45 Photos - Jan 25, 2009
Photo: Photo: View of Haifa from the hotel room balconyPhoto: The Baha'i Temple and Gardens at HaifaPhoto: The Baha'i faith dates only from the 19th century.Photo: The faith originated in Iran and now claims 6 million followers in 75 countries.Photo: Once in their life, Baha'i followers are expected to make a pilgrimage here to climb the 1,400 steps of the Gardens.Photo: The gardens are in Haifa because the faith's founder spent 25 years imprisoned in a nearby town.  The tomb of the founder, Bab, is located here.Photo: A morning rain on the day of our visit caused the Gardens' caretakers to close the gates for fear that tourists might slip on the walkways.Photo: Nevertheless, a few photos were taken of the gorgeous gardens.Photo: Some of the gardens were completed as recently as 2001 at a cost of several hundred million dollars.Photo: One hundred full-time gardeners maintain the site.Photo: Access to the gardens is quite restricted except for members of the Baha'i faith.Photo: The story of the Shrine of the Bab Terraces and GardensPhoto: Arrival in NazarethPhoto: The Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth--at this venue, the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would be the Mother of Jesus.Photo: The door of the BasilicaPhoto: The Cave of the Annunciation in the lower churchPhoto: Mary's home in Nazareth is thought to have been on this site.Photo: The altar in the upper churchPhoto: Looking towards the dome in the upper churchPhoto: This is the fifth church on this site--this one was consecrated in 1959.Photo: Beautiful mosaics are throughout the church--each donated by a different country.Photo: Like all the churches we visited, this one was still decorated for Christmas.Photo: It was especially appropriate to see the Christmas scene at this holy place.Photo: The dome of the churchPhoto: Next door is St. Joseph's Church, thought to be the site of Joseph's carpentry shop.Photo: St. Joseph's Church, built in 1914Photo: A view back towards the Basilica as we left NazarethPhoto: A fish and duck pond at a restaurant on the Sea of Galilee where we lunched on St. Peter's fish.  A large, complete fish was brought to us which we then had to fillet.Photo: After lunch, we boarded a boat for a trip out on the Sea of Galilee.Photo: This is the type of boat on which we sailed.Photo: Once on the boat, we discovered we were in the company of a group of Nigerian pilgrims.Photo: In the middle of the Sea of Galilee, the Nigerians sang several hymns.  They were visiting Israel for about a week.Photo: A look towards the far shore where we would stay that eveningPhoto: The flag of Israel on the rear of the boat on this very windy dayPhoto: Our next stop was at the baptismal site at Yardenit on the Jordan River.Photo: The Jordan River, a river that was very narrow everywhere we saw it.Photo: The baptismal site; this day was cold and windy but on a summer day, this site will be busy with baptisms.Photo: The Nigerians also visited this site.Photo: Taking some Jordan River water home, perhaps for a future Baptism.Photo: A Latin American visitor who wanted to sample the Jordan River on this cold day.Photo: A visitor who donned a Baptismal gown for her Jordan river experiencePhoto: There is some controversy about the location of the actual Baptismal site of John the Baptist.  In Jordan, the guide told us that it is there and that Pope John Paul II confirmed that on his visit in 2000.Photo: A view from our hotel balcony at Tiberias on the Sea of GalileePhoto: An abandoned mosque adjacent to our hotel