Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Day Two - The Way to Jerusalem

Liberty University's Israel Tour 2009 as Experienced by One Student
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
(Click here for today's photos.)

We have arrived! Baruchim habaim!
Welcome to Israel and Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport.
Upon deplaning, we find our luggage, meet some of our travel mates and then wait for our departure to our evening destination, Ramot Resort Hotel on the Golan side of the Sea of Galilee, Kinneret in the Old Testament and in modern Hebrew. We are met by representatives of the Israeli side of our tour and are guided to transfer buses. On our bus, we meet Tzvika Mizrahi, who introduces himself and tells us to not get used to the bus or guide, as we may be on another bus tomorrow. Yossi is our driver for the evening. As it turns out, Tzvika and Yossi will be my guide and driver for the rest of the trip. Once everybody is onboard and our luggage is stored, we are off for our two hours plus trip to Lake Galilee. Already we have begun to make new friends!

The remainder of our trip to Lake Galilee is fairly quiet as many are getting sleepy after the long night flight. We stop for a quick break along the way and are able to also grab some drinks and snacks at the rest stop. The chocolate waffle cookies I buy are a big hit with the bus as they make the rounds. Mental note to self: get more of these along the way. I have come prepared with nuts and dried fruit to snack on, but sometimes, especially on a day like today, it is good to find chocolate close by. Upon arrival at the hotel, we get off the bus, are very efficiently provided with our room keys and are asked to go to dinner right away as it is getting late. What a nice surprise - the dining room is filled with fragrant food, and we all load up our plates and eat hungrily. Mental note to self: chocolate carbs are only temporarily gratifying.

It is safe to assume that not too many of the weary travelers have a mind to think about the spiritual impact of where they are tonight due to everyone's extreme tiredness, but I do take a moment to step out on my balcony, look over Lake Galilee with the lights of Tiberias on the other shore, take a deep breath and say "Thank You, Lord, for safe transport here and for yet another chance to walk where You have walked". For the eighth time now, I am in the Holy Land - and it is a beautiful place to put my head on my pillow and drift off to sleep. How blessed I am to not have to say "Next year in Jerusalem", but experience "This year in Jerusalem"! How many Jewish hearts must have fervently longed for this experience through dark centuries of the diaspora and persecution.

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