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Mom and Dad's Trip to the Holy Lands

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FC: Cradle of Christianity Cruise August 31 - September 15, 2011

2: On August 30, 2011 we boarded our flight from Jacksonville to Chicago. In Chicago, we had a 3-hour layover before to boarding our flight to Rome. We were to take off at 5:10 p.m. but after boarding, we were told a mechanical problem needed to be fixed and there would be a slight delay. About an hour later, we were told that the oil leak was unable to be fixed (see the engine below in pieces on the tarmac) and we had to be put on another plane. So we deplaned, got a voucher for our dinner and waited for our replacement plane. Finally, we boarded our plane and backed away from the gate at 9:35 p.m., but didn't take off until 10 p.m. -- five hours after our original departure time! | International Terminal in Chicago

3: Our flight to Rome was going quite smoothly, when we realized that a gentleman two seats behind us was having physical problems -- a heart attack! After getting help from a physician on board, a decision was made that we would land in Dublin, Ireland, and because there was no fresh flight crew or airplane to go on to Rome, we had to spend the night. We were put up in the Carlton Hotel in Blanchardstown, a suburb of Dublin. Because of this delay, we missed our full day tour of Rome prior to boarding the ship. These are some of the scenes from our the hotel. The next morning we had to be ready to board the bus at 5 a.m. for the airport and our final destination -- Rome!

4: We finally arrived in Rome on September 2 at 11:55 a.m. -- only 40+ hours after we left home! After we went through customs, we still had more waiting. Our group was housed in three different hotels and so we had to wait for various people prior to our boarding buses for our hotels. The next few pages are sights of Rome on our way to the hotel. | Weary fellow travelers resting on a luggage carousel

6: Going up the glass-walled elevator to the rooftop restaurant | Views of Rome from rooftop restaurant

7: The top pictures are views of Rome on our way to board the ship. Check out the umbrella trees -- very unique to Rome. We were finally ready to board the Celebrity Silhouette. We retrieved our luggage from the bus and then went through customs once again prior to boarding the ship. The Israeli authorities took our passports and held them until we were ready to dock at Haifa which was our first port of call.

8: Prior to setting sail, they took a rescue pod out for a test run. These are the sights we saw from our cabin balcony before leaving the dock.

9: Chocolates on our pillows | Master Chef telling us about all the restaurants on the ship | Watching our route on the Navigation Channel

11: Our first port of call was Haifa, Israel. From this port, we visited Caesarea the remains of the aqueduct system built by Herod the Great to honor Caesar Augustus,and the ruins at the ancient port of Acre.

13: Dinner at the Crusader Castle in Acre | Dad at the Crusader Castle

14: Banana trees | These pictures show our travel by bus to the Mount of Beatitudes where there is a church and a most beautiful view of the countryside. You could visualize Jesus sitting on the side of the mountain and delivering his Sermon on the Mount. Before we went into the church that is there, we sat and listened once again to Matthew 5:1-12 | Blessed are the poor in spirit; for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.

15: Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for their's is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. | Olive trees

16: A beautiful bronze sculpture of Peter -- note: the large fish at the left base of the statue and that he is holding the keys to the kingdom. | Four levels down are the remains of Peter's house | Beautiful bronze statue of Peter -- note the fish on bottom left and the keys to the kingdom in his right hand.

17: Olive trees in Capernaum | Olive press | Olive tree | Ruins of the houses and synagogue where Jesus read Scripture

18: Upon our arrival at the Sea of Galilee, as we were boarding our boat, we saw fishermen mending their nets by hand just as they did in Jesus' day. The lake is 8 miles wide and 13 miles long and the scenery around the lake is beautiful. Think about the size of the sea when you read that Jesus told his disciples that He would meet them on the other side.

19: We were on the Ein Gev Kibbutz along the Sea of Galilee. After our boat ride, we had lunch which started with an appetizer of hummus, red beets, carrots and cole slaw w/pita bread. Our main course was St. Peter's fish (tilipia), w/french fries. Our dessert was a small cup of strawberry yogurt. | Lagoon outside of the dining room

20: Our next stop was at the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized. This is probably not the exact spot, but it is the place where tourists come to be baptized.

21: "....Jerusalem, the city which the Lord had chose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put His name there...." I Kings 14:21 "Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mount Moriah, where the Lord had appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite." II Chronicles 3:1 Our bus ride to Jerusalem was about one hour. As we traveled toward the city, the road continued to go up because it is on top of a mountain. Your first sight of the city is breathtaking because you see the gold Dome of the Rock (mosque) and then the walls of the city. The dome to the left of the Dome of the Rock is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

22: Stones of remembrance left on the graves of loved ones. | Large olive tree in Garden of Gethsemane | Garden of Gethsemane

23: Oldest olive tree (over 1000 yrs) in Gethsemane | Eastern Gate of Jerusalem where the Lord will return! | Looking toward Jerusalem from Gethsemane (Jerusalem flag) | Church of Nations

24: Garden of Gethsemane | Large truck of old olive tree | Beautiful olive trees of Gethsemane | Entering Bethesda through the Lions Gate | Pool of Bethesda | Pool of Bethesda - many levels down

25: ‘Neath the Old Olive Trees ‘Neath the stars of the night Walked the Saviour of light, In the garden of dew-ladened breeze; Where no light could be found, Jesus knelt on the ground, There He prayed ‘neath the old olive trees. All the sin of the world On the Saviour was hurled, As He knelt in the garden alone; Hear His soul-burdened plea, Let this cup pass from Me, “Even so, not My will, Thine be done.” May my song ever be Of the love proffered me, By my Lord all alone on His knees: Praise His wonderful name, He who bore all my blame, As He knelt ‘neath the old olive trees. ‘Neath the old olive trees, ‘Neath the old olive trees, Went the Saviour alone on His knees: “Not My will, Thine be done,” Cried the Father’s own Son, As He knelt ‘neath the old olive trees. | ‘Tis Midnight ‘Tis midnight; and on Olive’s brow The star is dimmed that lately shone; ‘Tis midnight; in the garden now, The suffering Saviour prays alone. ‘Tis midnight; and from all removed, The Saviour wrestles lone with fears; E’en that disciple whom He loved Heeds not his Master’s grief and tears. ‘Tis midnight; and for others’ guilt The Man of Sorrows weeps in blood; Yet He that hath in anguish knelt Is not forsaken by His God. ‘Tis midnight; and from ether-plains Is borne the song that angels know; Unheard by mortals are the strains That sweetly soothe the Saviour’s woe.

27: Church of St. Anne's (mother of Mary) | Check out the line of buses coming into the city | Looking at the walls of Old Jerusalem

28: Looking over Jerusalem -- the Green Zone is Israeli controlled and the rest is Arab controlled (notice the difference) | Two pictures on the right are of the Wailing Wall. It is separated so that men are on one side and women on the other. Hyssop is growing out of the wall.

29: On the men's side of the Wailing Wall there was a library which contained the tabernacle which houses the Torah -- Scroll of the first five books of Moses. (No women were allowed in this area.) | Arab men playing backgammon on Via Dolorosa

30: The Stone of Anointing | We walked the Via Dolorosa from Station 3 to 7. The last five stations are in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This to us was the most unspiritual experience because it was like walking through a flea market -- narrow walkway with shops on both sides -- very noisy, people pushing. When we got to Station 7, we were in the Christian quarter of the city -- shops, but much cleaner and less noisy | Crosses you can rent for $30 to walk the Via Dolorosa

31: Leaving Jerusalem through the Dung Gate | Driving back to the port through the West Bank | West Bank - Muslim town - note the transportation -- donkey. | Valley of Elah where David killed Goliath | Returning to the ship after a long day

32: Meeting all the chefs on the ship in a Galley Tour | On the upper deck looking at the smoke stack | Chandelier in main dining room

33: Arriving in Ephesus, Turkey. | Our first stop in Ephesus was the Basilica of St. John where Dr. Sproul had received permission from the government of Turkey to read the first two chapters of Ephesians. This was an important place for the early Christian church, but there is no Christian church there today. "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place -- unless you repent." Revelation 2:4,5 | All that remains of Temple of Diana is this column

34: Harry talking w/our new friends, Bob & Sue Gillgrist

35: Walking down the main street of Ephesus

36: Early advertisement -- money bag + heart + foot == If you have money and you want love, walk this way.

37: After our tour of Ephesus, we went to a Turkish rugmaker's shop where we had lunch. Prior to our lunch, we were shown Turkish rugs (too expensive for us). All the rugs were handmade by these young girls -- double knotted as opposed to most rugs that are single knotted. These girls did beautiful work -- very fine. The patterns are very intricate with many color changes.

39: Wishes/prayers to Mary | Unique door knocker - Mykonos | Bakery in basement - Mykonos | Mykonos

40: Mykonos, Greece Harry and I rented a scooter and drove around the island until Harry could not stand all the help I was giving him in how to drive!!! So after an hour and a half, we were on foot. Here Harry is enjoying his favorite Greek meal -- gyro w/fries!

41: Our last port to visit was Naples, Italy.

42: Always nice to come back to the ship | Walking through a shopping center in Naples

43: I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked | I walked today where Jesus walked, in days of long ago. I wandered down each path He knew, with reverent step and slow. Those little lanes, they have not changed, a sweet peace fills the air. I walked today where Jesus walked, and felt His presence there. My pathway led through Bethlehem, Ah! mem'ries ever sweet The little hills of Galilee, that knew those childish feet. The Mount of Olives, hallowed scenes, that Jesus knew before I saw the mighty Jordan roll, as in the days of yore. I knelt today where Jesus knelt, where all alone He prayed. The Garden of Gethsemane, my heart felt unafraid. I picked my heavy burden up, and with Him by my side, I climbed the Hill of Calvary, I climbed the Hill of Calvary, I climbed the Hill of Calvary, Where on the Cross He died! I walked today where Jesus walked, and felt Him close to me.

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