberias (B)(D)

 

 

Day Six
Friday, March 19
Today is an exciting day around and on the Sea of Galilee. We sail from the old Roman hotsprings resort area of Tiberias across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum (John 6:24), to visit the ancient ruins of the 1st-century synagogue where Jesus preached (Matthew 4:13-17). Then, onto the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and to Tabgha, the chapel dedicated to the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes (Mark 6:34-44). We end the day with a visit to the Jordan River and return to our hotel in time for dinner.
Lodging: Tiberias (B)(D)

 

 

Day Seven
Saturday, March 20
Today we visit Nazareth, a city rich in biblical history. In the old city, we see the domed Basilica of the Annunciation, believed to be where the angel Gabriel told Mary she would bear a child. St. Joseph’s Church is said to be the site of Joseph’s carpentry workshop. The underground Synagogue Church is reputedly where Jesus studied and prayed. We continue to Cana to see the Wedding Church where Jesus performed His first miracle turning water into wine (John 2:1-11). Afterward we drive by the Gilboa Mountain, the famous mountain on which King Saul was killed in the battle against the Philistines. Next we reach Gideon's Spring, the place where Gideon gathered his men before fighting the Midianites. Heading south, we drive along the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea and check-in to our hotel. We have dinner at our hotel.
Lodging: Dead Sea (B)(D)

 

 

Day Eight
Sunday, March 21
You have the morning free to relax and recharge. If you like, you can visit the Dead Sea and experience floating in the salty water, covering yourself with the mineral-rich mud. After lunch, we drive north to visit the Kibbutz Ein Gedi Botanical Gardens for a guided tour. It is a true desert oasis perched on a cliff above the Dead Sea, where the kibbutz maintains a 25-acre botanical garden housing over 900 plant species from around the world. Afterward, we return to our hotel and enjoy dinner.
Lodging: Jerusalem (B)(D)

 

 

Day Nine
Monday, March 22
We check out of our hotel and drive to the ancient fortress of Masada, which Jewish zealots defended for almost 4 years against a determined Roman siege in 73 AD. We ascend the mountain by cable car to tour the ancient fortress. Afterward, we drive up into the Judea Mountains to reach the holy city of Jerusalem.
Lodging: Jerusalem (B)

 

 

Day Ten
Tuesday, March 23
Today is a filled with important Biblical sites beginning with the Garden Tomb, a rock-cut tomb, unearthed in 1867 and considered to be the site of the burial and resurrection of Jesus. The tomb has been dated by Israeli archaeologist Gabriel Barkay as being from the 8th to 7th centuries BC. Afterward, we ascend the Mount of Olives and enjoy a wonderful panoramic view of the Old City of Jerusalem with the Temple Mount. Then we walk down the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane, the place where Jesus was betrayed and arrested. We see the ancient olive trees and visit the Basilica of the Agony. On Mount Zion, we view the Room of the Last Supper and King David’s Tomb. We reach the Wailing Wall - the holiest place for the Jewish people. From there we proceed through the ancient Roman road, the Cardo, toward the Via Dolorosa and walk along the Stations of the Cross and Ecce Homo. There’s time also to enjoy shopping at the Arab Bazaar. In the afternoon, we walk through the Botanical Gardens at Hebrew University with the Head Gardener. The first botanical garden in Israel, it covers over 6 acres and houses more than 950 plant species, representing over 40% of the wild plant species of Israel. Around the garden are many burial caves from the Second Temple period. Tonight, dinner is on your own at one of the many local restaurants in Jerusalem.
Lodging: Jerusalem (B)

 

Day Eleven
Wednesday, March 24
This morning we drive to Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, to visit the Church of the Nativity and the Chapel of the Shepherd's Field. Returning to Jerusalem we stop to visit Yad VaShem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum and Memorial. In the afternoon, we enjoy free time in Jerusalem as our hotel is just a10-minute walk from Alrov Mamilla Avenue, an upscale shopping street and the only open-air mall in Jerusalem. We are also just a 12-minute walk to the Damascus Gate that opens into the Old City. In the evening, we enjoy our Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant where each person will receive a personalized Pilgrim Certificate, signed by the mayor of Jerusalem.
Overnight: Jerusalem (B)(D)

Day Twelve
Thursday, March 25
We have a very late evening transfer to the airport for our flight back home. We will depart for the airport around 8:00 pm, which means that we have the entire day free in Jeruslem! (B)

Day Thirteen
Friday, March 26
Our flight departs right after midnight on the 25th and arrives at Dulles International Airport in Washington early this morning.

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