Trip of a Lifetime: Israel
If you celebrate Christmas, it’s hard to talk about the holiday without making reference to the manger, Bethlehem and the meaning of Christmas. One of the best places to learn the original history of Christmas is in Israel in The Holy Land.
I recently toured Israel with a group of about 130 people. Because of the time difference and since I wanted to capture footage for Hotel Hunt, I stayed 14 days instead of the 10 days that were part of the scheduled trip. Having some extra time to get acclimated was a huge benefit!
I’ll dive right into some of the most inspirational parts of Jerusalem, especially in The Old City.
- One of the most photographed areas is the Mount of Olives located between Bethany and Jerusalem.
Global Religions and Faiths
- The Dominus Flevit Chapel is a Franciscan church in the area.
- Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene is very recognizable because of its 7 onion-shaped spires. It’s maintained today by Russian nuns.
- The Church of the Holy Sepulcher located in the Old City is controlled by the Greek Orthodox Church. Religious historians and people of faith visit here because of the reported events of the cross based on archaeological findings.
Step Back in Time
- Pool of Bethesda (near St Anne’s Anne’s Church) is an ancient pool about 60 feet below ground level. Very impressive to see!
- Garden of Gethsemane (garden of the wine press) is located at the base of the Mt of Olives. The Garden contains ancient olive trees that some historians have dated back to the time of Jesus.
- Outside Jerusalem, a must is to go into the Judean wilderness to see the ancient remains of Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found by researchers in 1947. Then you should go to Masada, a fortress occupied by King Herod. There’s a dramatic story that unfolded on this site between Jewish defenders and the Romans in 73 AD. The story has been featured in movies!
Fitness Lovers Love This!
- To get to Masada you have to either take a cable car or hike! My husband chose to hike up the massive rock structure. No surprise, huh?!
- Most of Israel speaks to the past but there’s one specific place where you’ll see the future and that’s Megiddo or Armageddon. This strip of land has been the site of numerous battles and the book of Revelation says it will be the final battle on the earth.
- It’s the holiday season and I’m glad I had the opportunity to go to Bethlehem and the Garden Tomb. I have to admit, I thought it would have been larger or that it would look the way it was portrayed in the movies, but nonetheless, it was still really cool to see it!
I couldn’t share stories of Israel without mentioning the hotel that we stayed in! We spent most of our trip at The David Citadel in the Old City. Most rooms have a view of Jerusalem and are fairly spacious. The hotel has a magnificent breakfast buffet, a sushi bar, and 24-hour dining options.
If you’re staying in Israel on Friday or Saturday, all the places we visited observed Shabbat. This traditional Jewish observance begins at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday evening when the new week begins. Religious Jews do not work on Shabbat which includes cooking and using electronics. Some non-Kosher restaurants stay open during Shabbat, and you can find a limited number of businesses that are open in the West of the city.
I have so much to share with you about Israel! I’ll need to make this a multi-part series of posts. Hopefully, you’ve taken a look at our Facebook page and Insta posts via @HotelHuntTV because I have lots more on the trip that I’ve shared there.
See my upcoming post on What to Pack, When to Travel and Where to Stay, so you’ll be prepared to go to Israel!
Safe travels and Happy Hotel Hunting,