Y’all know I’ve asked for no gifts for my 30th Birthday because I’m instead raising funds for Soles4Souls <— click there to go to my personal fundraising page!
But my silly sister, Katie, didn’t listen 😉 This mom of 5 was so on the ball with my “perfect” Birthday gift that she had it bought over a month in advance (before I even started raising my funds!) and had it sent to me almost 2 weeks before my Birthday! Somebody tell me how she does it because I am in awe right now!
Anyhow, perfect it is…a Kate Spade planner that happens to match my diaper bag…I’m kinda sorta in love! And I would never make this splurge myself!
I have had so much fun filling this baby in! As I was writing down our plans for our trip to Israel next month, I thought it would be fun to share with y’all what we will be doing and what to expect on the blog in the coming weeks!
First off, a little background on this trip. Israel is apparently really big in the business world, so Vanderbilt offered students the opportunity to travel there for a business class for credit over Spring Break. Patrick wanted to go, and so did I. After saying yes and no so many times, Patrick made it easy and just said yes for us! We are going early to sight-see because he won’t get to do much of that once the classes start. I’m only going for the sight-seeing part, then traveling home while he’s in classes. I’m almost traveling as long to get there and back as I will actually be there, which seems so silly and was a big factor in saying no so many times, but YOLO right?! It’s an amazing once in a lifetime opportunity and we really are so excited for it!
There is an 8 hour difference between Tel Aviv, Israel and Nashville, Tennessee so although we are leaving at 10 am on Wednesday, March 2nd, we won’t be getting into Tel Aviv until 9:30 am on Thursday, March 3rd. Patrick and I have to catch some serious sleep on that long flight because we are going to hit the ground running! We could literally run because we won’t have babies to tote around (I really hope my hubby doesn’t make me run though!!) Thanks for watching our babies for us Grams + Gramps! We so appreciate being able to get away for the first time since having two kids!
For day #1, we are planning to go straight to Jerusalem. This is an area we most definitely want to see, but is not suggested to tour on Fridays or Saturdays due to the celebration of the Sabbath (just before sundown on Friday – which is earlier than the rest of the world – through Saturday) During this time on Friday, shops close early, buses stop running, and only a handful of restaurants and cafe’s remain open, all out of respect for the Holy City. A siren blasts and men head to synagogues to pray, while women light Sabbath candles at home. Many people have guests over for a Sabbath meal, but no matter the distance, nobody drives out of respect of ushering in the Jews Day of Rest. If it wasn’t such a quick trip, I think this would be AMAZING to experience and see!
Jerusalem is divided into Old City and New City. Old City is made up of 4 quarters, Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Armenian. Ideally we would like to see all of this, but time may not permit it. As a Christian, it is extremely important to me to see the things that pertain to my faith first and anything extra is a nice bonus 🙂
1.) Garden of Gethsemane – I want to start our day here, prayerfully preparing ourselves for all we will get to see and experience, just as Jesus prayerfully prepared himself for his crucifixion.
2.) Via Delarosa – this is a street in the Old City that is believed to be the path Jesus took to his crucifixion. There are 9 stations of the cross along this route, while the remaining 5 are inside our next place to visit…
3.) Church of the Holy Sepulcher – this is known as the holiest place is Jerusalem to most Christians. This now church is the site believed to be where Jesus was crucified and also houses Jesus’ empty tomb – the place where He Resurrected from the dead.
4.) The Garden Tomb – Ah but of course there is another area that claims to be the burial place and Resurrection of Jesus. I don’t know where Jesus’ tomb was, so I’m going to cover my bases and go to see both!
5.) Mount of Olives – This is where it is believed that Jesus Ascended into heaven. This is also one of the best views of the city, so I would love to catch the sunset while here!
6.) Western Wall – Judiasm’s holiest site. It’s customary to write a prayer and stick it into the wall which I think would be pretty cool to do!
7.) Dome of the Rock – Jerusalem’s most recognizable landmark, the golden dome you see in photos. This is where it is believed that Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his son Issac. This is the holiest place in the city for Muslims. It has extremely strict guidelines for getting in, and even then, Non-Muslims aren’t allowed into certain areas, so this is just a beautiful building I’d like to see from the outside.
8.) The Cardo – Remains of a Roman market street where it is customary to bargain prices!
We shall see if we can do it all!! And I am sure we will see even more than we expect!
Because of the Sabbath, we decided to travel to the neighboring country of Jordan on Friday. Patrick REALLY wants to see Petra! So I guess I REALLY need to see Indiana Jones before our trip to understand why 😉 We booked a tour and it sounds pretty darn cool! We will start off driving to Jordan through the Negev Desert (which is supposed to be stunning!) to Petra. From there we will have a guided tour of this Wonder of the World, including a horse ride. Following the tour will be a traditional Jordanian lunch. We then will spend the evening and night in a traditional Bedouin campsite in Wadi Rum, which is said to be the Hilton of the Desert! This is the closest Patrick is getting me to camping 😉
On Saturday we will awake in the Desert (I still can’t wrap my brain around that!) and enjoy breakfast before heading out on a Jeep Safari in Wadi Rum, which is a giant valley cut into sandstone and granite rock. After the tour of Wadi Rum, we will have a quick stop in Aquaba to shop in the market before being transported to Eliat. If there’s time, we can explore this area, which sits upon the Red Sea. Late in the evening we will return to our hotel in Tel Aviv.
Sunday should be a pretty amazing day! We will start off by driving through the Judean Desert to Masada. We will tour the ruins there that once were King Herod’s palace. We will also soak in the view of the Dead Sea from this area before actually getting to soak in the Dead Sea! I am SO excited for this! It will be a Bucket List moment for sure experiencing the the lowest point on earth where one can only float! I didn’t have the travel bug that I do now as a child, but this place always fascinated me and was a place I wanted to experience!
Have you ever been to Israel or Jordan? Do you have any suggestions of places we can’t miss? We have no clue on restaurants, so any guidance in that department is extremely welcomed!
I so look forward to sharing this trip with y’all when we get back!!! I know it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and experience, and I really am so excited for it!
Please keep us in your prayers as we travel 🙂 I know it will be hard being away from the kids, but I’m hoping we will be so busy cramming everything we possibly can into this quick trip that it takes the sting of not having them there with us!
Be Blessed + Be A Blessing 🙂