But what an amazing AMAZING last couple of days it has been!!
Early Monday morning, we loaded up the buses and headed north to Galilee! We went toMaritima (not to be confused with Philipi or all the other Caesarea's haha). Built by Herod the Great in the early 1st century. This was a MAJOR port city, and the port city that Paul came to and was accused and said he wanted to be tried by the Romans. So, they shipped Paul off from this city to be executed. Besides that, the actual city is in good condition (for being a 1st century city...). It was also very beautiful looking at the sea from the land of the ruins.
After a quick stop, we headed up to Nazareth where we went to 2 churches of the Annunciation. As I mentioned before, there are often multiple sites of the 'place where this event happened' as the Catholics think it is one place, the Orthodox in another, and the Protestants in yet another.
So, we first went to the Catholic Basilica of the Annunciation. Around the outer walls were maybe 20 large mosaics of Mary. They were just stunning. They went sent in from countries around the world. The church itself was beautiful. It was a large an open space and then it opened up even further and then into the ground. The altar was about 20 feet down and behind the altar was the cave-house where Gabriel announced to Mary that she would be having a son.
Then, when you went upstairs, there was ANOTHER church! (The bottom is earthly Jesus/Jerusalem; the top is heavenly Jesus/Jerusalem.) There were more mosaics lining the walls.
Then, outside of that was the rest of the street from the time of Jesus.
We then went to a Greek Orthodox Church. Much much much different from the Catholic church, it was a teeny church down the road from the Catholic church. They believed that Gabriel came to Mary at this well. So, they had that toward the end of the sanctuary and the well still works to this day.
We then went to our 'hostel.' Ok, this was not a typical hostel, and frankly it was probably a hotel. This place probably cost more than all the hostels Alan and I stayed in while traveling Europe two summers ago hahahaha. It was gorgeous! Right on the Sea of Galilee, this place was newly remodeled and had a patio area overlooking the sea. Just lovely. It was called Pilgerhaus. They have a website if you're interested.
But, after a long day of traveling, it was nice to come and relax and have a great German dinner buffet :)