We begin our tour a little later to give everyone a chance to catch up on their rest after a long flight and long layover in Paris . We meet Yuval, our friend and guide at the Grand Beach Hotel in Tel Aviv. Our bus driver for this tour is Ă©lan.
We desire to work in a quick visit to Joppa despite a later start on our day. It is important to see this ancient port city as it gives us an excellent place to see Tel Aviv and learn the story of Israel’sÂ rebirth. It’s also significant to us as Christians as it is where Peter had the vision that would ultimately allow him to carry the gospel to the Gentiles.
The next stop is Caesarea Maritima. This was the magnificent port city built by Herod the Great. It would be one of the most significant ports in the Roman Empire. By the time we get to Caesara its heating up. The summer sun and the humdity slow our steps and we are constantly looking for shade. The weather here is not all that unfamiliar to us, as it reminds us of the sweltering hot days we generally have in Virginia this time of year.
We stop for cold drinks and ice cream bars on our way out, as well as making a quick stop at a Roman aquaduct to dip our toes into the Mediterranean Sea.
We visit the tel of Megiddo around lunch time – so we get a quick meal of falafel and chips or French fries. Then we trek up the tell to explore this chariot city. At the top of the tel we stop to get an orientation from Yuval. We see Nazareth on one side of the great valley and the summit of Mount Carmel on the other.
Aside from being a historically importatn ruin, the Valley of Meggido is also the future site of the Battle of Armageddon. We pause as Pastor Mark reads from Revelation Chapter 19 and we look into the sky and try to imagine what that day will look like. Afterwards we walk down to look at some of what would have been stables for the horses. Pretty much the entire group elects to traverse the ancient water tunnel. It’s a bit of a walk but at least it’s out of the sun! We meet up with the bus on the other side.
Our next stop is Mount Carmel. The Carmelite monetary that is built on the traditional site of the famous contest between Elijah and the priest of Baal is strangely quite almost deserted of its normal visitors. Even the gift shop is closed. It not just off season, but off off season for tourists. There are no lines or crowds in many of the sites we visit, which is a nice side effect of the sweltering heat.
We do take a moment to reflect of the story of Elijah before heading down to Galilee and our hotel .