Nazareth is the place where Jesus spent most of his childhood years and is also the place where the Angel Gabriel appeared before Mary to tell her that she would be carrying the Son of God in her womb. Herod the Great was King of the Jews at that time and in the Book of Matthew, it is mentioned that he ordered the killing of all boys aged two and below out of fear that he would lose the throne. Before the violent massacre took place, Joseph was warned by an angel in a dream to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt where they would stay for a few years until the death of Herod.
We visited the Nazareth Village in Galilee, on open-air museum which is a re-creation of what Nazareth was like during the time of Jesus. The Nazareth Village is a non-profit organization that is able to operate through contributions, entrance fees and gift shop sales. Below are names of people and groups who have shown their support through the Builders’ Walk. If you wish to contribute a gift of $250 or more, you get a stone engraved with the words of your choice and then it is installed permanently in the Builder’s Walk.
Daniel Stanger, Tour Manager of the Nazareth Village talked about how they run the organization and also shared some “nerdtastic” stories about what life was like in the first century. My inner archaeologist hungered for more.
After the indoor museum tour, we stepped into a farm lined with olive trees.
We also met some volunteers who play Nazareth villagers and illustrate what daily life was like back then.
Souvenirs are a must for every traveler. In the all the places I’ve been to, I’ve purchased magnets, accessories and local products that are unique to the place. Whenever I feel the urge to over-spend, I tell myself two things: baggage limit and storage. When I went to Egypt, I knew that I had to get papyrus paper. Of course in my head I was thinking it’s light, it’s thin, it can easily fit into one of my flat luggage pockets. When I got to the shop, I was enticed to take home not just plain papyrus but those with Egyptian hand-painted illustrations.
You can’t just slip paintings like that into pockets right? The good thing is, Golden Eagle Papyrus has a special way of storing the painting—you roll up the papyrus paper, put it in a circular cardboard case and slip it into your bag.
My friends know that I am such a sucker for aromatherapy. Lavender and mint are my favorite essential oils because they give off such a clean, calming scent that puts me to sleep easily. Purchasing these oils weren’t part of my original plan. I walked into the oil shop, listened to the demonstration and like most of my companions, I walked out of the store with these bottles:
SHOPPING IN ISRAEL
Since we were to spend five days in Israel, I expected to spend more on souvenirs. When we took a dip in the Dead Sea, I thought “Maybe I should gather some of the mud and take it home!” I was told by our travel coordinator Tita Mina that someone from the previous Holy Land trip did take some of the mud but they weren’t even done with the trip when it started to stink. As tempting as it is to take the free-flowing Dead Sea mud, we have to first learn how to handle and preserve it correctly. So really, Ahava products are the closest you can get. They’re manufactured in Israel and they’re much cheaper too.
Our first legit souvenir stop was at the Nissan Brothers Store in Bethlehem. They had so much to choose from—olive wood Bibles, olive wood carvings and sculptures, crosses, jewelry and gemstones, holy water, holy oil, holy soil, olive oil products, Dead Sea Salt products, the list goes on and on.
We went to a lot of tourist spots after that, of course there were small stores selling souvenirs but they pretty much carried the same items found at the Nissan Brothers Store.
That evening, my companions discovered the shops at the lobby of the Hotel Rimonim. They were fixated on the jewelry being sold because the prices were remarkably cheaper than the other places we’ve been to. Other than jewelry, I saw more interesting shirts, camel leather products, sculptures, figurines, magnets and even bags.
I bought camel leather wallets for my dad and brother and cross necklaces for me and my Lola.
I also got myself a Star of David pendant from a store in Nazareth, Jerusalem pouches from a small stall outside Cana (the place where Jesus turned water into wine for a wedding celebration) and an Eliat stone ring at Galilee.
Now let’s proceed to JORDAN.
Jordan for me was much more festive and colorful. Jordan is well-known for their mosaic art. We visited the mosaic factory in Madaba where we saw how the artists carefully arranged the colorful tiles into beautiful pieces.
I was tempted to purchase some mosaic artwork but since Jordan was our last country, I was getting more worried about my baggage limit. Mind you, the mosaic pieces are heavy. Every night, when we’d get to the hotel, my roommate Lizza and I would unpack and re-arrange our luggage just to make sure everything still fits in.
Here are the other items I got from Jordan:
Pashmina scarves from a Bedouin at Petra
Myrrh smells like Christmas ($7)
Frankincense smells like a Cathedral ($7)
Do you think I purchased too little or too much? If you were to visit these countries, what do you think you’d spend a lot on?
Let me know on the comment box below. Thank you for reading!
FINALLY! I finished this travel video! WHOOOO! When I edit videos, my tendency is to really get lost in time because I want to finish a project. It was a challenge to complete this because of my crazy schedule at work, events and ministry.
I spent weeks going through 600-800 video clips, noting which ones are good from those that are just crappy and blurry. So ladies and gents, my dear blog readers, here is ISRAEL IN MOTION (done with lots of love)!!!