Sunny and high 70s
After a huge buffet breakfast we took the bus along the Mediterranean coastline north to Caesaria – considered the center of early Christianity. From there we went to Mt Carmel where Elijah challenged the false prophets. We had lunch nearby –falafel pita, which we ate outside on picnic tables.
From Mt Carmel we could see the Megiddo Valley where Armageddon will take place. We walked through old ruins that date back 30 generations. Beautiful sandstone and pillars.
Above-/ ruins on Mt Carmel
There were black millipedes up in the ruins that creeped me out. Otherwise we haven’t seen any wildlife except dozens of stray cats wherever we stop. And as my traveling partner is a crazy cat lady, Savannah makes a new friend wherever we stop.
From Mt Carmel we drove to Nazareth! Seems so surreal that we could do that. I imagined it to be quite rural but actually it’s built up on a hill in a mostly Arab area.
We went up to the large church which is built over the home of Mary, mother of Jesus. The home where she was when Gabriel came to tell her if God’s plan for a savior.
Inside that church we could get up close to her home and it was quite touching to feel that presence there.
The church and surrounding courtyards are filled with paintings or art depicting Mary. Each work is donated by a different country. It is a Franciscan Catholic Church. I saw the Mary from Italy, Brazil, USA and many other countries. Beautiful art in oils and stained glass and mosaics.
This was the first place we had to pay to use the bathroom. Two sheckles and NO toilet paper!
From there we walked back to our bus. I must say a word about our bus driver here. It seems he’s a magician as he maneuvers that huge bus up and down mountains, through narrow streets designed for a Donkey cart, and around roundabouts without blinking. He surely has some power that makes the bus stretch thin as people zip in and out and all around him!
Our final stop was to be the church at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding feast. We were dropped off and started walking down the alleyway of cobbled stones and were met by another group who said we missed the site– the church closed already. We were just going to read the story from the Bible when one of the ladies in our group stumbled. An ambulance had to be called and the police had to come get a report from our guide.
Finally we headed toward Tiberius to the Sea of Galilee and checked into the Leonardo Hotel. Its after sundown so we can’t see the lake yet but our balcony on the 9th floor overlooks the lake and the pool. Tomorrow we get to go sailing out there!
We just had a delicious buffet dinner/- oh my goodness so much food available. I can’t eat a lot of it but what I can eat is delicious.
Our tour guide has been awesome. He’s Jewish and about 40 years old. He’s extremely knowledgeable about scripture and history. He makes sure we read accounts in the old and new testaments to authenticate our experience.
I have to keep reminding myself we are really here, to pay attention and commit it to memory…and that I can’t tell my mom all about it when we get home.