Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Our Holy Land Itinerary

We left Columbus on March 4. Because we were such a large group (I think it was over 170), and our cruise dates were changed within a month of leaving, the travel arrangements were. . . creative. Some members of our tour didn't get their details until the day before. That was the Columbus to Cleveland (by bus) to Detroit (flight) to Amsterdam to Athens group. Others flew via Chicago; our group of about 40 flew to LaGuardia then took a van to JFK for a flight to Athens. But we all arrived on board sometime on the 5th on MV Cristal. There were a number of different Christian groups on board. Ours was organized by Gold Rush Getaways. I know there was a United Methodist group and a Roman Catholic group, and another group that appeared to be ethnic Chinese or perhaps southeast Asian.

Friday March 6: Athens, Greece: Acropolis--Propylaca, The Parthenon, Eretheum; Mars Hill; Olympic Stadium. See Acts 17:15-34.
Corinth: Archeological Museum; market place; temples. See Acts 18:1-18

Saturday March 7: Kusadasi, Turkey: Ephesus (Marble City); Agora; Library of Celsus; Great Theatre

Sunday March 8: Antalya, Turkey: Aspendos Theatre (where we had a live performance by a Greek actor playing Paul--outstanding acoustics); Perga. See Acts 14:25

Monday March 9: Iskenderun, Turkey with reboarding at Mersin, Turkey: Antioch. See Acts 11:19-26, Acts 13-18; Tarsus (birthplace of Paul) Acts 22:3.

Tuesday Marcy 10: Haifa, Israel: Sea of Galilee, Mount of Beatitudes See Luke 6:12-49. Tabgha, Church of the Fish and Loaves See Luke 9:10-17; Chapel of the Primacy See John 21; Capernaum See Matthew 4:13; River Jordan. Many Christians choose to be rebaptized here, but since neither Lutherans nor Greek Orthodox rebaptize, many chose to rededicate their lives with water symbolism.

Wednesday March 11: Ashdod, Israel: Bethlehem, Jesus birth cave, Shepherd's Field, See Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-7. This area is under Palestinian control, so we left our Israeli guide and continued with a Palestinian Christian who was really wonderful. Jerusalem: Upper Room--Last Supper; this was on this list, but the line was too long so our goup had to turn back; House of Caiaphas (Trial before Sanhedrin); Western Wall (Herodian Temple)

Thursday March 12: Ashdod, Israel: Jerusalem--Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Old City--Pool of Bethesda, Garden Tomb

Friday March 13: Port Said, Egypt: Cairo: Pyramids of Giza, Egyptian Museum

Saturday March 14: Cairo, free day (the LaGuardia group were the only ones who couldn't get a flight back on the 14th, so we had an extra day in a luxury hotel).

Sunday March 15: Back to Columbus--Cairo to Athens to LaGuardia to JFK to Columbus; a total of about 31 hours because of 4 and 5 hour layovers in airports, however, every flight was within minutes of the schedule.

Our pastor brought along some evening hymns and we would gather after dinner for singing and he played the piano. Christian entertainment was provided, but I'm not sure if it was our tour agency or the cruise line that provided that--they were outstanding.

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