Heart and Soul in Israel
While it is true that every place has its own history, it so happens that History has its own place. Travel to Israel and discover your personal pilgrimage.
"Andrea did a wonderful job designing an itinerary to suit three generations of diverse interests, and was flexible and responsive to last minute changes and requests. He showed us many hidden treasures of this beautiful region that would have missed we're it not for him."
- Heather on her journey in Italy
A possible, beautiful itinerary for you
Where the Old meets the New
Arrival at Ben Gurion Airport is an experience in itself. The tight security is necessary, but your Israeli guide helps you through the process. Tel Aviv is a fast moving city that is full of exciting things to discover: from avant-garde cafés, to art galleries, to open markets where the flavours of east and west meet to create an alluring spectacle. You get to chat with the vendors. They are a boisterous lot, but they only add to the charm. Jaffa is one of the oldest port cities in the world. It is a place splattered with pleasant cafés and artist studios. Not bad for an afternoon of promenades along the Mediterranean
Stories of the Crusade
You begin the day in the city of Caesarea, an ancient Roman settlement that is wonderfully preserved. Beneath the arches of the aqueduct, you are beginning to discover the many historical layers of this land. Thanks to your expert guides, you can identify Roman, Jewish, Greek, and Crusader elements in the architecture. The tight alleys and stone walls of Acre speak to you of tales of Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. The city of Haifa, home to the Baha’i Gardens, is proof that in this part of the world, historical and spiritual forces have converged for thousands of years. Read more
In the Land of Jesus
Following the trail of the Crusaders, you enter the Galilee, and get a throwback to a more remote past. From the heights of Mount Arbel, you can survey the landscape where Jesus spent his youth, and see the waters on which he walked. The remains of Capernaum are imbued with a solemn dignity, they hold what is left of the house of Peter. The Sea of Galilee has a curious effect on you, it is bringing the spiritual and the historical closer together. Fortunately, the day ends on terms that are easier to grasp. You visit Kibbutz Degania, and get to chat with prominent kibbutz members. You learn how kibbutzim played a pivotal role in the formation of Modern Israel.
Chiaroscuro in Holy Jerusalem
Some travellers say, that all journeys in Israel are a rollercoaster of emotions. You can ascend from the mundane to the sublime in the course of an afternoon. You can descend to tragic history, and find redemption… in a wall. If visiting the places where the Historical Jesus lived, filled you with trepidation, entering Jerusalem moves you with unforeseen energy. Jerusalem is a very old city, and to discover its ancient history, you have to go underground. Andrea told you to bring a flashlight, now you find out why. From darkness, to light; from deep tunnels, to the towers and the hills. Shabbat is an ancient ritual that sets the line between the human and the divine. Experiencing it in the Western Wall itself, is a powerful experience, words fail to describe.
A Sea where You Don’t Sink
From the heights of Jerusalem, to the lowest place on Earth: the Dead Sea. Above it, perched on craggy rocks like a guardian eagle, is the Fortress of Masada. They say “fortress” but you soon discover that it is at least half Palace. Herod built it with comfort and lavishness in mind. Mosaic pools, cisterns and a view unlike any other. It is also marked with tragedy, as you soon learn. Nothing is simple in Israel. Fortunately, the salty waters of the Dead Sea are a delight. Hard as you try, you cannot sink: you simply float effortlessly as the dry Jordan Mountains watch you with jealousy. It is a good thing that you have your own private chef, the hike to Masada and the dip on the Dead Sea have opened your appetite.
From the lowest place on Earth, it is now time to ascend to heavenly heights. You return to Jerusalem, Jesus’ Jerusalem this time. The spiritual energy begins to accumulate again, as you stand atop the Mount of Olives. In the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed and was captured after the Last Supper, a strong sense of foreboding invades you. As you walk the Via Dolorosa, the path Jesus walked while carrying the Holy Cross, the emotion becomes even stronger with every step. As you enter the Holy Sepulcher, and ascend to the Calvary, the hill of crucifixion... finally, what you have been experiencing becomes clear, and it is released from your chest: a potent expression of the human soul. This has been the climax of your visit to the Holy Land. However, there is still one more stop in your pilgrimage: Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum. Now you are armed with a newfound spiritual strength. It is a hard visit, but you weather it, heart and soul. Nothing is simple, in the Land of Israel.