If Only We Could Walk on Water!

Today’s walk was a brutal 16 miles.  The path to Capernaum was very nice and you will see the photos of our walk there.  Afterwards we walked to Tiberius on the Israeli Trail since the Jesus Trail only took us as far as Capernaum.  

Let me put it this way:  At one point, we started yelling, “Help” to a man in the distance.  He just stood there with arms crossed looking like he may have a gun and was waiting to see if we were dangerous!  I think we scared him, but we were desperate!  So, no help.  

The Israeli path from Ginosar to Tiberius is for those who want an adventure.  While we are not opposed to an adventure, we did not anticipate this type of adventure.  We walked in brush, in mud, next to barbed wire fences (the kind you can’t even hold on to as you are stepping on slippery rocks), accross several streams climbing high banks on each side to rejoin the path, in knee deep water along a water falls, finally ending up in a resort on the Sea of Galilee (where a guard finally gave us permission to cross so we could reach the highway!)   Once we got on the Israeli path, there was no way to exit it until the very end.  It appears that private property owners claim rights up to the Sea of Galilee and fence their property so that no one can cross from the Sea to any road access.  Hence, the Isreali path requires you to literally walk in the Sea!  

We are now sipping tea in the Tiberius Hostel, having taken a warm shower and airing our boots out to dry on the window sill.  We are both bruised, picking out thorns in our skin……and deciding how we can treat ourselves tonight on the Shabbat when all grocery stores and restaurants are closed!!!!!!  This was a day to remember!  If only we could walk on water!!!!!!!!

J’s quote for the day:  “Israeli Trails are not very user friendly, are they?”  Now, that is an understatement!  At least we can laugh about it now that we are on dry land!  

Photos 1,2 and 3:  Mary Magdalena’s Church (built on the site where Mary lived)

Photo 4:  The Green Path around Ginosar.  (It was promising!!!)

Photos 5-7:  Capernaum (Where Jesus spent a lot of time and where he recruited most of the disciples)

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Addendum:  Relaxing

What a lovely evening after a strenuous walk!  Nothing like a shower, some tea, and sitting on the veranda by the Sea of Galilee after a short stroll ~

Worry is A Waste of Time

Last night, I worried about today’s hike.  The book describes the hike up and down Mt. Arbel as “difficult” with loose rocks and rock climbing on steep hills.  The owner of the home where we stayed last night fixed a lovely breakfast and I was too nervous to eat much!  It turned out that the  first part of the hike (Mt. Arbel) was actually pretty awesome;  challenging at times, but the views were awesome.  The last 10 kilometers of today’s hike were rated as “easy”.  Well, the last 10 kilometers were very difficult and confusing  This was the part that I did not worry about!  

Highlights were the remains of a Jewish synagogue in Arbel, views of the Wadi Hamam from the trail, remains of an Ottoman fortress on Mt. Arbel as well as caves in the side of Mt. Arbel……and Pilgerhaus, our accommodation for tonight on the Sea of Galilee.  Clean, restful, great shower and views from the balcony of the Sea.  We are right on the banks of the Sea of Galilee!  Amazing!  We need to plan for our last day of hiking tomorrow!  The end of the Jesus Trail!

The last 2 photos are from our place in Moshe Arbel.  The rest are from our Mt. Arbel walk!

Horns of Hattin

The Crusaders battled here in 1187 and were defeated by the Muslim forces.  Well, we climbed the Horns of Hattin and I can vouch this is no easy climb!  

We left our gypsy camp after a lovely breakfast of homemade quiche, salad from the garden, cantaloupe and an eggplant dish that was delicous.  We ate with Victor from Lyon, France.  A funny guy who had just quit his job as a social worker and is now planning to open his own spiritual center featuring yoga and other forms of relaxation and meditation.  He kept us laughing!  Victor started out after us this morning and got lost about as many times as we did, so we finally started walking together around 11AM and did better reading the signs and the GPS.  Takes 3 sometimes!!!  He convinced us to take a “shortcut” which meant we climbed over the Horns of Hattin.  Breathtaking views, but a real killer on the legs and feet.  Victor hurt so much that he hitchhiked when we got to the road below!  

We ran into a slight snag in our plans.  After walking to Moshe Arbel and finally finding the apartment we rented in the first floor of a house, we discovered that all grocery stores and all restaurants were closed.  Not that there are many, but we googled and found one store and one restaurant nearby.  It is the last day of Passover and apparently a holiday for Druze (many of whom live in this area).  Luckily, the man who owns this place had pity on us and brought us some food for dinner …….and we quickly signed up for breakfast in the morning.  The town is literally shut down.  No stores, no transportation, no nothing!  

The last 3 photo are from this morning at Ilaniya and the rest are from our walk- mostly around and over the Horns of Hattin.

Our hippie lodging for the night!

J said all the places within a days walk from Cana were booked since this week is Passover, so he booked a tent!  Well, after walking 5 kilometers out of our way (and 5 kilometers back!), we found the “tent”!  It is actually a petty nice place up in a little village called Ilaniya.  I quickly got over the extra 10 kilometers of hiking when I saw the place!

Only 550 people live in this town, but our place is peaceful, tiny and interesting!  The pictures don’t do the place justice.  The place is a virtual flower garden with stone paths, hammocks, lounging chairs, outdoor kitchen areas, a jacuzzi, little guest rooms made of stone.  Our “room” looks like a little wooden shack – almost like a wooden camper – complete with a tiny sink/kitchen,  table and bed.  The bathroom is outside.  Our option was to sleep in what reminds me of a Bedouin tent.  Huge, with cushions in a circle around a central stove.  The little camper was cozier!  A very pleasant surprise!  Hope the bed is comfortable.  Last night’s bed was NOT!  Anyway, we certainly are finding this hike interesting.  The accommodations alone are a story worth telling!

Last photo:  Cana Wedding Guest House

2nd last 2 photos:  Our hike

The rest:  Our hippie lodging!

P.S. Our breakfast tomorrow is all from the garden.  Should be a treat!  

Sore legs after 14 miles

We easily found our way out of Nazareth, starting with a climb up 406 steps!  The markings were great…..until we got to a meadow filled with flowers.  The signs suddenly disappeared and we were lost for the next couple hours.  So, we took the long way over several hills I am sure were not on the trail, over several horse paths that I am sure were not on the trail and finally around a forest that was definitely was not on the trail.  But, we ended up at Zippori National Park where we picnicked, saw some old Roman roads and mosaics as well as a water system that was amazing!  

We arrived in Cana by about 4PM and visited the church where Jesus attended the wedding and turned water into wine.  We are staying next to the church at the Cana Wedding Guest House.  Sounds like a lovely guest house?  Well, it reminds us vividly of a place we stayed on the Portuguese Camino (my sister Beth will remember it well!)…..and let’s just say it’s an extension of someone’s home and is overpriced even had we only paid $10 a night!  We did have dinner here and it was delicious, although after a 14 mile walk perhaps anything is delicious!  We have the VIP room which means we have a private bath and shower.  That means they sectioned off a corner of our small bedroom and put in a plastic bathroom.  The curtains are bright red and shear.  The walls are paper thin and there are a group of young people staying in the house too.  But the owner said we can have free tea and coffee!  Oh, what walkers will put up with!! 

We had sunshine all day and the spring flowers were abundant and lovely.    The sore legs will be better.  Nothing a little Advil can’t cure…and a good nights sleep!

Photo #1:  Somewhere right after Nazareth (before we got lost!)

Photo #2:  Taken from our Guest House patio in Cana looking at the Church where Jesus turned water into wine. 

Photo #3:  The Cana church

Photo 4,5,6,7,8:  Zippori National Park

Photo 9:  Lost

Photo 10:  Found (Between Zippori and Cana)

The rest of the photos are all Nazareth.  We are “fresh” at the beginning of the Trail!  Nothing like we look now!!!!

Ever Hopeful:  So Far, so Good!

We left Bethlehem this morning before 8AM headed to Jerusalem, Afula and on to Nazareth.  We arrived in Nazareth round 1PM and checked into the Casa Nova, a guest house run by the Franciscan priests.  It’s a nice, clean place directly accross from the Church of the Annunciation!  I took a photo from our room.  Can’t get any closer.  This church is the bit draw for Nazareth.  Although the church itself is only about 50 years old, it was built on the ruins of 2 former churches; one from the 4th Century and one from the time of the Crusaders.  It is believed to be the sight where the angel appeared to Mary and told her she was to be the mother of God.  It is a beautiful church with mosaics from countries all over the world.  

There is also a church of St. Joseph built over the sight of Joseph’s workshop.  Quite interesting actually.  Visited the spice market and St. Gabiel’s Orthodox Church as well as Mary’s Well and the Souk.  We plan to get to bed early.  Tomorrow we begin our walk on the Jesus Trail. 

Photo #1:  Leaving Bethlehem on the bus early this morning.  We are hopeful!!!!

Photo #2;  View from our room window at the Casa Nova

Photo #3 and 4:  Inside the Basilica (Church of the Annunciation)

Photo #5 and 6:  Outside St. Joseph and inside St. Joseph

Photo #7:  Looking toward the Basilica

Photo #8”. St. Gabriel Orthodox Church

Photo #9:  Mary’s Well