Another fantastic trip in the books. This was a 3 week vacation (when you are retired is it still called a vacation?) to Jordan and Israel. I started with 1 week in Jordan and then another 2 in Israel. It was a fantastic cultural tour of the area.
I arrived in Amman 2 days before the beginning of the formal tour. This gave me a chance to recover from jetlag and take a couple of mural/street art walking tours in Amman. Those were fantastic. I’ve set up a separate post on the home page with photos from those walking tours > Murals and Street Art of Amman Jordan
During our time in Amman we visited the Citadel and Roman Theater. Next we headed north to visit the Greco-Roman city of Jerash.
From Amman we headed south to Petra. Along the way we visited Mount Nebo and the city of Madaba known for its mosaics. For me Petra was the highlight of my time in Jordan. Much walking but it was simply amazing.
Our main Petra walking tour covered about 5 miles in total. In the afternoon we could explore further. I had intended to hike the 900 steps up to the Petra Monastery, though was exhausted by then. Not to worry, our trip leader hooked a few of us up with someone who took us up and down by donkey power! Once we reached the top I was confident I would have never made it walking…or it would have taken me hours.
Saying farewell to Jordan we entered Israel via the Allenby Bridge. The day before we were required to get a Covid PCR test and had to complete another one at the border on arrival. Fortunately well all passed our tests and were able to start our Israel trip in Haifa.
From our base in Haifa we visited the markets of Haifa, the Baha’i Gardens, Caesarea, Akko (Acre), and the Rosh HaNikra grottoes near the border of Israel and Lebanon.
Leaving Haifa we headed to the Golan Heights. On the way we stopped in Nazareth and visited two churches in Nazareth and saw an ancient boat found in the Sea of Galilee dating to 50 BC.
Our Golan Heights hotel/lodge at Kibbutz Kfar Haruv included individual cabins. My front porch has a panoramic view of the Sea of Galilee (which is actually a lake).
Our first night at the Kibbutz we had dinner in their communal dining room. For our second night we stopped at a local grocery store and shopped for a picnic dinner at the lodge.
From the Golan Heights we traveled to Jerusalem for 6 nights. On the way we stopped along the Jordan River where two individuals in our group were baptized. Additionally we visited churches at Capernaum & the Mount of the Beatitudes
The next 5 days were filled with sites in and around Jerusalem. The highlight was definitely our day in the old city with visits to the Western (Wailing) Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
Normally when I travel my souvenirs are limited to fridge magnets and ball caps. A bit of a plot twist this year when I went to Razzouk’s Tattoo and got a Jerusalem Cross tattoo just above my ankle. Razzouk’s is a family business passed down through 27 generations (since the 1300’s). They began this trade in Egypt and have been in Jerusalem for 5 centuries.
One day we headed to Masada National Park and were given the opportunity to float in the Dead Sea (1,412’ below sea level).
Our time in Jerusalem also included visits to the Israel Museum, Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum. The Holocaust Museum was sobering and included a visit with Ruth Berlinger, a Holocaust survivor who lived in the Warsaw Ghetto and later in hiding in various homes in Warsaw until finally being liberated by the Russian Army at the end of the war.
One morning we drove to the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Gosh and met with Issa Jaber, a Muslim who was a high school teacher and also served as local mayor. Issa gave us a tour of the Abu Gosh mosque, a church and later we joined him at his home for a wonderful lunch.
On our last night in Jerusalem we had a home hosted dinner with an Orthodox Jewish family. It was interesting to learn about how the Orthodox Jews practice their faith including keeping a Kosher home and kitchen.
Our final stop was 3 nights in Israel’s capital city of Tel Aviv. The morning we departed to Tel Aviv we spent a few hours volunteering at “Pantry Packers”. Pantry Packers is a non-profit charged with providing food and material aid to Israel’s senior citizens and impoverished families – regardless of gender, ethnic background, or religious affiliation. My tour operators Grand Circle Foundation began supporting this organization in 2021. During our visit we assisted in packaging oats for distribution in monthly food deliveries to their clients.
Tel Aviv was only founded in 1909 though is next to Jaffa (Yafo), a port city originally founded about 1,800 BC.
Below is a photo album with other highlights of my trip.
Dates: May 4 – 26, 2022
Operator: Overseas Adventure Travel