An opportunity to travel in these fascinating modern countries and to explore the drama of history. Featuring 4 nights in Jerusalem and 3 nights at Petra. Also see Tel Aviv, Acre, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, the Dead Sea, Masada, Bethlehem (Palestinian Territories), Jerash, Wadi Rum and more.
– All airfares & taxes (Flying Korean Air)
– Stopover in Seoul
– Accommodation in 4-star & 5-star hotels
– 17 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 13 dinners
– Visa for Jordan
– Touring by modern air-conditioned coach
– Group tipping
– Services of English-speaking Tour Directors
– Assistance of your Tour Leader, Mandy Page
– Land Only price on application
– Extending your stay – before or after Tour Date
– Deposit: $750 per person
– Group Size: 20 travellers (max)
After meeting up in Auckland and our short pre-tour briefing we board our Korean Air flight to Seoul. On arrival this evening we transfer to our hotel.
This morning we transfer back to the airport for our flight to Tel Aviv. On arrival we are met and travel to our hotel.
It would be a good start to the day if you refreshed your memory about the stories of David and Goliath as we travel into the ancient land of the Philistines and in the Valley of Elah. We are going to stop at the site of David’s victory over the Philistine champion, Goliath. If anyone wants to volunteer to be Goliath I am sure we could find a willing partner to be David.
Another famous pair is Samson and Delilah and we find the backdrop to their story as we proceed through the land of the Dan tribe to the wide Valley of Ayalon.
We have lunch at a local restaurant in Abu Gosh.
Then we travel back towards Tel Aviv and visit the ancient city of Jaffa to see the famous clock tower and the old harbour; and see the artists’ quarter with its galleries, boutiques and picturesque narrow lanes.
This morning we leave Tel Aviv and drive north along the coastal road to Caesarea, to explore the ancient Roman amphitheatre by the sea. This astounding place has stood here for 2,000 years and recent archaeology has uncovered carving referring to the era of Herod. The sheer size of the place tells us how large was the Roman occupation of this land and their influence over its inhabitants.
After our full of Roman stuff we will travel on to Acre. Acre has been fought over for centuries and captured in turn by Saracens and Crusaders, including Richard the Lionheart. What is amazing is the castle beneath the ground which we are going to see. Even Napoleon had a go at Acre and up in the battlements we will hear about the French and their fight to occupy Palestine.
We then travel to Haifa and check in to our hotel.
This morning we travel to Nazareth. This historic place has many things to see so we will take a walking tour of the old town. Christianity’s most sacred places are here: the Church of the Annunciation, on the site where the angel appeared to Mary, the Grotto of the Annunciation, which is believed by Catholics to be the remains of Mary’s childhood home, the Church of St Joseph’s Carpentry, believed to be the site of Joseph’s workshop and so forth.
Next we travel on to Cana, where Jesus changed water into wine at a wedding. We could try to repeat the feat but first we need some mediocre wine and a wedding.
Then we travel to Yardenit, a popular Christian pilgrimage destination on the River Jordan. This is a fascinating spot to observe the pilgrims in their rituals.
Finally we move on to Tiberias, a town sitting on the Sea of Galilee. Tiberias is considered one of Israel’s four holy cities and has had a chequered past. Let’s see what you think of the place.
After we check into our hotel and had a chance to freshen up we will enjoy dinner at our hotel.
(Shabbat starts mid afternoon Friday and continues to mid afternoon Saturday. It is traditional to say ’Shabbat Shalom’ when you greet people during this time. You may also notice that lots of things (like lifts) are set to automatic during this time, as it is against religious Jewish law for Jews to work on Shabbat).
One of the nicest ruins in Israel is Capernaum. This charming place is an ancient Synagogue on the shores of the Galilee. This is where Jesus entered the Synagogue and taught. Here’s hoping its quiet and dignified when we visit.
After Capernaum we will visit the Mount of Beatitudes, where the Sermon on the Mount was delivered. The mount does have a church but it also has a garden with beautiful vistas.
Then we go to Tabgha and the Church of Loaves and Fishes. Sometimes its not the walls and windows of a church which are its best feature but its floor.
Back to Tiberias and an afternoon row with Michael. Yes that’s right, we are off to see the ancient wooden boat that dates back to when Jesus was alive, and enjoy a cruise on the Sea of Galilee.
At the end of the day it’s a well deserved dinner at the hotel.
This morning we travel north to Safed. This unusual town is both home to artists and mystics. Safed is not a big place so we will be able to walk around and visit the Synagogue Quarter and the Artists Quarter. The walls and colours of the town are a delight and there is normally lots to catch the eye.
Today we are off to Mount Hermon. This snow-covered peak is Israel’s highest mountain (2,765m) and is visible from most of the Golan and north eastern Galilee. The mountain makes an interesting contrast to the coastal and desert areas of Israel and its an opportunity to sight distant Lebanon and Syria.
Now a day would not be complete in Israel without the opportunity to see something at least 2,000 years or older, so we are popping in to see the remains of the ancient city of Banias (Caesarea Philippi). It began as a pagan site – the Greeks were here too, then the Romans took over, Arabs followed, Crusaders joined the history markers, then decline and finally an Israeli National Park. Jesus was also here and is recorded as saying to Peter ‘…upon this rock I will build my church’ – a vital statement for the Catholic Church.
Following all of this we will take light relief by visiting Nimrod’s Castle. This huge ruined hillside fortress dates back to the 13th century.
Now I think its time for our happy group to get even merrier by making a visit to the Golan Heights Winery at Katzrin, the capital of Golan. This visit includes seeing the barrel cellar and a wine tasting.
We then return to our hotel in Tiberias and have dinner.
This morning we travel south and cross the border with Jordan (Sheikh Hussein crossing/northern border) and travel to Jerash.
Jerash reveals the most beautifully-preserved example of a Greco-Roman city still in existence. Enter through Hadrian’s Arch, to explore the grand ruins of the Temples of Artemis and Zeus, where we can listen to the Whispering Column. Overlook the vast Oval Plaza and Cardo Maximus, the key Roman road.
After our tour of Jerash we travel to Amman and check in to our hotel.
Whatever you have heard, seen or read about Petra is true, but just to make sure let’s have a look at it for ourselves.
Today we first travel to Wadi Rum. Wadi Rum is the largest wadi (ravine) in Jordan and made famous through the movie Lawrence of Arabia. We have lunch at Sun City Camp, and to enjoy the landscape at its best we are going to have a spectacular four-wheel drive through the sand dunes.
After this we continue to the “Rose-Red City” of Petra and have dinner at our hotel.
After breakfast, we visit Petra, with a guided tour of the lower part which passes through the one mile long Siq (gorge) with one hundred to two hundred metre high walls. We travel the narrow passage to visit the treasury, the most preserved facade in Petra and pass by numerous tombs on both sides.
Let’s take a look at the Roman amphitheatre which dates back to the second century, the only Roman theatre where the auditorium is carved into the rocks and not built. We also visit the Petra Byzantine Church with its mosaics floor.
Today we go back into Petra.
You can go with the Guide and climb the two hundred steps to the Royal tombs, visit the URN tomb, the Corinthian tomb and the Palace tomb. Or you can go with me (Mandy) and climb 900 steps to the Monastery, which gives spectacular views of the Wadi Arava.
Or you can have the day at leisure.
Today we follow the King’s Highway to visit Madaba and lunch at Haret Jdoudna Restaurant.
We will visit the famous Greek Orthodox Church of St. George with its amazing 6th century mosaic map depicting the entire Holy Land, stretching from Jordan and Palestine in the north, to Egypt in the south.
Then its time for promises as we ascend to Mt Nebo, one of the most revered holy sites of Jordan, where Moses stood and saw before him the Promised Land.
We travel on to our Dead Sea hotel and have dinner.
We have the first part of the morning at leisure.
Then we drive to the Sheikh Hussein Bridge border crossing with Israel and travel on to the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. This wadi is an area of water and life in the landscape of desert. We will take the David Stream trail for a stroll up the wadi and a swim in fresh water; there is even warm water for those who like it hot.
Children in Israel are brought up on the story of Masada and today we get to visit it. This historic place still has visual evidence of the Roman siege and Herod’s palace. We will take the cable-car ride up to the awe-inspiring fortress of Masada – where, around 70 AD, a brave band of Jewish zealots held out for three years against the Roman legions. At the very end they committed suicide rather than surrender, hence the expression ‘Masada will not fall again’, or in other words, we will fight to the end to keep our land.
We then travel to our Dead Sea hotel and have dinner.
This morning we can enjoy a dip in the therapeutic and mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea or just take it easy before we head up to Jerusalem. The first time I swam in the Dead Sea I dived in; a huge mistake. My eyes were sore but it took two days for my hair to dry with all the salt left in it. Never fear I will be on hand to show you how to get into the water and even tow you around to enjoy the buoyant feeling of the saline mix.
On the way north we will take a side road to Wadi Kelt (wilderness) overlooking St George’s Monastery. This is a wonderful place to grasp the extensive desert in this area.
In Jerusalem we have lunch at a local restaurant and then check into our hotel; the rest of the afternoon is at leisure. If you have the energy and enthusiasm I will take you for a walk into the Old City and we can take our first view of some of those famous places you would have heard about – and here you are!
There are spaces in Jerusalem which are very special and the Garden of Gethsemane with its ancient olive trees is not large but it does have a special ambience. Along from the garden is the Church of All Nations with a beautiful mosaic at its entrance.
Then its hold onto your hat as we take time to visit the most sacred site in Jerusalem, the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall. This mighty wall of stone is the legendary location of Solomon’s temple. The temple which once stood on temple mound contained many courts and the Holy of Holies. Men and women are separated at the wall but we will show you what to do to show proper respect. Remember you can pop a prayer between the cracks in the stones just as thousands before you have. As a special request from me, we will then walk inside the Western Wall tunnel.
This site allows us to walk next to the ancient stones, identify which are Solomon’s and feel the generations of peoples who have lived in Jerusalem and still live there today.
Its quite the day but its not over yet – now we walk along the Via Dolorosa and follow in Jesus’ footsteps past the Stations of the Cross. Along the way we will see Ecce Homo Arch (Behold the Man), the pool of Bethesda and finally finish at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This church is believed to be built on the site of the Crucifixion and is shared between a number of Christian denominations. Such a site needs to be experienced before we launch into history and drama.
To see an excellent view across the old city and the Dome of the Rock we will visit the rooftop of the Austrian Hospice. Then we walk into the Jewish Quarter of the city and exit through the Zion Gate.
Today we meet our local guide at the West Bank border and continue to the city of Bethlehem (Palestinian Territories). Here we visit the Church of the Nativity, one of the oldest continuously operating churches in the world. The structure is built over the cave that tradition marks as the birthplace of Christ, and it is considered sacred by followers of both Christianity and Islam. Next we visit the Shepherds Fields where the angels announced the birth of Jesus.
We then return to Jerusalem and go to the Garden Tomb. This tranquil place is an alternative location for Jesus’s tomb and is outside the Old City walls.
The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.
This morning we have a guided tour of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament buildings. We get to see the amazing Chagall art works decorating the main hall.
We also visit Yad-Vashem, the moving museum commemorating the Jewish people killed during the Holocaust. This modern museum tells its own story and we will take time to reflect on world events which helped shape modern Israel.
Then we continue on to the Shrine of the Book, where the Dead Sea Scrolls are kept.
This morning we visit the Grave of Oskar Schindler. This gentleman was made known to the larger world due to the movie ‘Schindler’s List’; he earned the honorific of Righteous Among the Nations, awarded by Israel to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.
We then visit the Jerusalem Archaeological Park & Davidson Centre. On the outskirts of the Old City this area is bringing to light long buried secrets of the ancients.
This afternoon is at leisure.
We have a late checkout to 6.00pm at our hotel.
We have an early dinner at our hotel and then transfer to Ben Gurion airport for our Korean Air flight to Seoul.
On arrival at Seoul airport this afternoon we transit through to our flight to Auckland.
Home to New Zealand with special memories of our time in inspiring Israel and Jordan.
Mandy is one well-travelled person, having visited all 7 continents!
She is interested in the arts and has an unquenchable fascination with ancient history and cultures. You’ll benefit from Mandy’s extensive travel experience, and especially enjoy her infectious laughter.
Fantastic, Mandy went out of her way every day to check up on everyone, was very inclusive and informative. An excellent leader, strong and direct.
Mandy an exceptional tour leader. A lovely caring personality. Always fun.
Mandy did a great job of meeting the needs of a disparate group. We enjoyed her roadside walks and ability to keep us amused with stories, jokes, crosswords, etc.