Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Biblical Biking Tour in Israel - 8 Days

Day 1: Arrival at Tel Aviv
Arrival at the Ben Gurion International Airport and transfer to your hotel in or by Tel Aviv.

Day 2: Biking along the Mediterranean Sea – Tel Aviv – Old Jaffa – Caesarea - Haifa
Meet your professional biking staff that will escort you during the tour. They will brief you about your bike and the Art of Biking, adjust your bike and give you general and safety instructions. Now we start our first biking-session, riding along the Mediterranean Sea and stopping from time to time for explanations about Tel Aviv, the "First Hebrew City" and Israel's commercial and cultural center. Our first Bike-session ends in the Old City of Jaffa, one of the ancient gateways to the Holy Land: Through its port the Cedar trees for Salomon's Temple were brought, the prophet Jonas tried to flee God, but most important: It was in Jaffa where Christianity began to be spread among the nations. Here St. Peter lived in the house of Simon the Tanner and had the "Vision of the Flesh", and here he made his first miracle by healing the little girl. Old Jaffa's romantic alley-ways give inspiration to many artists, who have their galleries there. We continue by bus along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Caesarea Maritima, the magnificent port-city built by King Herod the Great. From here St. Peter went to Rome and started with his first miracles. In Caesarea's well-preserved theater an inscription of the procurator Pontius Pilate was found. We end the day at the modern port-city Haifa, situated on the slopes of the evergreen Mt. Carmel, glorified by the prophet Josiah. The view from this mountain is famous for its beauty. Overnight in or near Haifa.

Day 3: Biking on Mt. Carmel – Muchraka – Zippori (Sapphoris) – Kefar Kedem Biblical Village
We bike on the "Carmel Scenic Road" that lead to the Muchraka-Monastery, situated on the place where Elijah proved the primacy of the Allmighty over the Baal Prophets. The roof of the monastery offers a wide view over Galilee that enables us to better understand biblical events such as the Prophecy of Deborah and the traditions about Jesus' Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. Our bus takes us to the Zippori National Park where we will have the opportunity to learn about the development of the "Oral Torah" (the "Talmud") and its coexistence with the profane life in Roman times. Zippori (Sapphoris) is also famous for its well-preserved mosaics. In Kefar-Kedem we will have a more practical experience of daily life in Biblical Times. Overnight  in Kibbutz Farod.

Day 4: Sea of Galilee
We start the day with a tour of the Kibbutz, including Saba (Grandpa') Habib's press, where we can experience the traditional Galilean way of producing Olive and Sesame Oil (Tahina). Now we drive down to the Jordan River, where we mount the bikes and ride along this wild part of the Jordan River and then up to the Galilean Mountains. We bike near the ancient city Korazim (one of the three cities cursed by Jesus) and to the "Mt. of Beatitudes" where we can enjoy the special church built by the Italian architect Berluzzi, as well as the wide view over the Sea of Galilee. Continue down to Tabgha, where we visit the reconstructed Byzantine Church, commemorating the miracle of the Multiplication of the Bread & the Fish and ride along the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, where we visit Peter's House and the famous Synagogue. Sail on the Sea of Galilee on a Boat similar to the boat used by Jesus and his disciples. We end this day with a short visit of Beth Shean, an ancient Biblical City, later known as Scythopolis. Beth Shean is known today as a well-preserved Roman City. Overnight  in a Kibbutz

Day 5: Biking on Mt. Gilboa – Jordan Valley – Biking to Qumran
Early in the morning we start a scenic ride with our bicycles on the top of Mt. Gilboa, the mountain that witnessed King Saul's Last Battle against the Philistines and the daring operation of Gideon against the Midianites. It will be a short ride on a well-paved road with this Biblical view down to the Jezreel Valley… Now we board the bus and drive along the Jordan Valley and on to Kibbutz Almog, where we step off the bus. We cross on foot the dry river-bed of Nachal 'Og (Wadi Mukaliq). The bikes will await us at the other side of the "Wadi", and we start riding along the cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea, past the caves where the first "Dead Sea Scrolls" were discovered, and visit Qumran, the dwelling-place of the "Dead Sea Sect" who wrote the scrolls that give us the precious insight into the origins of the Bible, Judaism and Christianity as we know them today. Overnight  in a Kibbutz (Country Lodging) in the area.

Day 6: Biking in Sodom – The Dead Sea – Jerusalem: Mt. of Olives – Garden of Gethsemane
After breakfast we drive along the shores of the Dead Sea to Sodom (oh, yea… THAT Sodom!!). The top of Mt. Sodom is a perfect place to enjoy the view and see how the unique geography of the area fits perfectly with the biblical description of the dramatic events in Sodom & Gomorrah. Then we will ride on one of the most extraordinary biking-trails in the world, in a bizarre landscape of white canyons with mystical shapes where till this very day you can literally feel the curse of Sodom… We will not miss, of course, some floating (swimming is impossible!!) on the waters of the Dead Sea, known for their healing qualities!    After we changed to more adequate clothing, we board our bus again. Now we ascend to the Holy City – Jerusalem!! From the Mount of Olives we have a panoramic view of Jerusalem's Old City – a suitable place to explain the city's rich history. We will be greeted Biblically, with Bread & Wine, just like the King of Jerusalem greeted Abraham! A leisurely walk takes us down, through the holy Jewish cemetery, to the "Garden of Gethsemane" with its "Church of all Nations" and ancient Olive trees, almost 2000 years old! Will stay the night in or near Jerusalem.

Day 7: Jerusalem
Today's first part is dedicated to the Old City of Jerusalem: We start by the "Wailing Wall", the last remnants of the holy Jewish Temple, and, conditions permitting, visit the Temple Mount itself, where we can see the Muslim Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque. Then we walk through the colorful "Suq" (Bazaar) and follow the different stations of the "Via Dolorosa", the "Way of the Cross" according to Christian tradition. The Way of the Cross ends at the "Church of the Holy Sepulcher", built traditionally on the site where Jesus was crucified and buried. At the Jaffa Port our bus awaits us and takes us to our Closing Ride. The bikes await us by Ein Lamun, a typical Judean Spring that looks pretty much like many of its kind described in the Bible. Ride along the Valley of Kessalon to Eshta'ol, in the area where Samson fell in love with Delilah… This area, the ancient border between Israel and the Philistines has witnessed quite a lot of confrontations between the two peoples. The top of Tel Azeka, overlooking the "Valley of the Therabynth", where the dramatic battle between David & Goliath took place, is also the place where we will do our Farewell-Ceremony, where you will be given your Pilgrims Certificates. O/N in or near Jerusalem.

Day 8: Departure
Transfer to the airport for your returning flight.