Our day 4 continued with camel rides at Jericho, a cable car ride up to the top of the Mt. of Temptation, and then a float in the Dead Sea. Part 3 of Day 4 coming up: our arrival into Jerusalem and our entry into the old city.
The day started with sunrise over the Sea of Galilee as we made our way along the Jordan River to the Baptismal Site of Jesus Christ. From there we stopped in Jericho for some camel riding before we took the cable cars up to the Mount of Temptation where we toured the Greek Orthodox Monastery built into the cliffs of the mountain. Afterward we were treated to views of the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. The group then enjoyed a dip in the Dead Sea to experience the extreme buoyancy and rejuvenating properties of the Dead Sea minerals. From there we were not far from Jerusalem so we drove on in to the city to get settled at our hotel. After a much needed break we walked into the old city at Jaffa Gate and enjoyed pizza and wine at Jacob’s Pizza before heading to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. After that we walked through the dark walkways across the city to the Western Wall. Quite a day!
On day 5 of our journey we covered a lot of ground. We started our day at a baptismal site believed to be the closest to where Jesus was baptized. It’s a beautiful area with nothing else around it except for what’s across the river on the Jordanian side, you’ll see a couple of orthodox churches.
From there we went on to Jericho for some camel rides and a trip up to the Mount of Temptation on the cable cars. The views from the mount’s sheer cliff dropoff are breathtaking.
Next up was the Qumran caves, where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered.
Next we heard from a representative of a local water conservationist NGO (EcoPeace Middle East) who showed us how far water levels were dropping. She took us to a previous resort that is now closed and abandoned because it is no longer at the shoreline of the Dead Sea.
After that we visited Kalia Beach on the Dead Sea where we experienced the peculiar sensation of extreme buoyancy and the rejuvenating effects of the mineral-rich Dead Sea mud.
We packed up and then made our way to Jerusalem. We enjoyed wine and pizza in the old city at Pastor Chris’ favorite spot, Jacob’s Pizza. Then we were able to make it to the Holy Sepulcher before closing time. We entered the old city through the Jaffa Gate…
Afterward we saw the generations-old tradition of the locking of the doors of the Holy Sepulcher, something I personally had never witnessed in any of my five visits here.
We walked onward through the Muslim Quarter to the Western Wall in the Jewish Quarter. Pastor Chris was invited by some orthodox Jews to dance with them as they sang songs at the wall. Quite a night!