Mystical Israel & Timeless Jordan
November 7th - 21st, 2023 (Female Share Needed!)
This journey combines the best on & off the path experiences throughout the mystical land of Israel, filled with so much history & iconic religious artifacts, and Jordan, the epicenter of thriving middle east life, home to remarkable deserts loved by Hollywood, & Petra, a wonder of the world that must be experienced at least once in your life! Check out the highlights and details below!
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Part 1: Israel (8 Nights/9 Days)
"Few places on earth stir up passion the way that Israel does: the breathtaking beauty of its hills and valleys, the eerie stillness of the Dead Sea, the multi-colored canyon of Makhtesh Ramon, and the ancient walls and pathways of Nazareth and Jerusalem. The call of the muezzin and the quiet prayers of Orthodox Jews at the Western Wall reflect how the religious devotion of the Muslims, Christians and Jews who live here runs through every facet of life." - Lonely Planet
The first part of our journey is spent exploring many corners of this beautiful country. Astounding landscapes, amazing people, surreal history (not just religious!), and diverse varieties of local cuisine make for the trip of a lifetime, and this is only part 1!
Tel Aviv (2 Nights)
"Tel Aviv, Israel's ever-growing metropolis, would be unrecognizable to its founders, a small group of Jewish immigrant families in what was then Ottoman-ruled Palestine. A skyline of shimmering skyscrapers has replaced the towering sand dunes of just over a century ago." "Meaning 'Hill of Spring' in Hebrew, (Tel Aviv) has an air of perpetual renewal: flowers bloom, new restaurants open and there's always a party somewhere." - Fodor's & Lonely Planet Respectively
Privately guided orientation tour of the city; Highlights:
* Tasting Experience at the Carmel Market: Sample local delicacies at the most famous street market in town, while taking in all the sights, sounds and colors of this lively souk.
* Jaffa: The colorful, ancient port city which gave birth ti Tel Aviv has photo ops around every corner and an interesting flea market to explore.
- Jaffa Flea Market: Wander and photograph the oddities & wares for sale at this eccentric flea market. Judaica, Persian rugs, antiques, jewelry, and old coins are just a few of the diverse and unusal array of treasures to be found here. Did we mention some great photo ops?
Kibbutz, Nazareth, "The Heights", & The Artist Mecca (2 Nights)
These gems of northern Israel offer a variety of incredible experiences. From the fascinating Kibbutz Museum & way of life in Ein Shemer, the town where Jesus grew up, the winding alleys of the artist colony in Tzfat, and the breathtaking vistas & landscapes of the Golan Heights, our eyes and cameras will blink and shutter with joy!
* Kibbutz Living: Learn about this unique way of communal living at the Ein Shemer Kibbutz museum. This active community north of Tel Aviv has evolved over the decades and the people of Ein Shemer are eager to grab us by the hand to share their current and former lifestyle. A tractor ride around the community completes the fascinating experience.
* Nazareth: Known as the "Arab Capital of Israel" and a world-famous claim to where Jesus grew up, we can't come to this country without a stop here! But our guided walk will be a surprise to many; modern-day Nazareth is a mini-metropolis buzzing with shops, restaurants, and businesses. We'll go to the Church of the Annunciation to learn about the Nazareth that Jesus knew when it was just a small, Roman-ruled village.
Winery Visit: In the heart of Upper Galilee, with a view of intoxicating vineyards, taste the "fruits" of Israel at a beautiful winery among the hills of the north.
* Tsfat, The Artist Colony: The Upper Galilee is home to this incredible district in the ancient city of Safed we'll call home for the next couple of nights. The location's magical charm, mysterious aura, winding alleys, and breathtaking mountain scenery always drew the nation's best artists to live and work here. We'll explore the streets lined with collective and private art galleries & workshops, featuring oil and watercolor paintings, silverwork, jewelry, glasswork, weaving, and all manner of artistic Judaica.
Experience Shabbat like a local: Enjoy a very special dinner during the weekly Jewish tradition of Shabbat. This window into the Israeli lifestyle “from the inside" begins as the day of rest kicks off with a series of courses, songs, prayers, and camaraderie. Our local host family graciously invites us into their home to share their stories and sacred Sabbath; a truly unique and memorable experience.
Referred to by Israelis as "The Golan", this controversial region claimed by both Syria & Israel has a rich, albeit sad history only to be overshadowed by its sheer beauty, natural resources, & and lush, green valleys carpeted with wildflowers in spring.
Agamon Hahula Reserve, Wildlife Paradise: A haven for birds and other beautiful creatures, this reserve is located along one of the most important bird migration routes in the world. Hundreds of thousands of migrating birds and more than 200 species of waterfowl make their homes on the journey to/from Europe & Africa. We explore the beautiful setting and its inhabitants via safari wagon for optimal photos with unique vantage points.
The Sea of Galilee & the Warm Springs of Gan Hashlosha National Park
* Capernaum Fishing Village: This quaint village on the shores of the Sea of Galilee became Jesus' hub of ministry and earned the name "Jesus' own city" in the Bible. It's here where he met five of his future disciples (James, John, Peter, Andrew the fishermen, and Matthew the tax collector) & performed many of his miracles. Enjoy a serene boat ride to relax and take in the surroundings of these holy lands and mystical waters.
Mount of Beatitudes: Capernaum also marks the starting point for our ascent up the Mount of Beatitudes, where Jesus is believed to have delivered the Sermon on the Mount.
* Gan Hashlosha National Park: Without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in Israel, some say it's the actual location of the Garden of Eden. Once we visit, perhaps we'll understand why. The most striking features of the park are the waterfalls and three pools of freshwater that are naturally heated to 83 degrees all year round. A relaxing swim will really hit the spot!
Wonders of the Bible: Jerusalem, Jericho & Everything In-Between (3 Nights)
"Destroyed and rebuilt over thousands of years, Jerusalem's spiritual magnetism endures. With interlacing histories, clashing cultures and constant reinvention, the city is an intense, multisensory experience" - Lonely Planet
* Privately guided tour of one of the most iconic, famous, and holy cities on earth:
- The Old City: Explore & photograph historical treasures including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Western Wall, Via Dolorosa, and the bustling bazaar in the Muslim quarter.
- Explore the Western Wall Tunnels: The Western Wall of the Temple Mount (also known as the “Jerusalem Wall”) is one of the most magnificent and significant remnants in Jerusalem from the days of the Second Temple, destroyed approximately 2,000 years ago. With access inside the wall's tunnels, we experience, photograph, and touch the original and hidden stones that tell the story of the Jewish nation. Walk through ancient and fascinating subterranean spaces with exquisite archeological findings, such as large stone arches, water pits, and an ancient water aqueduct that ends at the Strouthion Pool.
- Dome of The Rock. Also known as the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque, witness the picturesque golden dome while learning about the unique history behind this place, and why it's so sacred to Christians, Jews, & Muslims alike.
- Photograph Iconic Landmarks: Including the Russian Compound, the Haas Promenade with fantastic views of the holy city, and the First Station (Tachana) cultural compound.
- Machane Yehuda Market: Also known as a shuk, this bustling market is the largest in Jerusalem filled with fascinating sounds, sights, and smells to take in, photograph, & taste test!
* Bethlehem: "Bethlehem may no longer be the 'little town' of Christmas carols, but you don't have to go far in what is now a pulsing city to see the stories of Mary and Joseph, stars, mangers and a savior hardwired into every paving stone, street and church" - Lonely Planet. We'll discover the traditional place of Christ's birth at the Church of the Nativity, along with a fascinating walk beside the other famous "wall":
- "The Wall": Also known as the separation wall, this overbearing, 30-foot-high mass of concrete is an unfortunate literal and figurative symbol of the great divide and turmoil between the Israeli & Palestinian people. An array of graffiti art colors the drab structure in protest toward the disturbing message it sends. The photographs we take here will help convey the dark side of the conflict that has gripped this country for so many decades.
- The Walled Off Hotel: Squeezed against the controversial barrier wall separating Israel from the Palestinian territories, the West Bank’s answer to the Waldorf is a tribute and artistic treasure to the travesties of this seemingly endless conflict. The lodging in Bethlehem is a hotel, museum, protest, and gallery all in one, packed with the artworks and angry brilliance of its owner, British street artist Banksy.
* Jericho: Descend to the lowest city on earth AND the oldest! In Old Jericho, we'll take the cable car up the Mount of Temptation for breathtaking views and photos of the lush oasis that makes up the landscape.
* Judean Desert Road Trip & Desert Fortress: Descend to the lowest place on earth on our scenic drive throughout the desert, arriving in Masada to take a cable car up the mountain to the impressive ancient ruins.
* Ein Gedi Oasis: At this nature reserve we'll explore the diverse landscapes and botanical gardens among spectacular beauty in every direction. A spring and idyllic waterfall are a few highlights we'll enjoy and photograph.
Eilat (1 night)
"Plonked between the copper-colored rocks of the Negev desert and the rippling, luminescent corals of the Red Sea, Eilat occupies an enviable position on Israel’s southern tip. Understated this resort city is not, but those who dare to peel back its rough-and-ready shell will find a seaside city thronging with activity, including some of the best diving and snorkeling in the region." - Lonely Planet
* Optional Snorkeling Adventure: Take a plunge into the warm, turquoise waters of the Red Sea to discover a vibrant world full of incredible living corals, fish, anemones, & marine mammals. (Not Included: price and sign up details TBD)
Part 2: Jordan (6 Nights/7 Days)
"Jordan has a tradition of welcoming visitors: camel caravans plied the legendary King’s Highway transporting frankincense in exchange for spices while Nabataean tradesmen, Roman legionnaires, Muslim armies and zealous Crusaders all passed through the land, leaving behind impressive monuments...It's easy to see why TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) was so drawn to this land of weathered sandstone and reddened dunes. But Jordan's desert landscapes are not confined to the southeast: they encompass a salt sea at the lowest point on earth, canyons flowing with seasonal water, oases of palm trees and explosions of springtime flowers scattered across arid hills." - Lonely Planet
Part "Deux" of our adventure takes us across the nearby border, but it's like stepping back in time 1000 years! Where Israel has been modernized in many areas, Jordan has retained massive swaths of uninhabited wonderlands, dotted with tiny villages and ancient traditions still practiced to this day. It's during this part of our journey that some of the images we capture will likely end up on your walls for years to come...
The Wadi Rum (1 Night)
"Prepare to be awed. There's more to Jordan's most famous desert than vast expanses of sand, though the undulating dunes are certainly mesmerizing..." "The closest you'll ever come to camping on Mars, Jordan's Wadi Rum is an otherworldly experience you shouldn't miss in your lifetime" - The Points Guy (latter) & Fodor's (former)
* Luxury Camping on "Mars"
In the heart of Wadi Rum’s majestic landscape stands our incredible camp, offering a uniquely awe-inspiring experience of serene desert living. Our distinctive Bedouin-style tents afford mountain views with a private bathroom/hot water shower,air conditioning, & a terrace.
* Martian Dome Optional Room Upgrade: Ultra-modern dome architecture offers unique living & comfort while still getting the authentic desert experience. Gaze at the magnificent moon and stars through triangular windows which make up the entire wall in front of you, all right from a toasty bed. *See daily itinerary for price & more details.
* Jeep Safari: Our 4X4 adventure allows us to reach the far-away gems of Wadi Rum where our camp awaits. Massive canyons, towering mountains, rock arches, enormous sand dunes, & ancient Nabatean sites come into view with our camera's ready.
* Optional Sunrise at the "Rock Bridge": Located in the southeast of the protected area, the 50 ft high Um Fruth rock bridge is arguably the most spectacular and photogenic arch in the Wadi Rum. *See daily itinerary for price, inclusions, exclusions, & more details.
Petra (2 Nights)
"Poet Dean Burgon called Petra, the ancient city of dazzling facades tucked into the mountains of southern Jordan, the "rose red city, half as old as time...Its boulevards, temples, and splendid tombs (800 in all), secreted among the high cliffs, evoke incomparable mystery and grandeur." - Fodor's.
Not to mention, it's been voted one of the 'New Seven Wonders of the World', and when you see it, this too becomes an understatement.
* Magical Nabatean City Guided Tour: A plethora of history, some magical highlights include the Siq, Treasury, Obelisk Tomb, Calligraphy, Jabal Madbach (sacrificial palace), & Theater.
*We'll explore Petra once in the PM and once in the AM to allow for plenty of time to see more & photograph at your own pace. *See daily itinerary for price & more details.
The Dead Sea (1 Night)
"Sometimes you’ve got to get down low to find the real highlights. The Dead Sea is the example par excellence – to be found quite literally at the lowest point on earth. Taking a dip takes on a new meaning here, as the intensely salty water keeps you so buoyant you’ll be bobbing about like a cork rather than gracefully swimming a few strokes. Dead Sea mud famously doubles as a skincare product, and you can take things to a more luxurious level at one of the many high-end spas that line the coast. Not to mention, the body of intense blue water, polished smooth like oiled skin on a windless day in winter and ruffled into whitecaps by the summer winds is a jackpot for the cameras" - Lonely Planet
Dead Sea: Pampering, photography, & effortless floating in the lowest place on earth is the name of the game here. En route, stop along the coast to capture stunning images of the unique and colorful salt formations, before enjoying this unique geological phenomenon in style at a Dead Sea Resort. Spa treatments, massages, & meditations are optional.
Amman (2 Nights)
"As Middle Eastern cities go, Amman is a relative youth, being mostly a creation of the 20th century. But though it lacks the storied history and thrilling architectural tapestry of other regional capitals, there’s plenty here to encourage you to linger awhile...Downtown Amman is a must-see. At the bottom of the city’s many hills and overlooked by the magisterial Citadel, it features spectacular Roman ruins, an international-standard museum and the hubbub of mosques, souqs, and coffeehouses that are central to Jordanian life." - Lonely Planet
En Route from Petra:
* Madaba: “The City of Mosaics” is best known for its collection of Byzantine and Umayyad artwork, including a Byzantine mosaic depicting a map of the Holy Land.
* Mt Nebo & Moses' Discovery: This is the mountain considered to be, according to the Old Testament, where Moses saw the Promised Land before he died. 3000 ft high, Mt. Nebo is a sacred pilgrimage site for all followers of the 3 Abrahamic religions. We'll get to see, just like Moses, the breathtaking view over Israel. On a clear day, we may even be able to spot Jericho and Jerusalem!
Guided tour of Amman
* Roman Theatre: Originally built between 138 and 161 CE to accommodate 5000 spectators, it's still used to this day for hosting cultural events & tours.
* Citadel and the Temple of Hercules: Towering above the capital on a hill is the Amman Citadel. The historic site has a 5600 ft wall that dates back to the Bronze Age, the iconic Temple of Hercules, and the Umayyad Palace. The temple is of particular significance because of the enormous 40 ft high statue of Hercules that once stood here. A set of three fingers crawling over the side of the hill and a huge white fragment of the elbow is all that remains, but unique and fun images can be captured here!
* Old City Walk: Known to the locals as Al Balad (downtown), this is the oldest part of the capital. A great place to run into friendly locals eager for a chat, it's full of stores, artisanal goods, handicrafts, coffee shops, & restaurants.
The Eastern Desert Castles
* Al Kharaneh: This majestic structure was more of a fortress than the other nearby castles, with raised walls, narrow slits, and four angle towers for defense. It's also arguably the most photogenic of all the desert castles!
* Amra Castle: Another exceptionally well-preserved desert castle deserving of Unesco World Heritage status, its interior walls and ceilings are covered with lively frescoes, and two of the rooms are paved with colorful mosaics.
* Al Azraq Castle: The last crusader castle we visit dates from 300 AD. Once the home of T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), it's remaining walls and structures offer a layered history, beginning with the Romans & finishing with a significant role in Jordanian military history.
Single Supplement: $1,149.00
Email us to see the daily itinerary at firstname.lastname@example.org
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