We departed from Jerusalem early this morning and drove approximately 2 hours north.
The sun was shining bright – so bright I had to wear my shades WITH my glasses.
Yes. Yes I did.
This girl can’t see far away without her glasses and that sun was SO bright y’all.
By 9am it was 95 degrees. Oh yeah.
Our first stop along the road was The Bahá’í Gardens in Haifa.
Haifa is a mountain town with amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea. Obviously from the photo above, right? And I will take every bit of the credit for that photo you see above. It was THAT pretty.
Side note: I am SOOOO glad I brought my big camera that I use for work on this trip. I was so close to leaving it at home since I don’t normally travel with it because of the size and how heavy it can be. Something told me I’d want to capture photos of places I may never get to see again and my wide angle lens used for houses might come in pretty handy.
Bahá’í is a religion and this spot is their world headquarters. We didn’t stop to learn about their faith, we honestly stopped to take in the scenic views 🙂
We hopped back on the bus and drove a bit further to the top of Mount Carmel. This location (or somewhere around this area) is where Elijah called down fire from heaven in 1 Kings chapter 18.
There is a church on top of the mountain to mark the location.
Before going up to the observation deck, our group sat down to read the story of Elijah and the 450 false prophets.
I seriously got chills. The Bible says that IMMEDIATELY fire fell from heaven and consumed every bit of the wood AND the water that had been poured on the wood and in the trenches.
Go read the story if you haven’t lately. It will give you goosebumps.
Here is the area in which it all happened.
I finally asked someone in our group to take a photo of myself and Brian that isn’t a selfie 🙂
Right behind us in the photo above is the Jezreel Valley. This is the location of many battles fought in the Old Testament. It is also an area that was traveled by those in Bible times. It is a super fertile land with excellent farming.
We headed down the mountain to a little local family restaurant. Goodness did they put on a spread for us!!
I cannot get over the fruits and vegetables. They are something else.
After getting our bellies filled, we drove a few more miles to reach our final destination for the day – Nazareth. This is the town Jesus grew up in!
The Church of the Ascension marks the spot where Mary lived and got word that she was with child.
This was my favorite church we have visited yet.
Inside there were 3 different levels.
We walked into the main level and it opened up to the lower level which features the preserved home of Mary.
You can see the older stones built into the monument. I like that this isn’t so busy with decor items like many of the other churches we’ve seen.
We then walked to the upper level and it was the main sanctuary.
See those beautiful organ pipes? Wouldn’t it be cool to attend church here?? Even the dome of the ceiling was captivating.
The stained glass windows were incredible throughout.
I could have sat in this church for hours.
This was however the most strict holy site we have been to. I didn’t have long sleeves on today and they asked me to cover my arms when walking in. We have been advised to always carry a scarf for this purpose.
Brian had a hat on and they asked him to remove it as soon as we walked in.
Another lady had on a lovely dress, but it wasn’t long past her knees. They asked her to go back outside and get a cover to wrap around her legs.
They also walked around SHHHHUUUSHHHING our group and many others that made any kind of noise.
I worried about the aspect of clothing and dressing for the holy sites a lot before our trip. Most sites we have attended thus far have not given any kind of issue. I’ve mainly worn long pants and I’ve always carried my scarf. Shorts are definitely not allowed and anyone wearing anything short on their legs gets stares as you walk by pretty much anywhere.
Back to Nazareth! Underneath the walkway of the church, there is a section of preserved remnant stones from the old city era.
After battling the 102 degree afternoon temperature, our entire group was more than ready to find our hotel for the night. We’re pretty excited to be staying in the city Jesus played in as a little boy.
I couldn’t believe the view from our hotel balcony looking over the city of Nazareth.
This balcony walks out from our little sitting area.
This place feels like we’re sitting back in history a bit – except we have air conditioning, flushing toilets and wi-fi!
We ended the night eating outdoors in the city as a group.
Thankfully, it was much cooler once the sun went down. The food was once again fantastic. I had really wished I’d lose some weight on this trip….nevermind about that!
Oh, and by the way – this is the normal Kylie face we get when Facetiming our children:
Y’all have a good evening and we’ll be back tomorrow with more adventures!
~Starr and Brian
In case you missed it – from the past week on the blog: