Going through customs and picking up our luggage we were both excited and nervous to think that we were now in the Middle East. We knew as soon as we landed in Tel Aviv, that this would be very different than the pilgrimage last year to Italy. We were among Orthodox Jews, Muslims and Christians from all over the world. To Christians, this was the Holy Land, to Jews, this was Israel, and to the Muslims, this was Palestine. Most of us had very little exposure to people of these other religions, languages and cultures.
After being greeted by our guides from The Catholic Travel Centre, we boarded busses for the 2 ½ hour ride to Tiberius. We stopped at a roadside restaurant, for a quick snack on the way, and then finally arrived in Tiberias, an Israeli city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. We checked into our home for the next 3 days: the Leonardo Plaza Hotel, Tiberias. Each room had an amazing view of the Sea of Galilee from from the balcony.
Some of the pilgrims walked along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, visited a few little shops, or relaxed in the hotel until the arrival of the last group of pilgrims from the diocese. They enjoyed an wonderful buffet dinner at the hotel and then had a good night's sleep.