A Travellerspoint blog

Journey through the Holy Land

Tel Aviv to the Sea of Galilee

sunny 81 °F

We started off the morning at 8:00am boarding the bus for a quick trip to the ancient port of Jaffa. Jaffa, in Hebrew Yafo and in Arabic Yafa and also called Japho or Joppa, the southern and oldest part of Tel Aviv-Yafo, is an ancient port city in Israel. Jaffa is known for its association with the biblical stories of Jonah, Solomon and Saint Peter as well as the mythological story of Andromeda and Perseus, and later for its oranges.


We then traveled to the Roman et. al. ruins of Caesarea. The ancient city of Caesarea Maritima was built by Herod the Great about 25–13 BCE as a major port. It served as an administrative center of the province of Judaea (later named Syria Palaestina) in the Roman Empire, and later as the capital of the Byzantine province of Palaestina Prima. During the Muslim conquest in the 7th century, it was the last city of the Holy Land to fall to the Arabs. The city degraded to a small village after the provincial capital was moved from here to Ramla and had an Arab majority until Crusader conquest. Under the Crusaders it became once again a major port and a fortified city.


From there we went to the Druze town on Mount Carmel for lunch and then a visit to a Carmelite church on Mount Carmel. Druze are an Arabic-speaking esoteric ethnoreligious group from Western Asia who adhere to a religious faith that originally developed out of Isma'ilism, a branch of Shia Islam, although they do not identify as Muslims. They practice Druzism, an Abrahamic, monotheistic, syncretic, and ethnic religion based on the teachings of Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmad and ancient Greek philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, and Zeno of Citium. Adherents of the Druze religion are called The People of Monotheism.

The Order of the Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, known as the Carmelites or sometimes by synecdoche known simply as Carmel, is a Roman Catholic mendicant religious order for men and women. Historical records about its origin remain uncertain, but it was probably founded in the 12th century on Mount Carmel in the Crusader States. Berthold of Calabria, as well as Albert of Vercelli have traditionally been associated with the founding of the order, but few clear records of early Carmelite history have survived. The order of Carmelite nuns was formalised in 1452.


Our last stop of the day was at the Tel Magiddo. Megiddo was important in the ancient world. It guarded the western branch of a narrow pass on the most important trade route of the ancient Fertile Crescent, linking Egypt with Mesopotamia and Asia Minor and known today as Via Maris. Because of its strategic location, Megiddo was the site of several battles. It was inhabited approximately from 5000 to 350 BCE. or even, as Megiddo Expedition archaeologists suggest, since around 7000 BCE. There are approximately 35 different layers of city on the site.


Posted by rpickett 15:44 Archived in Israel Tagged seaward Comments (2)

Journey through the Holy Land

Tel Aviv

sunny 80 °F

After an 11 hour flight from Chicago and seven time zones from the east coast, one of my college room mates and I arrived in Tel Aviv at sunset at the end of Shabbat. As is usual we arrived a day early to get some rest before we start the actual tour with Globus on Tuesday.

The city was founded in 1909 by the Yishuv (Jewish residents) as a modern housing estate on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa, then part of the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem within the Ottoman Empire. It was at first called 'Ahuzat Bayit' (lit. "House Estate" or "Homestead"),the name of the association which established the neighbourhood. Its name was changed the following year to 'Tel Aviv', after the biblical name Tel Abib adopted by Nahum Sokolow as the title for his Hebrew translation of Theodor Herzl's 1902 novel Altneuland ("Old New Land"). Other Jewish suburbs of Jaffa established before Tel Aviv eventually became part of Tel Aviv, the oldest among them being Neve Tzedek (est. 1886). Tel Aviv was given "township" status within the Jaffa Municipality in 1921, and became independent from Jaffa in 1934. After the 1947–1949 Palestine war Tel Aviv began the municipal annexation of parts of Jaffa, fully unified with Jaffa under the name "Tel Aviv" in April 1950, and was renamed to "Tel Aviv-Yafo" in August 1950.

After a good buffet breakfast we decided to head out for some sightseeing. I had scheduled a tour with a 'local host' for the afternoon, but it ended up being cancelled.

The first stop was the Clock Tower, Old Jaffa, then a walk to Nene Tzedek for lunch, and then to the Carmel Market which was closed for the most part because of the holiday of Simchat Torah.

The clock tower was built in 1901 in the center of Jaffa's town square. The clock tower in Jaffa is one of seven clock towers built in Israel and of the hundred clock towers built in the Ottoman Empire in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the reign of the Turkish sultan Abdul Hamid the Second.

Tonight we meet up with our tour guide and the rest of our group for a brief and then dinner.


Posted by rpickett 13:44 Archived in Israel Tagged tel aviv Comments (1)

In Search of Nessie Photo Album

The Great Glen

I have finished my photo album!

Click The Great Glen to view and enjoy!

Posted by rpickett 21:10 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

In search of Nessie

Gailochy to Banavie

semi-overcast 58 °F

After breakfast this morning we embarked on our final 90 minute cruise to Banavie near Ft. William. It was a beautiful morning which completed our entire cruise without a drop of rain! Highly unusual in Scotland. As we cruised along the clouds cleared and we were to see the summit of Ben Nevis. Once in Banavie, be boarded a van to get us to Inverness and took a taxi to the airport where we will spend the night before starting our journey home with a 7:00am flight to Heathrow on British Airways.

Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in Scotland, the United Kingdom and the British Isles. The summit is 4,413 feet (1,345 m) above sea level and is the highest land in any direction for 459 miles (739 kilometres). Ben Nevis stands at the western end of the Grampian Mountains in the Highland region of Lochaber, close to the town of Fort William. The mountain is a popular destination, attracting an estimated 130,000 ascents a year, around three-quarters of which use the Mountain Track from Glen Nevis. The 700-metre (2,300 ft) cliffs of the north face are among the highest in Scotland, providing classic scrambles and rock climbs of all difficulties for climbers and mountaineers. They are also the principal locations in Scotland for ice climbing The summit, which is the collapsed dome of an ancient volcano, features the ruins of an observatory which was continuously staffed between 1883 and 1904. The meteorological data collected during this period is still important for understanding Scottish mountain weather.

It has been suggested that Banavie is one of the possible birth places of Saint Patrick. One theory is that Patrick was the son of a Roman tax collector and born at Banavie around AD 389. His family had come with the Romans who had invaded the West Highlands and Islands. The 19th century work 'History of Celtic Placenames' by William J. Watson notes: "St Patrick was born at Banna-venta, an early town south of the Grampians." A similar placename, Bannavem Taburniae, is mentioned in one of the only two known authenticated letters by St Patrick.


Posted by rpickett 16:38 Archived in Scotland Tagged banavie Comments (0)

In search of Nessie

Bunarkaig Bay to Gairlochy

overcast 60 °F

This morning was all about more watersports and cycling in Bunarkaig Bay in Loch Lochy. Lots of sailing, paddleboarding, canoeing, and cycling. After lunch we weighed anchor and the barge headed towards Gairlochy, where we would spend the night. Three of us chose to walk the 3+ miles to the mooring spot where we met the barge. Dinner tonight was a typical Scottish dinner featuring a very good grilled haggis with some mashed root vegetables. (Only three of us out of 12 ate the haggis). After dinner we had a little celebration to thank the crew for an absolutely wonderful week.


Posted by rpickett 16:02 Archived in Scotland Tagged loch to lochy gairlochy Comments (0)

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