After two weeks abroad, a layover in Madrid, and another adventure in London, I made it back home safe and sound, and with some extra stamps and stickers in my passport.
The last few days in the Galilee were amazing. My group visited Nazareth and Cana, two very important sites in the life of Jesus. We stopped by the churches there, which commemorate the Annunciation and the Wedding at Cana. Luckily, we visited on January 6, which is when the Eastern Churches celebrate Christmas and the Western Church celebrates epiphany, so there were some services going on with great music echoing throughout the large stone structures.
We also visited the Golan Heightta, exploring beautiful hills, waterfalls, and some more ancient ruins. We saw the only (and oldest) mud-brick gate in the world that is still preserved, marking the wall of an ancient city of Northern Israel. We also stopped by the Temple of Pan in Cesaria-Philippie, where the Romans held ceremonies for the god Pan who brought humans out of the wilderness into civilization, and where interestingly, Christ revealed himself to his disciples as the Messiah.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the trip for me was when my uncles picked me up outside of Nazareth and we headed to the city of Akko on the coast. Interesting in its own right, Akko holds a special place in my heart because my father was born and raised there. So, my uncles and I went down to the old city, exploring the narrow streets and fish markets. To top it off, we found the home my dad grew up in and the family happily invited us inside for coffee!
Then, my uncles took me to Rame, where more of my family lives. They cooked me a feast, with rice, chicken, olives, leban (yogurt), pita, salads, and more. After dinner, one uncle told me I had more family nearby in Pki’in, so we headed up the mountain to visit them. They were so excited to see new, hugging and kissing me and offering us plenty of food and drink. What a family I have, and what an exciting chance to see them all at once!
I fully intended this last picture to be the end of this series of posts, but after a delayed flight from Tel-Aviv, I got stuck in London for 24 hours waiting for the next flight to Dallas. The airlines put me and about 10 others up in a nearby hotel, and with some time to kill, a few of us headed downtown to th city! I gave them a quick tour of the main sights since I had been to London about 18 months ago, and we had a great time seeing the bustling city at night. I didn’t think I would be back so soon but I’m glad I made the most of it and got to see some more stuff on this never-ending trip!
Anyway, I made it home safe and sound, with some great memories and experiences all over. Somehow I got to see the Holy Land and Madrid and London, not to mention long-lost family and tons of great places in Jerusalem and the Galilee. The trip was absolutely wonderful and I would do it all again. I’m very thankful for the opportunity to have yet another adventure, and it couldn’t have been better. Thanks for reading and I hope you all enjoyed the stories as much as I did! Until my next time, Akko!