Tour of Israel | My Visit To The Red Sea, Sea of Galiliee, Dead Sea, And The Mediterranean Sea
On The Shore of the Mediterranean Sea
We arrived at the first of the many hotels booked for this trip. We had driven straight from our port of entry, Ben Gurion Airport, Tel Aviv, Israel. It was the early morning of the 16th of December 2012, the day of our 17th anniversary. I could smell the ocean, and heard it beckoned. So we set our luggage down and made our way to the hotel lobby. Minutes after, we were walking down the streets to the shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
Our hotel, was one of the hotels located yards from the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, and there I was, standing on the shore, feet in the waters of the sea, it was spectacular! Little did I know that I will get to experience the same with all the other seas I've read about. The Dead Sea, The Red Sea, and the Sea of Galilee.
Here's a video of the sea and the surrounding city. This was taken from the balcony of Herod's Hotel where we lodged.
Cruising On The Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee was one of the many places we would visit on our tour of Israel. But nothing could prepare me for how I felt taking a wooden boat ride on that sea as we tried to follow in the footsteps of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
During the boat ride, our guides pointed out some off-shore landmarks that we were scheduled to visit. From the boat, we could see the place of the miracles of the bread and fish, and the Mount of Transfiguration. The portion of bible where Jesus walked on water was read as we moved further off-shore. Then one of the boat guides showed us how it was to fish on the boat back in Jesus' days.
Unlike the tumultuous ride experienced by Jesus' disciples on the Sea of Galilee over two thousand years ago, this boat ride was very smooth. It was so surreal to say the least. After the boat ride, we had lunch and were off to our next tour of Israel historical landmark destination of the day.
Few Other Unforgettable Trips and Adventures
- Amelia Island Plantation Resort - Florida's Best Kept Secret.
We found the trip to Amelia's Plantation Island Resort, in Florida to be a great, inexpensive vacation package, with a great number of different activities for the entire family. You'll want to go back to the island, again and again.
- My Visit To Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands Turtle Farm | Plus, Images of the Turtle Farm And Other Lan
Grand Cayman Islands! There's so much to see; the beautiful beaches, the expensive hotels that cost half a million a night, the stingrays, but best of all, the turtles on the popular Turtle Farms. Enjoy these images of the beautiful island scenery.
Visiting Quram Near The Dead Sea
On our way to Quram, the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, we could see the Dead Sea to the left of the highway we travelled on. There were patches of lands (islands) separating the body of water in several places, an indication of a receding sea level. Israel has in fact been experiencing a shortage in their water supply due to draught, this has somehow affected the flow of water into the sea.
The Dead Sea is one of the wonders of the world, and one of the most craved after destination of every tourists to Israel. This body of water has the highest concentration of salt in the world. Due to its salinity, no animals or fish can survive in it except for some micro-organisms. The salt contents also gives the Dead Sea its high density which makes it impossible to sink in it. Try diving, and you'll bounce back up, floating on the sea.
Floating On The Dead Sea
I've heard it said that one can float on the Dead Sea due to the salt content of the sea and it's density. But, to actually experience it on my own was priceless! The weird thing about this whole swimming thing is the fact that I can't swim, neither can my husband. We were told that you really didn't need to know how to swim to be in the Dead Sea. Regardless, I was determined to at least get in the water.
And there I was, attempting to float in the Dead Sea (see image at right). It wasn't easy to sit on those waves, which on this day was a little too much for a non-swimmer like me. Anyway, I tried. Never thought I'll get to see it for myself, but my fear got the best of me, I panicked and fell face flat in the salty stingy water of the Dead Sea. Hooray for me!
With burning eyes and skin, I felt my way to the open shower on the beach and attempted to wash off the salty water that quickly turned to grains of salt deposits on my face and hair. Needless to say, my permed hair was damaged by this experience. But thereafter, I had the time of my life getting those muddy dead sea minerals all over my skin. Too bad I had to wash them off to get back on the tour bus.
My husband, who I thought couldn't do it, was able to experience what's it's like to literally go in and float on the dead sea. It was an exciting moment for me to see him on those wave, trying to keep his balance, and he actually succeeded!
Annointing Oil From Israel
The Wonders of The Negev Desert
My visit to the red sea was during the last leg of our tour in Israel. We've had a wonderful time of walking through the old and new city of Jerusalem, climbing mountains, riding camels, exploring caves and ancient cities' excavations. But, there was one more place on our itinerary that almost got cancelled due to an area event. It was to travel through the Negev desert to Eilat.
A brief stop at Timna, in the Negev desert afforded us the opportunity to see Solomon's Pillars. Here, we marvelled at the huge, multi-colored rock formations that has made this area of Israel a great tourist destination. It was trully a sight to behold.
Eilat, Israel is a beautiful city that our tour guide rightly referred to as the "Las Vegas of Israel" with all the lights and beautiful hotels and highlights, but without all the gambling. After travelling through the dusty Negev desert, the last thing I was expecting was to end up in a city of luscious beautiful landscape that sits right on the edge of the Red Sea.
Eilat is located in the southernmost part of Israel wedged between the mountains that borders Egypt, Jordan, and is within sight of Saudi Arabia. The temperature here is usually about 104 °F in summer, and somewhere around 70 °F in winters. Making this city a perfect vacation and tourist spot.
Our main visit to Eilat was to have a free day of relaxation. After days of walking through desert sites, exploring ancient excavation sites, riding camels, and climbing mountains, a day in Eilat was a much needed stop on our tour of Israel.
Photos of Eilat's Beautiful LandmarksClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Underwater Observatory On The Red Sea
The day after we got to Eilat, we visited the Underwater Observatory with the rest of our tour group. This Underwater Observatory is built into a coral reef, and is one of the largest seaquariums in the world. Through a glass type observatory built into the sea-bed, we were able to interact with the most beautiful and colorful sea creatures I've ever seen.
There's no doubt that visiting the Underwater Observatory was one of the highlights of our tour of Israel. Another was when I found out that the body of water I was filming, from the window of the Prima Music Hotel where we lodged, was actually The Red Sea. Yes, the Red Sea of the "Moses divided the Red Sea bible story! That, for me, was the icing on the cake.
I have always wanted to see the Red Sea. So, you can imagine my excitement. As soon as we settled into our hotel room, I was out there, knee-deep in the sea, exploring the sea bed for sea shells to bring home as souvenirs. And, by the way, the sea, it wasn't red at all. It was crystal clear. I really didn't think it'll be red, silly!
Must-See Places for Anyone Planning A Trip To Israel
Place To See In Israel
You'll see the excavations of the ruins of this ancient city. Visit the remains of an ancient Roman theatre and aqueduct.
See the remains of the 2nd century synagogue. Visit the site of the 'Miracles of Fish and Loaves', and the Church of Multiplication in Tabgha.
Church of Annunciation, Mary's Well, and the baptismal site on the Jordan River.
Jerusalem - Old City
Go to the Mount of Olive for a panaromic view of the city. Visit the Room of the Last Supper on Mount Zion. Some of the original mosaic floorings are still in the room.
Jerusalem - New City
Church of Visitation, the Holocaust Memorial, The Israel Musuem, to see the Dead Sea Scrolls and the miniature model of Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period.
Church of Nativity. You'll be crossing the border from Israel to Bethlehem, which is more like going through an airport search. And you might be handed over to a different tour guide on the Bethlehem's side of the border. Seriously!
How Safe Was Israel?
I hope you've enjoyed taking this trip with me. It was a memorable trip indeed. Since this was our first trip ever to Israel, we did not take the kids along. Part of that is not knowing what to expect, especially with all that's been going on in the region with Syria and Hasb e haal. But, contrary to what we thought, and have heard, the danger in Israel is actually almost non-existent.
Not once did we and other group members feel endangered. The streets were busy with tourists, natives, and school children going or coming from school. Life in Israel for the most part, was business as usual. There'll be more trips to Israel, God willing, and this time we'll be going with the kids, and maybe, some friends.
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Author: Comfort Babatola - ©March 2013
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