Archaeological Tour of Israel,
Greece and Turkey
June 19 - July 12, 1995

James E. Lancaster, Ph.D.
Copyright 1999

Contents:

  1. Tips on Visiting Jerusalem
  2. A Week Exploring Jerusalem
  3. A One-Week Group Tour of Israel
  4. A One-Week Group Tour of Greece and Turkey

My wife and I have been on two group tours to Israel and I've been to Jerusalem twice on my own, once by myself for two days, and, most recently with my wife for a seven-day visit. On both of these latter visits the goal was the same, namely to see as many historical, archaeological and religious sites as possible.

Tips on Visiting Jerusalem

Jerusalem, with a population of over 500,000, is really two cities - the Old City and its immediate surroundings with a history that dates back more than 3000 years to the time before King David, and the new city, which is mostly the result of 20th century expansion.

Most Americans who visit Jerusalem probably do so as part of a group tour, often sponsored by a church, synagogue or other religious organization. It's possible to get a lot out of such a trip with little or no advance preparation (although I wouldn't necessarily recommend doing it that way).

On a group tour everything is planned for you in advance - your accommodations, your meals, and the sites you'll see. Most tours will visit the major sites within the Old City - the Western Wall, Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock, the Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre - and a little bit of each of the city's four quarters: Jewish, Moslem, Christian, and Armenian. You'll probably also visit Mt. Zion, the Mt. of Olives, the Garden of Gesthemene, possibly the Garden Tomb, the Shrine of the Book (containing Dead Sea Scrolls), and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum.

But because of the number of places included on the usual tour, and the logistics of moving a group of people from one site to another, the time spent at any one location may be limited. At the end of a group tour you may leave Jerusalem with the feeling that you've experienced something very special but that you've only seen a small part of that 3000-plus years of the city's past. That's exactly how we felt after our first tour in 1990.

To really experience Jerusalem you will need to find a tour that is limited to a small group and which spends maybe a week or more in and around the city. Or, with a little guidance and effort, you can plan your own tour. Commercial guidebooks are useful and that's how I planned my two-day visit in 1992. Even if you go to the Jerusalem on a group tour where you are escorted by a guide, having a good guidebook along will be helpful in filling in the gaps or in reviewing what you've seen each day. A book such as Baedeker's Israel or one of the similar popular guidebooks (Berlitz, Fodor's, etc.) would be a good choice. But make sure it includes some sort of historical outline (most do). If you want a little more archaeology and history you should consider Jerome Murphy-O'Connor's The Holy Land. And finally, if you are planning to do some exploration of Jerusalem on your own, then you should also look at the Blue Guide Jerusalem and possibly Jerusalemwalks.

If you have the time prior to your trip you may also want to write directly to a few places and request information such as specific tour availability, operating days and hours (these vary considerably, particularly for religious and archaeological sites), etc. That's what I did in the spring of 1995 as we were planning our one-week visit. I wrote to about a dozen different tourist-oriented organizations (using addresses from guidebooks) and included international airmail coupons for return postage. Only about half of them responded but that, along with the guidebooks, was sufficient to lay out a tentative itinerary for each of the seven days we would be there.

You can also request information from Israel Government Tourist Offices in the United States but their standard package is somewhat generic. Their telephone number is 1-800-596-7462.

Lodging is the first issue you'll need to address if planning your own itinerary. Jerusalem has many fine hotels, which are listed in most guidebooks. In 1992 I stayed two nights at the Sheraton Plaza Hotel, a modern high rise within walking distance of both the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City and the newer downtown area around Zion Square. On group tours we've stayed at the Hyatt Regency Hotel and the Seven Arches Hotel, both on the east side of the Old City. The latter has what is probably the best view of Temple Mount in all of Jerusalem.

All of these are first class hotels but may be a little pricey for some people. Fortunately, there are alternatives. You might want to consider one of the many hospices or guest houses associated with religious institutions. Look at a guidebook or write to the Christian Information Center in Jerusalem. Or you can obtain information on bed and breakfasts from a Government Tourist Office.

For our more recent visit we wanted to experience something a little more intimate and arranged to stay three nights at St. Andrew's Hospice and four nights at the Christ Church Guest House. St. Andrew's, with about twenty single and double rooms, is run by the Scottish Church and is situated on a hill just west of Mt. Zion. It has a great view of the southwestern corner of the Old City walls. The Anglican Christ Church is about the same size but is inside the Old City, very near the Jaffa Gate. Both provide clean, but not fancy, non-air conditioned accommodations in quiet, somewhat garden-like environments. Each also provides an Israeli breakfast and an optional dinner. The breakfasts were excellent. However, for variety we ate our other meals elsewhere.

For lunches we found several places within the Old City: Tzaddik's Deli in the Jewish Quarter (operated by a former resident of San Diego); the Coffee Shop near the Jaffa Gate (operated by Christ Church); and a sidewalk cafe in the Muristan (across from the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer), where we tried some shewarma, a sort of Middle East taco.

For dinners we tried several different places, all moderately priced: Pesto and Osteria's Papas, both Italian restaurants, the former near St. Andrew's and the latter on Salomon Street near Zion Square; the Olde English Tea House on Jaffa Road in the newer downtown; the Quarter Cafe in the Jewish Quarter, with a nice view of the southern end of Temple Mount; Select, an Armenian restaurant inside the Old City near the Jaffa Gate; and the Jerusalem Hotel, a nice outdoor garden restaurant across from the Garden Tomb parking lot about a block north of the Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem. We were a little disappointed in the Olde English Tea House but the others all served excellent meals.

We left LA on Monday afternoon, June 19 and arrived in Israel late Tuesday afternoon. We had one week on our own before joining a tour group from our church on Tuesday, June 27. We spent the entire first week in Jerusalem - mostly in and around the Old City.

A Week Exploring Jerusalem

During the week we went on four different half-day guided walking tours and spent one afternoon at the Israel Museum with a guide for part of the time. The rest of the time we walked to various places either following a guidebook, a map, or my memory from my last visit in 1992.

What follows is the itinerary of our trip.

Tuesday, 6/20

We landed at the Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv at 4:45 PM and, after a long wait for our baggage, took a sherut (shared taxi) to Jerusalem. There were six other passengers, five men and a woman (all Jewish), so we had to make several stops along the way. Some of the passengers were headed for the north part of Jerusalem so the driver took a road that went through a part of the West Bank. We arrived at our destination, St. Andrew's Scottish Church Hospice, just before 8:00 PM.

Wednesday, 6/21

In the morning we left St. Andrew's about 9:00 am and headed for the Old City on foot. We walked past the landmark, 19th-century, Montefiore windmill on our way and entered through the Jaffa Gate. We spent the first hour or so visiting the information centers and getting generally oriented. Shortly before lunch we made our first venture into the Old City. We walked along David Street and the Street of the Chain and ended up at the Western Wall. We came back along different streets through part of the Moslem Quarter.

After lunch we walked some more of the Arab suq or marketplace streets, eventually stopping at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where we spent quite a bit of time. Then we walked through the Jewish Quarter to some viewpoints across from the Western Wall. After dinner in the Jewish Quarter we walked over to Mt. Zion, stopped at David's Tomb, and then crossed the Hinnom Valley to St. Andrew's. We got back after 9:00 PM. It was a long but exciting first day.

Thursday, 6/22

We decided to save our legs so we took a bus to the Old City. We entered through the New Gate and first walked along the back streets of the Christian Quarter. We then signed up for a First Temple Seminar and walking tour which started at 9:30 am and lasted until about 1:30 PM. First there was a slide talk, followed by a walk through the Jewish Quarter with stops at the Israelite Tower and the Broad Wall. Both date to the time of King Hezekiah. We then walked through the Dung Gate and along the outside of the Ophel Archaeological Area, which is just below the south wall of Temple Mount. From there we went to the City of David and finally Warren's Shaft.

These latter two places are connected to David's capture of Jerusalem around 1000 BC as described in 2 Samuel 5:6-9 and 1 Chronicles 11:4-7. The discovery of Warren's Shaft in 1867 has been of interest to archaeologists and Biblical historians ever since. The City of David and Warren's Shaft have been re-investigated in recent years with some interesting results.

When the tour of Warren's Shaft was over we took a taxi to the Israel Museum where we had a tour of the archaeological wing. One of the things we saw was the small pomegranate from the first temple. From the museum we took a bus to one of the newer residential areas from where we walked back to St. Andrew's.

That evening we took a bus to the new downtown area for dinner and walked back to St. Andrew's through Zion Square, the center of the business district.

Friday, 6/23

We again took a bus to the Old City and walked through the New Gate and the back streets of the Christian Quarter. At 9:00 am we started our second walking tour, this time to Mea Shearim which is north of the Old City. We first took a roof top walk over the suq, then went through the heart of the Moslem Quarter along El Wad Road to the Damascus Gate. This was our first time to be in this part of the Old City. As we walked along El Wad Road we passed scores of Moslems who were headed for Temple Mount for Friday prayers.

From the Damascus Gate we walked outside the Old City to the Garden Tomb then to Mea Shearim, an area where the orthodox Jews live. We visited a synagogue, talked to a couple of residents, passed by a school, and met a man who told us we were not welcome. The streets of Mea Shearim are very dirty and littered because the Jews think studying the Torah is much more important than keeping the area clean. It was a very different place.

After leaving Mea Shearim we stopped at an Ethiopian Church before eating lunch at McDonald's near Zion Square.

After lunch we returned to St. Andrew's and moved our luggage by taxi over to the Christ Church Guest House, which is just inside the Jaffa Gate. From there we went to the nearby St. James Cathedral, the headquarters of the Armenian Orthodox Church in Jerusalem. We spent about forty minutes there and observed their Friday afternoon service. After that we walked across the Old City to an area near the Lion's Gate and followed the Friday afternoon procession along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

We had a Shabbat (Sabbath) dinner at Christ Church then in the evening walked down to the Western Wall. There were lots of Jews there praying, reading and singing (plus quite a few tourists like us just observing).

Saturday, 6/24

This was one of our busiest days. We started off looking for Mamluk buildings. The Mamluks were Moslems who ruled Palestine in the 13th and 14th centuries. They developed a rather unique architectural style and many Mamluk structures have survived both inside the perimeter of Temple Mount and along the streets adjacent to Temple Mount.

We first walked along several of the streets for about an hour and a half then spent nearly two hours on Temple Mount. We got chased off at 12:30 PM when it was time for prayers and all non-Moslems were asked to leave. We still had a couple of more streets to visit before heading back to Christ Church. I ended up photographing every Mamluk building we found (plus a lot of other things).

At 2:00 PM we were back at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (our third time there) to see the Chapel of St. Vartan. This is normally off limits to the public but the Armenian bishop at the church had agreed the day before to let Sharon and I go in. The chapel contains an ancient building block with a drawing of a ship left by a visitor to Jerusalem in about 330 AD when the original church was under construction.

After leaving the church we were finally able to stop for some lunch.

We then spent about two hours walking along the wall that surrounds the Old City. We walked from the Jaffa Gate to the Lion's Gate, along the way passing above the New Gate, the Damascus Gate, and Herod's Gate. The views of the city from the wall are really fascinating.

After leaving the wall we stopped at the ruins of the Pool of Bethesda. Next door is St. Anne's Church, which is the best example of Crusader period architecture in Jerusalem.

We next walked along the lower Via Dolorosa, then along El Wad Road toward the Damascus Gate, stopping at an Arab bakery to buy some pastries. From the bakery we walked through the Damascus Gate then into East Jerusalem. We were looking for a restaurant that someone had recommended but we couldn't find it. We ended up walking to the new downtown and eating at an outdoor cafe near Zion Square. It was getting dark as we walked back to Christ Church via the Jaffa Gate. My cameras were ready for a rest since I had taken 244 pictures that day!

Sunday, 6/25

Our tickets for walking on the Old City wall were good for two days so the first thing we did was to walk on the rest of the wall from the Jaffa Gate to the Dung Gate, passing over the Zion Gate along the way. The tickets also gave us entrance to the Ophel Archaeological Area along the south end of Temple Mount where we spent about two hours wandering through archaeological excavations that cover about thirteen hundred years (100 BC to 1200 AD). There is some current archaeological work and we met the chief archaeologist who gave us a brief description of what they were doing.

After lunch we took our third walking tour called Underground Jerusalem. The tour took us outside the Old City, along the wall from the Jaffa Gate around to the Damascus Gate, then through the Old City to the Western Wall. The two main sites we visited were the Roman period part of the Damascus Gate (underneath the more recent gate built in 1540) and the Western Wall Tunnel which extends along the wall and under Moslem buildings up to the northwest corner of Temple Mount.

When we had finished going through the tunnel we left our guide and walked up El Wad Road for another stop at the Arab bakery. From there we walked almost up to the Damascus Gate but turned back on Suq Khan Ez Zeit. El Wad Road and Suq Khan Ez Zeit meet at a Y-shaped intersection just below the Damascus Gate and together form the center of the Arab shopping area within the Old City. The Y-shaped intersection has existed in roughly the same place for almost 1900 years. In Roman times a column with a statue of the emperor Hadrian stood in the plaza between the Y and the city gate.

In the evening we went to the service at Christ Church. They have services on both Saturday (for Jewish or Messianic Christians) and Sunday. It's a very evangelical church, almost more Baptist or Pentecostal than Anglican.

Monday, 6/26

We started the morning with our fourth and last walking tour. We went through the Armenian Quarter and the Zion Gate to Mt. Zion where we stopped at the Dormition Abbey, the Last Supper Room and David's Tomb. Then we walked along the outside of the south wall of the Old City, eventually arriving at the City of David where we had been on our first tour. We went into Warren's Shaft a second time then went down to the bottom of the Kidron Valley next to the Gihon Spring and walked through Hezekiah's Tunnel.

The account of the construction of the water tunnel under Jerusalem by King Hezekiah shortly before the city was besieged by Sennacherib in 701 BC is described in 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chron. 32:2-4, 30. Archaeologists found this tunnel in the 19th century. The tunnel is a third of a mile long, mostly less than three feet wide, and, in a few places, less than five feet in height. Sharon and I, along with five other people, went through the entire tunnel, lit only by our flashlights, wading through chest-high water. It was one of the highlights of our trip! I bought a disposable camera to use in the tunnel and had slides made from the negatives.

The tour ended by walking up to and through the Dung Gate, past the Broad Wall, and back to the area in front of Christ Church.

After lunch we explored the Jewish Quarter and visited the Burnt House, the Herodian Mansion, and the remains of the Nea Church, the largest Christian church ever built in Jerusalem (6th century).

Later we made a second try to find the restaurant we couldn't find Saturday evening. From Christ Church we walked up the Suq Khan Ez Zeit to the Damascus Gate then to the area just beyond the Garden Tomb. This time we were successful.

Tuesday, 6/27

We spent some time wandering through several of the marketplaces before checking out at Christ Church. Most of our time was then spent going through the Citadel, a medieval fortress next to the Jaffa Gate. It has a nice museum of the history of Jerusalem plus some archaeological ruins. It was built on the site of King Herod's palace and the base of one of Herod's towers is still there.

After lunch we took a taxi to the train station. Yes, you read that correctly - Israel does have a railroad system. The main line runs along the Mediterranean coast from Tel Aviv to Haifa with an extension to just below the Lebanese border. There is fairly frequent service along this line.

Another line goes from Tel Aviv (sea level) to Jerusalem (2500' elevation) - about half of it along a winding valley with very little straight track. There is one train a day leaving Tel Aviv in the morning and returning in the afternoon. The train had three rather old and well-worn cars with no air conditioning. Fortunately all of the windows could be opened. The engineer went down the grade fairly fast causing a lot of jerking and rolling through some of the curves. It was a little scary a couple of times as he always seemed to wait until the last possible moment before applying the brakes.

At Tel Aviv we changed to a modern train of eight cars and rode about 25 miles to the coastal town of Netanya where we checked into our hotel and waited for our tour group to arrive from the Tel Aviv airport. They had left Los Angeles the day before and finally got to the hotel about 7:30 PM.

A One-Week Group Tour of Israel

During the next week we toured the Galilee area for two days then went back to the Jerusalem area. Many of the sites we visited were the same as what we saw in 1990 but we also went to places we hadn't visited on the previous trip. Also, because we had a different guide we learned a lot of new things at the sites we were revisiting. The following summarizes what we did each day.

Wednesday, 6/28

Our group, 44 people (including our pastor) plus guide and driver, started out early by bus. We went to Caesarea, Megiddo, Bet Shearim, Haifa, and Nazareth before arriving in Tiberias late in the afternoon. We had been to Caesarea and Megiddo on our 1990 trip but both were worth visiting a second time. Bet Shearim was a new place for us and is where the Jewish leaders of the Talmudic period (2nd-4th centuries AD) were buried in very elaborate tombs. We had been to both Haifa and Nazareth in 1990 but stopped at different locations within the cities on this trip.

Thursday, 6/29

We first stopped to see a first century boat that was found in the Sea of Galilee about 15 years ago, then went to Tabgha (traditional site of the feeding of the 5000), Capernaum, Church of the Beatitudes (traditional site of the sermon on the mount), Caesarea Phillipi, and the Golan Heights before taking a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee and back to Tiberias. Most of this was a repeat of our 1990 trip but we saw a few new things.

Friday, 6/30

We stopped at a diamond factory and Hammath Tiberias Hot Springs before arriving at the Jordan River where our minister conducted a baptismal service for a number of people in our group. Sharon had only been baptized by sprinkling as a child so was immersed in the river.

The next stop was Bet Shean where a large Roman-period city is being excavated. There was a lot more to see than when we were there in 1990 and this time we got to walk through some of the ruins. It was fascinating. (Bet Shean is also where the body of King Saul was hung on the city wall after his death.)

Our next stop was Jericho, then we went up to Jerusalem through the hills of the Judean wilderness, stopping for a view of the 1500-year old St. George's monastery.

Saturday, 7/1

Our first stop was the Shepherd's Field near Bethlehem. While we were there some modern day shepherds brought their flock of sheep and goats up to a well to water them. It was a timely coincidence. From there we went into Bethlehem to visit the Church of the Nativity. We spent more time and saw more of the church than we did in 1990.

Back in Jerusalem we stopped at an outdoor model of first century Jerusalem then went to the Mt. of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane. Our final stop was Samuel's Tomb on the west side of the city. All but the Shepherd's Field and Samuel's Tomb were places we had visited in 1990 but it was still a worthwhile day.

That evening we went to an Israeli folklore program at the Jerusalem YMCA.

Sunday, 7/2

The morning was very full. We went to the Western Wall, Temple Mount, and several places in the Jewish Quarter - the Herodian Mansion, the Cardo, and the Treasures of the Temple. The latter was featured in one of those videos you showed us last summer when we were at your house. We had not been there before. We finished the morning at the Last Supper Room and David's Tomb on Mt. Zion.

After lunch Sharon and I left the group and walked across the Hinnom Valley (a different part of it than we had previously seen) then through the Old City from the Zion Gate to the Damascus Gate from where we took a bus to our hotel. It was extremely hot for Jerusalem - about 100 degrees F - and very smoky due to a large fire that was burning in the hills between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Monday, 7/3

We went to Masada in the morning. When we got to the top we left the main group and walked through the parts of it we had not seen in 1990. We also walked down from the top - something we weren't able to do in 1990.

After Masada we stopped at a Dead Sea resort. Sharon covered herself with mud and soaked in the sea for a while. It makes your skin soft (mine is soft enough already). On the way back to Jerusalem we stopped at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.

Tuesday, 7/4

Our last day in Jerusalem started at the Lion's Gate and we walked along the Via Dolorosa, stopping at the Pool of Bethesda, St. Anne's Church, and the Greek Prison before arriving at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. After some time to shop we ended up at the Citadel.

After a rather late lunch on the Mt. of Olives we went to the Garden Tomb and ended our visit with a short communion service.

Wednesday, 7/5

We had a 5:30 am flight to Athens so had to leave Jerusalem shortly after 2:00 am. On our way to the airport we passed through the area of Sunday's fire where there were still a few hot spots.

A One-Week Group Tour of Greece and Turkey

The next six days were spent in Greece with a short stop at Ephesus in Turkey. This was all new for us.

Upon arrival in Athens we went directly to our hotel and got a couple more hours of sleep before lunch, after which we started a tour of the city. The first part was by bus but we soon got off at the foot of the Acropolis. We first walked up to Mars Hill where Paul met the Athenian philosophers. The hill overlooks the ancient Agora or marketplace.

From Mars Hill we walked to the top of the Acropolis where we saw the Parthenon, the Erecthium, and the other buildings from Athen's classical period (5th century BC). There's also a museum full of ancient statues and other art pieces.

Before dinner Sharon and I walked around the area near our hotel and after dinner we walked to the nearby Plaka, the old (but not ancient) shopping area of Athens.

Thursday, 7/6

We had a day long bus tour to the Peloponese peninsula with our first stop at the Corinth Canal, a waterway across the isthmus finished in the 19th century. Nearby is ancient Corinth where Paul spent considerable time. A good part of the city has been excavated and a few structures partially restored.

From Corinth we went south to Mycenae, where we saw Agamemnon's Tomb and the Lion Gate. The tomb was in the shape of a large beehive built into the side of a hill and dates to sometime late in the second millenium BC. The carved stone Lion Gate is equally old (12th century BC) and was the entrance into a Mycenaean burial area on the side of a hill across from Agamemnon's Tomb.

After dinner that evening Sharon and I went on a walk that took us all the way around the base of the Acropolis which is floodlit at night. The walk provided us with some interesting night time views of the Parthenon and the other buildings and brought us back to our hotel through more of the Plaka.

Friday, 7/7

We went by bus to the port area of Piraeus to board the MTS Triton, an 800-passenger cruise ship. We sailed about 11:30 am and arrived at our first stop, the island of Mykonos, shortly before 5:00 PM. We anchored in a cove and went ashore on a small shuttle boat, then by bus into the town, which was about a mile away.

The town was typical of magazine pictures of Greek Islands in the Aegean Sea - whitewashed buildings with brightly painted doors, window frames, and staircase railings. The buildings were clustered around a small harbor filled with fishing and pleasure boats. Sprinkled among the shops and houses were a number of small Greek Orthodox churches, many just a single room not much bigger than a living room in a house. We just walked around the town, looked into a few shops, sat on the harbor seawall to watch the people, and had our picture taken with the town mascot - a pinkish pelican - before going back to our ship for a late dinner. The ship sailed from Mykonos about 10:00 PM.

Saturday, 7/8

Just after breakfast we docked at Rhodes which lies just off the southwest corner of Turkey. Rhodes is one of the largest Greek islands and was the site of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Shortly after docking we left by bus for a short tour of the modern town of Rhodes. Then we got off the bus and walked through a part of the Old Town - one of the best preserved walled, medieval cities in the world.

The bus then took us to Lindos, a small town part way down the east coast of Rhodes. Lindos has an acropolis, similar to the one in Athens, but much smaller. There are ruins of pagan temples and a Byzantine church on top. There are also some great views of the Lindos harbor and the coastline.

We got back to our ship in time for lunch then Sharon and I headed off on our own to explore more of the Old Town. We walked most of the back streets through the residential part of the town. The streets were very narrow with lots of arches, interesting entrances, and small courtyards. Many of the homes still had their original medieval exteriors but the interiors had been updated as much as possible. There were also a number of mosques reflecting the long period of Turkish rule.

Sunday, 7/9

We again sailed overnight and about 7:00 am we anchored just off Patmos, the island where John wrote the Book of Revelation. Shuttle boats took us ashore and we went by bus part way up a mountain to a small church, which was built on the site where John supposedly did his writing while living on the island. From there we went to the top of the mountain, the last part on foot. At the top was a 1000-year old monastery with a lot of preserved art work and a museum containing more ancient art objects and a manuscript of the Gospel of John dating to the 5th century.

From Patmos we sailed to the port city of Kusadasi on the west coast of Turkey. A short bus ride took us to ancient Ephesus, a large archaeological site where the ruins of literally dozens of magnificent Roman period structures and connecting streets have been excavated. A number of the buildings have been partially restored. The structures that really stand out are the temples of Trajan and Hadrian, the Library of Celsius, and the 20,000-seat theater. The visit to Ephesus was truly another highlight of the trip.

From Ephesus we went back to Kusadasi and, after a visit to a carpet store and a short walk through the shopping area (Kusadasi had some of the most aggressive sales people we encountered on our entire trip) we boarded our ship. The ship's departure was delayed two hours by a fairly strong wind, which kept the ship from backing away from the pier. That night there were some fairly deep swells as we headed back to Piraeus across the Aegean Sea.

Monday, 7/10

Our bus met us as we docked about 8:00 am and we headed north for Delphi, passing through rolling hills and farm country along the way. Delphi is in a magnificent setting about 2500' up on the side of 9000' Mt. Parnasus, Greece's second highest mountain. It was the home of the Oracle of Delphi who, in ancient times, answered people's questions about the future. We saw more Greek and Roman ruins plus a museum full of ancient statutes and other artifacts.

Back in Athens that evening we took one more walk to the Plaka for some last minute shopping.

We had to go back to Israel before flying home. This made the airfare less expensive by doing the entire trip on EL AL. We also got to spend some time in Tel Aviv, which we didn't do in 1990 (although I had been there in 1992).

Tuesday, 7/11

The day started with an early flight back to Tel Aviv. We were met by our guide and bus driver and headed for the old port of Joppa, or Jaffa as it is now called. After a short walking tour of Jaffa we checked into our last hotel which was right on the Mediterranean. Sharon and I headed for downtown Tel Aviv where we walked through one of the early 20th century residential areas then to the outdoor Carmel Market, a crowded, narrow street of open air shops selling almost everything imaginable. After lunch we walked up to the newer shopping area, through a mall, then back to our hotel. Sharon went down to the beach while I went off for a few last photographs.

About 9:00 PM we headed for the airport and a 12:30 am EL AL flight to New York.

Wednesday, 7/12

Our flight from New York landed in Los Angeles about 9:15 am and we were back home by noon.

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