Ancient ports

Our last day in the Holy Land. Yet still the day was packed with activity.

Checking out of the Restal Hotel in Tiberius went very smoothly. We were on the coach and away by 8am. Our first stop was the ancient Roman port of Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast. After all the wonderful weather, today was rather overcast and windy. We saw a film about Caesarea Philippi, which included some animation on how it all might have looked. Then outside to see the hippodrome where chariots would have raced and gladiators fought. We were able to wander through the ancient buildings and walk over the mosaics. Fascinating.


Then back in the coach to Jaffa, or Joppa as it was called in the Bible. Here Solomon imported huge timbers for the temple, Jonah sailed for Nineveh, and Peter stayed with Simon the tanner when he met Cornelius and converted him. Saladin, Napoleon, and the British attacked and conquered Jaffa, and still it stands. Many Israeli arabs live in Jaffa, but it is increasingly surrounded by apartment blocks which are a feature of Tel Aviv.


We had a splendid lunch then, before heading for the airport.

Security at Ben Gurion is always extremely tight. We arrived four hours before our flight. The group waited a while and was then directed into a “lane”. One of the senior security staff came over to quiz our leader about where we had been and what we had done. As we were on a Christian pilgrimage and most of the people were from a single church, we were quickly through security. Checking and and passport checks were routine, so we had quite a while to wait in the departure lounge. The Easyjet flight was fine and we landed at 11:15pm. Our coach was waiting and brought us back to Crowthorne, exhausted but filled with all the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the Holy Land.


The closing prayer from our Eucharist yesterday seems appropriate as the closing prayer for this blog:


Blessed God,
help us, whom you have fed and satisfied in this eucharist,
to hunger and thirst for what is right;

help us, who have rejoiced and been glad,
to stand with those who are persecuted and reviled;

help us, who here have glimpsed the life of heaven,
to strive for the cause of right and for the coming of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.


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