Today we landed in the holy land! After quite a day of travel yesterday – a 4 hour delay in Toronto and a long overnight flight, plus 6 hours of time zone difference – we have arrived. So now I am writing from the Grand Beach Hotel on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea in Israel’s second largest city, Tel Aviv. We just finished our first of many buffet meals to come and it was lovely. Certainly a different style of menu but delicious and I’m fairly certain a lot more healthy than our typical North American buffet!
We arrived at the airport around 2:30 local time and met our guide and driver, who will be with us for the rest of our time here. Her name is Rachel and our driver is Eli (a nickname for Elijah). We all enjoyed stepping into sunshine filled skies at 23 degrees Celsius and saying good bye to our coats! It is spring over here which means the country is in full bloom before the dry summer season sets in. Speaking of full bloom, our only tour event of the day was to visit Neot Kedumim which is a 600 acre parcel of land dedicated to recreating the fruitful land of the Bible. It was incredible to see all the plants and trees mentioned in the Bible such as hyssop, fig, olive, vine, mustard seed, lily of the valley etc… We were also taught concerning the history of growing the plants in such a difficult environment including the value of water. We take fresh water for granted, but in Israel they typically only get 30 days a year of rain, so they have come up with many creative ways to capture and store it. It was incredible to see how Biblical passages come to life, like Jesus’ call to the thirsty to come and drink, when you see the land in which they are set.
Our time here has been great so far but we are feeling the affects of the long travel and are heading to bed early tonight to be fresh in the morning. Below are a few pictures of our adventures on day 1. Tara and I are under a Jewish wedding canopy in case you are wondering 🙂 – keep praying, checking in and feel free to comment as well.