|The view from Seasons Hotel|
The rest of the party gathered at Birmingham International and flew out to Tel Aviv via Schiphol, successfully making their connection with the help of Geoff and Alan. After a coach journey and a short stay at the Seasons Hotel in Netanya, the party travelled along the coast to the amazing spot of Caesarea Maritima.
|Some of the ruins of Herod's palace|
The city and harbour were built by Herod the Great in 25-13BC and his palace was built on a promontory jutting out into the sea. It felt like an appropriate place to start our tour, particularly as the musical Rock begins 'In Caesarea beside the sea'! We met our guide Sahar and his wife Kimi, as well as our bus driver Bishawa who would be with us for the whole visit. Caesarea included an amphitheatre, some amazing mosaics and a hippodrome - certainly a spot for lots of photos!
|Sahar talking to the party on Mount Carmel|
After Caesarea we had a quick lunch stop (the first falafel for many!) and then moved on to Mount Carmel. Sadly the day was far too hazy for the view, but it was good to sit and reflect on Elijah's duel with the prophets of Baal.
|The church of the Annunciation|
From there we visited Nazareth on our way to our overnight accommodation in Galilee. The church of the annunciation was a lovely space, with some beautiful stained glass windows. It was also lovely to get out of the heat of the day into a cooler place. As in almost all of the locations we visited there was a mass taking place, and the singing added to the atmosphere.
|Trish, Annie and Bill at Caesarea|
Our overnight accommodation was at Nof Ginosar, right on the shores of the lake. It was a good opportunity for many of the party to meet and chat. It was also an interesting evening as many of us watched the announcement of the new pope on our televisions.
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