The Scenic Sea of Galilee
When we woke up and wandered ibto the lounge room the view was amazing! The sea looked really cool in the morning sun. Over breakfast we decided to head North for the first of our few days around the Sea of Galilee. In the road by mid morning we stopped off for a quick drive through Rosh Pinnah which is a small Jewish community that some Christadelphian’s helped set up. Then we kept heading North to Tel Dan. After coming in through the kibbutz instead of the visitors entry, we parked up and went for a wander along a tributary of the Jordan.
There were a couple of cool things to see here. We saw the area where Jeroboam set up a high place for people to worship God, rather than let his people go down to the rightful place of worship in Jerusalem from 1 Kings 12:25-33 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1Kgs%2012:25-1Kgs%2012:33).
We also walked through the city gate which is probably the one that Boaz sat in when Ruth saw him in Ruth 4:1. As we left Dan we got a little lost and actually headed towards the Lebanon border, which you cannot cross. There was a significant amount of signage and razor wire to advise us of our error. Once back on track we stopped at a little Lebanese restaurant (in Israel) where a cute family served us up delicious food. With full bellies we headed east towards Syria but stopped well short of the border crossing at Nimrods Fortress. It’s a pretty impressive structure with an amazing view. It’s Clare’s favourite part of Israel! It’s so beautiful and rural.
The fortress itself was built by Muslim’s in the 13th century AD, we sat there on this crazy hill top ruined fortress with the Golan Heights sprawling beneath us with nothing but the wind whipping around us. Then from nowhere we could hear gun fire and shelling so we figured it might be best to keep moving. Life just goes on for everyone up there. It’s a pretty full on place to even think of living. As we started to make our way South along the Syrian border we past a heap of abandoned tanks. Why not grab a few quick pics then. Didn’t seem like that great of an idea when 200m down the road we were flagged down by Israeli Soldiers who questioned us to see if we had taken anything off the tanks.
A few days earlier in Jerusalem at the Notre Damme Hotel we had enjoyed a pretty tasty Pelter wine. Clare enjoyed it so much she decided to see where the winery was. We were stoked to find that it was on the road back from the Golan Heights. So we made this our last stop for the day. What an experience it was. We met the winemaker “Tal” who had spent some time in Perth in Australia. He was such a great guy. He had one of his assistants take us right though the place where we could taste some of the grapes that had just come in, drink some half fermented white wine and even try some ageing red from an oak barrel. While we sampled the wines we were given breads, oils and a few kinds of cheeses, all made by Tal’s wife from her goats. As we sat there chatting and loving life he even brought us over one of his last bottles of a 2007 wine that tasted amazing. The staff were really nice too telling us all about life in their kibbutz and one girl had us cracking up as she explained her Cheshire Cat tattoo. It reminds her that everyone is crazy she said. We got a little carried away and left with quite a big box full of wine and cheese.
On the way home we stopped in Tiberius for a crazy park in the busy city and got some pizza to eat at home with another bottle of wine looking over the Sea of Galilee.
Starting to feel a little weary from te mega days we started this one with a quick visit to Migdal. There wasn’t much to see. But Mary Magdalene is mum’s favourite bible character so she enjoyed seeing the location of the city she was from. As we drove around Migdal and then off to find the Galilee Boat Museum we got a little lost and it became very apparent just how annoying mum and me were as back seat drivers. Luckily Clare and Dad did find the galilee boat which was pretty interesting thinking about Jesus and his disciples cruising around in something similar. After glancing a local otter on the rocks we climbed the tower for a nice view over the sea. While we were up there Dad showed us a cool little card Grandpa had given him about his time in Israel which was quite moving. From the waters edge we headed uphill to Mount Beautitudes which is where Jesus shared the words of Matthew 6.
Of course there is a big filthy church on the site so we snuck around the back to avoid it, only to be met by a large banana plantation. We still had a nice glimpse down toward Migdal and Tiberius. As we made our way back to the waters edge to Capernaum, Clare was not the happiest of campers to be told her shorts were too short to enter the site. So she waited in the car while mum, dad and I had a quick wander through the recreation of the synagogue where the paralytic was lowered down Jesus through the roof from Mark chapter 4 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=mark%202&version=ESV) With the bellies rumbling we stopped at a waterside cafe for some chicken schnitzel (surprisingly hard to find OS) which was great. Dad really enjoyed the dates for dessert and as he does was given a massive bag full after chatting to the waiter about them.
We headed off in the direction of Bethsaida but got a little lost along the way before passing the armed guard (everyone here seems to carry a gun) arriving and having the old ruins all to ourselves. Although pretty run down the ruins show an old fisherman’s house which could have belonged to Peter, James or John.
After dipping our toes into the Jordan river, we continued our trip our clockwise circuit around the Sea of Galilee we stopped off at En Gev which is opposite Tiberius. It’s a Kibbutz which has a great seafood restaurant, but we decided it was probably too. At to drive back too for dinner and went looking for a road up the mountainside in search of the place that Legion was from in Mark chapter 5.
Getting a little tired and laughing a lot at things that weren’t funny we made our way around the bottom off the lake and back up to Tiberius for an evening river cruise. We waited almost an hour for the boat driver until we had decided he probably wasn’t coming. Luckily he did eventually show up and we relaxed and chatted as we cruised on the water. Tiberius looked pretty unreal all lit up. It was just magic to be out there. After the cruise there was just time for an argument with a racist pizza bloke, who pretended he couldn’t speak English while continuing to serve the locals. Obviously he didn’t remember he had served us in English the day before? We were stoked it was a short walk to a nicer pasta place for some take-away grub. We headed home for; surprise surprise, dinner and a bottle of wine over looking the Sea of Galilee one last time.