Thursday, February 18, 2016

Exploring Nazareth

Sunday morning, the whole Manrrique family, Mike and myself headed out for some sight seeing. Kristy and the kids were joining us in the morning before heading back for birthday parties and soccer practice that evening, while David, Mike and I hit up a few more sights.

In the morning, the rain followed us up to Mount of Precipice, where an angry mob tried to push Jesus off of the mountain, but instead, he just disappeared into the mist. It was kind of fitting that it was foggy that morning because it almost felt like Jesus was among us. Pope Francis (my bff Frank) also came here when he visited Israel in 2014 and performed mass for 40,000 people. I can't imagine that many people being on that mountain. Truly a miracle.

View from the Mount

















Once we were done on Mount of Precipice, our next stop was the Church (Basilica as some call it) of the Annunciation, where the remains of Mary's childhood home are believe to be. We had to drive through some crazy small streets and dodge a lot of parked cars, but it was totally worth it. It was a beautiful church and it was incredible to be in the location where Mary grew up. Throughout our trip to Israel, I would find myself just in awe that we were in places that were so significant to the major religions of the world.


















By this time, it was time for lunch, so we stopped and got some falafel and it didn't disappoint. It was so good that Mike had two!! After lunch, Kristy and the kids headed back home and David, Mike and I continued on to the Mount of Beatitudes, which is where Jesus is believed to have given his sermon on the mount. It's probably my favorite sight that we saw in Tel Aviv and the surrounding area just because of it's incredible beauty.  



















Our last stop for the day was wine tasting. Definitely not a religious sight (although Jesus did turn water into wine….), but an equally worthwhile stop. Mike and I usually buy a bottle of wine from each place that we visit, although we're each only allowed to bring two bottles back to Turkey, so sometimes we're a little limited. We really enjoyed the wine at Tabor Winery and our host was extremely insightful into wine making. David bought two bottles and I'm sure we would have walked away with more than one bottle if we weren't so limited.

When we got back from our day's excursion, Mike and I headed out with Kristy to pick up her daughter at the birthday party. I've never seen a 7 year old birthday party like this one (and I worked in a first grade classroom!). The family had rented out an entire play area for the birthday party and had food and beverages for the children, as well as the adults. When we walked in, we were greeted with an offering of champagne! By the time we left, Mike and I had a photo magnet with our picture on it and I'm pretty sure there was at least $10 worth of toys in the gift bag that each guest got.

We ended the night pretty early because Mike and David were planning on getting up to watch the Superbowl at 2:00am. They did and both were pretty glad that they did. I was pretty glad I got to sleep.

We were sad to say goodbye to the Manrriques and Tel Aviv, but we'll see them in a few weeks at the Olmsted Class of 2015 reunion. We are super thankful for all of the time that the Manrriques spent showing us around and hanging out with us. We had a ton of fun with them and hope that one day we get to reciprocate!

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