Holy Land Pilgrimage 2019
Dear friends and fellow pilgrims!
Wonderful news! The itinerary has been set for our 2019 pilgrimage to the Holy Land – February 23 through March 6 – and this year, it includes a trip to the amazing Petra, in Jordan!
Once again, we will be able to walk the steps of Jesus throughout Galilee, along the Jordan, and through Jerusalem itself, including the newly restored Edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Also, the long awaited restorations at the Church of the Nativity are nearing completion, and we will be visiting this important site.
Added to our itinerary for this pilgrimage is a voyage into Jordan. We will cross into Jordan at the Allenby Bridge, and view many significant sites en route. After a night at the Petra Palace, we will spend the morning and afternoon visiting Petra, one of the true wonders of the world. To top it off, we’ll conclude the day by travelling through the desert by jeep and camel, and we’ll spend an unforgettable night feasting and sleeping under desert stars at the Sun City Bedouin Tent Camp!
The following day brings us into the Negev, and to the Dead Sea, where we will float in the amazing waters of the lowest place on earth. Then, on to Jerusalem!
Our guide for our pilgrimage will be my good friend Aharon Yahav, with whom I have journeyed many times. Aharon is a superlative guide, and a lovable fellow! We will be in good and knowledgeable hands.
Thanks to our friends at International Heritage Tours, we have received an outstanding rate for this journey. Full details are in the application, but in short, from Charlottetown, the cost is $4161, including taxes and airport fees. Plus, there is a reduction of $280 per person once our tour reaches 21 participants (which it surely will!). This brings the cost down to $3881. If you are flying from Toronto, the cost is reduced an additional $110, to $3771. This is an unprecedented rate for a trip which includes Petra. Pilgrims from elsewhere in Canada can make additional flight arrangements on their own, or through International Heritage Tours.
One additional point: prospective pilgrims need to know there is a lot of walking involved, and often numerous stairs or uneven terrain. Participants need to be comfortable walking 6 km per day, climbing up to 6 flights of stairs (or equivalent steep paths) several times a day, and being on their feet for 6 hours of the day. Not all days are like this, but many are; this is particularly true with Petra in the mix. It is important that people know this, so they are not disappointed or overwhelmed when they get there and it is too late to turn back. We will not be able to significantly alter the itinerary (or the terrain!) for those for whom this would prove too strenuous.
That being said, I know it will be a superb trip, and you will be blessed. You will see many things that most visitors never get to see, and you will experience a deep spiritual richness that will be with you for the rest of your life!
Look over the itinerary below, and if you have questions, do not hesitate to drop me a line. I am certain that this will be a superb pilgrimage. I intend to limit numbers to the mid-20s, to allow our group to be mobile and efficient.
For the terms and conditions, and for an application, visit the Zion Presbyterian website (www.zionpres.org) and click on the “Holy Land 2019” tab.
I can be reached at email@example.com
Rev. Douglas Rollwage
Day 1 February 23 Saturday – DESTINATION ISRAEL
10am Meet in the departure hall at Charlottetown airport to check in for the Air Canada flight to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport departing at 12:25pm. Arrive in Toronto at 1:50pm. Depart on a direct, nonstop Air Canada overnight flight from Toronto to Tel Aviv at 4:55 pm, meals served on board.
Day 2 February 24 Sunday – WELCOME TO ISRAEL
10:15am Arrive at Ben Gurion International Airport, clear customs and immigration and meet your guide. Travel north and stop to visit Caesarea, the Roman capital and port. Here Pontius Pilate had his seat; Cornelius lived and was baptized (Acts 10); Paul embarked to Tarsus (Acts 9:30) and Philip preached (Acts 8:40). Tour the historical site and enjoy an audio visual presentation showing the history of how Caesarea was built and operated as a port city. Continue North, time permitting stop on the Muhraka, the summit of Mt Carmel, where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal and across the Jezreel Valley en route to your hotel on the Sea of Galilee. 3 nights: Ein Gev ~ Sea of Galilee [Dinner]
Day 3 February 25 Monday – GALILEE
Start the day sailing on the Sea of Galilee, with time for meditation and prayer. Stop to visit the famous ancient fishing vessel from the time of Jesus and learn about its discovery. Visit sites central to Jesus’ Ministry – starting at the Mt. of Beatitudes where Jesus delivered the sermon on the mount (Matt.5). Continue to Chorazim, one of the three villages Jesus prophesied over for not accepting his teaching. Drive down to the Church of the Primacy of Peter and the church of the “feeding of the multitude” in Tabgha. Continue to Kfar Nahum, Capernaum, centre of Jesus’ Ministry in the Galilee and the site of many of his miracles (Mark 2:4; Matt.8:5-7 & 14-15). See the remains of St Peter’s house and the ancient synagogue where Jesus taught and worshipped (Mark 1:21; Luke 4:31). Proceed to Mt. Arbel for a great view of the area of Jesus’ ministry in the Galilee. [Breakfast/dinner]
Day 4 February 26 Tuesday – GALILEE
Proceed to Nazareth, the boyhood town of Jesus to visit Nazareth Village and relive village life from the time of Jesus. View the Church of the Annunciation then drive north along the foot of the Golan Heights to visit Banias, one of the sources of the Jordan River, site of ancient “Caesarea Philippi” where Peter made his confession of faith in Christ (Matt. 16:16). Drive via the Golan heights and across the Jordan Valley to Hazor “the head of all kingdoms” to visit the site famous for Joshua’s (11:1) conquest with an impressive Solomonic gate. Time permitting, and for those up to it, take a walk to visit Hippos, one of the cities of the Decapolis. [Breakfast/dinner]
Day 5 February 27 Wednesday – JORDAN
Travel south along the Jordan Valley to the Allenby Bridge and cross into Jordan. The route will take you through the mountains of Moab of Ruth and Naomi fame (Ruth1: 16&17). Stop at Madaba to study the unique ancient mosaic map of the world from the Byzantine era. Then proceed along the Kings way to visit the desert fortress at Mukawir (Machaerus) where Herod Antipas held then killed John the Baptist. Continue south along the Kings way – time permitting stop at Little Petra en route to Petra. 1 night: Guest House or Petra Palace ~ Petra [Breakfast & dinner]
Day 6 February 28 Thursday – PETRA ONE OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD
Start the day walking and riding into Petra “The Red Rock“, centre of the ancient Nabatean people and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. See the stunning charm of the Necropolis and the many magnificent sandstone edifices. Midafternoon leave Petra travelling south on the Kings Way via Ras El Naqeb to Wadi Rum of Lawrence of Arabia fame. Explore this fascinating unique sand and sand stone desert travelling by jeep through the heart of this magnificent stark terrain. Then take a camel convoy to your Bedouin tent camp where you will enjoy a sumptuous Bedouin feast. 1 night: Sun City Tent Camp – Wadi Rum (Breakfast & dinner)
Day 7 March 1 Friday – THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD
Get an early start and cross into Israel (8am) at the Arava border crossing. Travel through the Arava wilderness to Timna to visit Solomon’s Pillars and the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. Continue north to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth (417 meter below sea level) stop to visit Masada – unique remains of King Herod’s striking mountaintop fortress later the last stronghold of the Jewish revolt against the Romans in 73 C.E. (Ascend and descend by cable car). 1 night: David hotel & Spa ~ Dead Sea [Breakfast & dinner]
Day 8 March 2 Saturday – THE JUDEAN WILDERNESS AND BETHLEHEM
Spend part of the morning at the spa and enjoy a unique experience of “floating” in the Dead Sea – you cannot sink! Visit Qasr El Yahud where John baptised Jesus. Continue through the Judean wilderness and enter Jerusalem as Jesus did via Mt. Scopus; stop to recite a Psalm of ascent with your first view of the Holy City and the Temple Mt. Travel through Jerusalem to Herodion a remarkable desert fortress, purportedly the site of King Herod’s tomb to see some of the latest archaeological discoveries at the remote desert fortress. Continue to Bethlehem and visit the Church of the Nativity, birthplace of Jesus. Due to Sabbath some rooms might only be available after dinner. 4 nights: Prima Kings hotel ~ Jerusalem [Breakfast & dinner]
Day 9 March 3 Sunday – JERUSALEM OLD & NEW
View the site of the Holy Temple from the Mt of Olives, then follow in the footsteps of Jesus and the Galileans, walking down the Mt. via Dominus Flevit to visit Gethsemane – the Church of All Nations. Enter the Old City and stop at the Pools of Bethesda where Jesus healed the paralytic man. Continue through the Suk (market) along the Stations of the Cross and stop at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, then enjoy the ancient alleyways of the Old City to the Zion Gate. Visit the Church of the Last Supper and St Peter in Gallicantu, the site of Peter’s denial of the Lord Jesus. End the day at the Haas Promenade for a stellar view of the old and new cities. [Breakfast & dinner]
Day 10 March 4 Monday – WINDOWS INTO THE BIBLICAL PAST
Pay respect to the victims of the Holocaust at Yad Vashem, National Memorial and Museum of the Holocaust. Visit the Model of Jerusalem, learn about the city from the time of Jesus and visit the Shrine of the Book home of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Stop at the Western Wall (Kotel), a religious section of the last remnant of the Temple mount, then walk back in time under the city through Western Wall Tunnels (Excavations). Explore King David’s City including an audio visual presentation, Warren’s shaft, the Canaanite tunnel and the pool of Siloam. Continue to the Jerusalem Archaeological Park (Southern Wall Excavations) including the very same ancient steps that Jesus and the Galilean pilgrims used to enter and exit the Holy Temple. [Breakfast & dinner]
Day 11 March 5 Tuesday – JERUSALEM
Spend the day at leisure in this fascinating city, with time to re-visit the Old City to shop in the bazaars or walk through the new city for shopping along Jaffa Road and Ben Yehuda Street. Visit one of the many Museums that Jerusalem has to offer (modest entrance fee required), or simply relax at the hotel. Enjoy a farewell dinner in the hotel. [Breakfast & dinner]
Day 12 March 6 Wednesday – RETURN TO CANADA
Leave Tel Aviv for Toronto at 11:55am on your Air Canada nonstop direct flight, meals served on board. Arrive in Toronto at 4:55pm. Continue from Toronto to Charlottetown at 8:55pm arriving at 11:35pm.
HOTELS AS LISTED OR SIMILAR – THE ITINERARY IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE & MAY VARY IN THE ORDER YOU VISIT