Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Galilee and the Golan Heights

We've had two great days here in Israel. I'm writing this post from the Kibbutz Lavi Hotel in Galilee, where the rooms all have free Wifi.

a view from Haifa
We left Tel Aviv early Monday morning. Our first stop was Caesarea, where I saw my first Roman ruins. From there we went to Haifa, Israel's third largest city. The views of the Mediterranean in Haifa are stunning.

Our next stop was Meggido, the place where the final battle between good and evil, or Armaggedon, is supposed to take place. We ate lunch in a town called Akko. Our guide took us to a great restaurant and we ate a ridiculous amount of amazing food. Out last stop of the day was Nazareth. This was definitely my favorite part of the day. We went to a church built on the site of Mary's home, the place where she learned she was pregnant with Jesus, the Annunciation. I have to admit, I was quite moved. I can only imagine how some of the other places on our tour will make me feel. Adding to the atmosphere, as we left the church the Muslim call to prayer began. Our last stop was another church, this one built on the site of Joseph's home. By the time we made it to the kibbutz, we were exhausted.

from the boat on the Sea of Galilee
Today began with a very nice breakfast at the kibbutz, and then we drove to the Sea of Galilee. It's really a lake, but they called any large bodies of water Seas back in the day. We took a short boat ride, and the views from the water of the surrounding area were beautiful.

Back on land, we went to Tabgha, where there is a church built on the site where Jesus multiplied 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread to feed thousands. Not far from there is Mt. of Beatitudes. This is where Jesus delivered his Sermon on the Mount. There is a church at the site now (common for these historical sites), and I watched as a Romanian priest led his group in prayer. This was another moment where I was surprisingly moved. The next part of the trip took us through the Golan Heights.We stopped in Banias, where the River Jordan originates. Coming down from the Golan Heights, we ate a late lunch on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. After lunch we went to Capernaum, the village where Jesus lived with Peter. Our last stop today was the River Jordan again, this time the place where John baptized Jesus. It's common for people to be baptized in this spot, or rebaptized, and it was interesting to watch a couple women being baptized..  

We had a late dinner with the tour group here at the kibbutz, and I'm quickly winding down. We leave for Jerusalem tomorrow, so it'll be another busy day. Isarael seems to have Wifi everywhere, so I'll check in again tomorrow or the next day.


  1. I'm enjoying these updates. Thanks man.

  2. Oooo jet-settin around the Mediterranean world eh? You deserve it, Tim!

  3. I LOVE the photos! Spectacular clouds! Even though I don't have that faith thing going on, I would be moved as well to be in places that are considered by many to be so holy. (On another note, though, I can be moved to tears by walking in what I consider to be one of the holiest places on Earth: Yosemite Valley.)
    Have you had a chance to talk to the people who live there? That is the most interesting part of travel for me.

  4. As a foodie I am requesting food pics. Yay for WiFi and for having us be a part of your journey.

  5. This post makes me very nostalgic having been on a press trip to Israel and stayed on the Sea of Galilee, seen Nazareth and Meggido, where one of the most important an biggest battles of antiquity was fought - sigh