The young gals of the group - Amanda & Alysha - aren't they cute??
Alysha and Chris were not going to pass on the opportunity to jump into the water and have a swim in the Red Sea...the rest of us were too chicken cause we thought it would be too cold.
Here we all are for our group photo on the boat with Arie...by the way, it was his 60th birthday on this day we had our cruise.
On our 4 hour bus ride back to Tel Aviv to catch our 11:30 flight, the sunset was absolutely incredible! I managed to capture it just as it was going under the cloud but still over the mountain. Ain't it gorgeous??
In this other photo, we are passing the time at the airport before our flight and had what Alysha and Amanda considered "some normal food"! :-)
Today was a good day...the cruise was a great way to end our time here. We were tired though...4 hour cruise, 4 hour bus ride, 12 hour flight....= exhausted when we arrived in Toronto. :-) It was all worth it though. What memories we have to share with others. Remember, in November 2011, Good Lord willing, I'll be taking another group of ladies out to the Holy Land....start signing up now. :-)
Wednesday, Dec. 8 - 12th entry
We enjoyed walking up to one of the higher peaks and overlooking much of Petra from this viewpoint. It was so beautiful. On our drive home, the sun was setting of the mountains of Moab and that sure was a gorgeous site too but none of the photos really turned out for me to post on here. We had photos of the 3 sets of moms & daughters up here on the one peak...the cave/room behind Jenny & Chris had an amazing echo in it. The walls looked like a type of marble...they were so unique. Also in these photos are Helen & Chris up on their camel ride and photo shoot. :-) It was fun! There was also this one young girl who followed us around the whole place too...hoping we'd give her change for a coin that was worth much less than the dollar. She was really sweet though and kept telling us "nice eyes".
Yes, you are seeing correctly....Alysha is kissing a camel and the camel is kissing her. :-) All you had to do was bend down and make a smooching noise and this camel would lift up it's head and kiss you. :-) It was too funny! Both Amanda & Alysha kissed the camel.
Most of the ladies had a ride on the camels....just me and Kathy didn't..we were too busy taking photos of the ones who did. Amanda pulled a tailbone muscle on her camel excursion and was in a bit of pain for the rest of the time...so that was no good, but she was a good sport the rest of the day.
I met the sweetest little girl you ever did see. She came walking by us carrying garbage to go put in the dumpster at Petra and I stopped her to see her beautiful face and to give her a candy that I had in my purse. She looked at me with huge dark eyes and slowly reached out her hand and touched my cheek....it nearly brought a tear to my eye. She was so incredibly sweet. This is the living these young kids know. Trying to sell things for "a dolla" and following you around everywhere, hoping you'll give them money for something. They're trained quite well, and your heart really goes out to them.
Alysha & Amanda on their camel rides....first one eveeeer!! :-)
The rock in the cavern that we had to walk through to go to Petra was so smooth and the colors were quite incredible. An amazing wonder that you truly have to see for yourself.
Here we are!! All of us in front of our very comfortable bus and our faithful leaders, Saleme our bus driver and Arie our tour guide. We were truly thankful for both of these men on our whole tour...they lead us ladies so well and we always felt safe and very well taken care of.
The first view of the Rose City, Petra, an ancient wonder of the world, a city carved into the rock.
Alysha found puppies everywhere she went. :-) I must admit, this one was really cute.
On our drive out to Petra, we stopped for a washroom break at this gift store. This man was creating sand art in jars...it was amazing how he did it...they were truly a work of art...I'd never be able to get the shape of a camel in sand in a jar like he did. Amazing!
Amanda often had men admiring her beauty...this guy, who worked at the gift shop at the border, kept talking to her and suckered her into getting a head wrap...just like her mother had before we entered into Jerusalem. I don't know about these Byers women...their smiles are just too sweet and they can't say no. tsk, tsk, tsk. :-) We had a good laugh with this fellow.
On our way back when we went through the border, a Jordanian worker
We had a great day touring Petra Jordan today. Walking through the border went very smoothly and didn't take long at all..we were very thankful for that cause it can take up to 2 hours for everything to happen there. We had a good 3-4 hours touring there. It's so amazing!! The first view that we have there of the treasury building through the rocky cavern is the best. When you come all the way through, you just stand there in awe of the magnificence of it.....how they managed to carve that those buildings in to the rock with the tools that they had those many years ago is quite something. Did you know that Petra is one of the wonders of the ancient world? It is. And it's also a place that many believe the Christians and Jews will flee to as a place of refuge during the end times. It was quite something to be here. Even though the bus ride was long, bumpy and dirty, we were all so glad that we came to Petra. Most of the ladies had their 1st camel ride eveeeer!! :-) You shoulda seen the looks on some of their faces when the camels went to stand up....it was so funny!!
After Petra, we stopped and had lunch at 3 pm at a restaurant in a hotel in a town nearby. Did you also know that Jordan is 90% Muslim and only 5% Christian? It is. After lunch we began the crazy wild bus ride back to the border. Here the border crossing went very smooth and quickly again. But oh, we were ever so thankful for our own bus back and also our wonderful driver, Saleme....the Jordanian bus driver was a crazy driver.
When we got back to Eilat, we freshened up at the hotel and then all went out to eat for a later supper. Steak, potatoes, and salad....yummy! This was our farewell supper together. Tomorrow, we get to go for a cruise on the Red Sea with a BBQ lunch on board the yacht....we are really looking forward to that too. We'll also have an opportunity to do some snorkelling right off the boat. Will I be brave enough?? Tomorrow will tell.
Well, this is the last time that I'll be posting on here until after we get home. You'll have to wait until Friday night, Saturday or next week before you'll see photos on here from the Red Sea cruise and the last leg of our journey. I'm hoping that sharing this blog with you will have sparked your interest in joining me on another ladies tour in a couple of years....Lord willing, at the end of November 2011..basically the first 2 weeks of December, Saturday to a Saturday. Interested?? Good. Give me a call or an email and with a $100 deposit, I will put your name on the list that has already begun. Your money will go into a US account specifically for the Ladies Israel Tour of 2010. What do you say ladies?? You won't be sorry. :-)
Thanks again for praying and for joining us on this journey. God bless you!
See you at home soon.
Tuesday, Dec. 8 - 11th entry
YAY! The internet is working better here in Eilat so I can load up some more photos for you to enjoy! :-) Enjoy! I also think the other post was getting too lengthy with so many photos that I was unable to load more into there, so this is Part 2 of Israel journey blog. Enjoy!
The mountain here is where they believe Jesus was tempted by Satan after being in the desert for 40 days with no food or water. It was incredible to be standing here, knowing that again, Jesus was here.
A scene we saw a lot...youth in Israel attend 2-3 years of military school once they complete high school and so we saw them around a lot, smiling, carrying their guns, backpacks on their backs and visiting with each other. We also saw bigger groups of them touring through the Holocaust Museum.
While in Jericho, it was a real highlight seeing these camels running loose alongside the road, as well as this shepherd with his goats. When we were in the town of Jericho, there was a young boy Shepherd and a young man on his donkey herding their sheep through the town. This was a definite hightlight. They smiled at these ladies pointing their cameras out the window of the bus that was driving by. :-) Silly tourists they must have thought.
When we were at the Israel Museum where we saw the replica model of the Old City of Jerusalem in Jesus' time, there were a couple of school groups there. One group was all Jewish boys being taught about the Old City by a Rabbi and a school teacher from a Jewish private school which they attended....I believe this group was with the Orthodox Jews. The other group was small children who stopped at the doors and turned around to sing us a song..it was so precious! :-) We really enjoyed that.
Kathy, Amanda and Karen enjoying the shopping in the Old City in the Muslim Quarter.
Walking through to the Damascus Gate (I believe)....we walked through the Lions Gate, Zion Gate, Damascus Gate and another one but I can't remember the name. :-) I loved the old stone walkways and the formations of each of the different gates which led you into the Old City.
Kathy and Jenny listening intently as Arie gives us more teaching in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Wall of the Old City as night is coming on. It was so neat to stand and look up at these old walls....truly amazing.
Today was a very relaxing day. The morning began with being able to sleep in, but most of us were up quite early because we were used to being awake early. :-) The sunrise on the Dead Sea was spectacular! Some of us enjoyed a float in the Dead Sea, and then another one after breakfast. The water was a bit cool but still comfortable and the air was warm, +20 degrees, when we came out of the water. The spa inside, with the warm mineral water bath was so nice. But it sure was different being in a pool with people speaking in many other languages...I think we were the only ones speaking English. It sure was a nice break from the full touring days that we've been having....although those have been wonderful as well, but this was a different kind of good. :-)
We left the Dead Sea at noon and had a 2 hour bus ride to Eilat. Once we got to our hotel in Eilat, we had some more relaxing time, and enjoyed a nice walk along the boardwalk checking out the outdoor market while the sun was setting. It was so beautiful! Another good supper buffet and some downtime visiting in the lobby of the hotel completed the evening. But, I am still sitting here by myself finishing this blog for the day so that you can enjoy some more photos of our tour. The last couple of nights, the internet just has not been working well for me to load up some photos for you. So, here I sit, as a woman is putting on a live singing show for some men in the lobby, all are welcome to sit in but so far it's just men...she has a nice voice but I can't understand the songs, the language and I'm feeling a little outnumbered. :-) I will finish up here and go on up to my quiet hotel room for a good nights sleep.
It was really good to take some time tonight to debrief with the ladies and ask questions and discuss all aspects of the tour. Those are important times for me, especially if I continue to lead a tour like this. It has been a great first experience, but definitely some things to learn and to get feedback on. It's been good and I have really enjoyed the ladies on this tour. We've gotten along well and we've each had a buddy.
Tomorrow will be another full day as we head to Petra, Jordan. There will be lots of walking again and the ladies will be in for an adventure...a good one.
Here's a few more photos for you from the last couple of days:
We saw two wild animals!! This one was the Ibex, a type of wild goat that lives in Israel. They were not very shy and it was fun to watch them. The other animal we saw here was the Rock Rabbit.
After seeing some of the Dead Sea scrolls at the Israel Museum and then coming here to the Qumran Caves to see where they were found....this was quite something. Arie always did such an amazing job at wrapping the teaching packages together in a very unique and complete way. We sure enjoyed his teaching the whole tour. Here mother & daughter, Jenny & Chris, have a photo taken with one of the caves in the distance where the Dead Sea scrolls were found.
Great photo of mother & daughter, Karen & Amanda, sitting out of the wind on Masada.
Night view of a part of Eilat along the Red Sea from the boardwalk we were walking along just before supper tonight. We enjoyed checking out all the shops in the outdoor market along the boardwalk on the shores of the Red Sea today.
Oh, the sunset on the Red Sea tonight just outside our hotel was incredible.
The ladies sitting and enjoying a coffee in the lounge area at the Golden Tulip Hotel that we were staying at at the Dead Sea..lots of people, lots of different nationalities and different languages..I think we were the only English speaking people there. :-)
In Jericho, by the Sycamore Tree, as any other place the bus would stop, there's always interesting salesmen standing by the sell you their wares. Notice how Karen is in the background staying away from the attention and letting Helen have her experience with the salesman who doesn't give up. :-)
Standing at the model replica of the City of Jerusalem while Arie gave an excellent explanation of how life was and the buildings were in the time of Jesus. This model of Jerusalem was a definite favorite of all the ladies.
Check out those bathing beauties all afloat in the Dead Sea...yes, even though some of us could not swim, we sure could float. It was great fun......as we tried not to splash each other in the salty water. We sure enjoyed our time here.
Standing on the shore of the Dead Sea.
On top of Masada, out of the wind, as Arie told the story of what happened up here those many years ago when the Romans ruled and many Jews chose to take their own lives on Masada rather than give in to Roman rule.
A replica of the Temple....beautiful.
Alysha & Amanda and Jenny & Chris climbed up Masada with Arie. Karen climbed down part of the way to meet up with Amanda and Alysha hiking up. The Dead Sea is 1,400 feet below Sea Level and Masada is at Sea Level so it is quite a steep climb up to the top. It took Arie 29 minutes to hike up, usually it takes him 28 minutes and it took these ladies 45 minutes to hike up to the top. They did pretty good. :-)
Well, time to sign off for another day. Just a couple of more sleeps before we begin our long journey home. We've seen on the weather network that it's quite cold out there in SK...brrrr and you have snow now too...saw there was quite a bit of snow in Calgary too. That's too bad. No, it's not hot here but it's quite comfortable though..anywhere from +15 to +26, well and the +30 at the Dead Sea, just before we went up to Masada, and then it rained up there. :-) So, it's been a little cool, enough for a light jacket, but not cold like SK. :-) Stay warm guys, we will too. :-)
Thank you again for you prayers and we welcome more of them in these coming days. God bless!