And so ends
day three! It kind of feels like day two, though, since days one and two
actually smooshed together in my brain. But here ends February 3rd,
And what a
day it was, too! I was really excited for today, and it proved to be even more
amazing than I anticipated. Sleeping last night was hard; I woke up (along with
my roommate, Aimee) around 2AM, and so we briefly went exploring, including
down to the beach. The water, and whole area, was very quiet and calm at night,
even though the most we could see of the Sea of Galilee was a big black
back to bed at around 4AM, and then woke up at 6 for our day to start! We briefly looked around the Sea of Galilee (finally! daylight! We can explore!).
|Ready to explore!|
|The beach didn't really have sand--just lots of tiny seashells.|
|Some of my fellow adventurers.|
Breakfast was tasty. Pizza focaccia, shakshouka, salty feta cheese (I can't
remember what it is called), other cheeses, some kinda of breakfast casserole
thingy, olives, a sesame croissant, and mushrooms.
Focaccia tasted just like pizza, only less cheesy! I can see this being a
teenager's preferred breakfast food. Shakshouka was, like I heard, exactly like
how it look: eggs poached in tomato. It was tasty. The feta was AMAZING, and
salty, but so crumbly and mmm. There was also something that tasted very
similar to Gouda, a Brie with walnuts in it (also delicious), and some soft
spreadable cheeses that were like a slimy Philadelphia, but better.
The casserole was WEIRD. It was bready and eggy with peppers and spaghetti (?).
I don't know what it was. It was okay, but mostly just confusing.
The olives were also fabulous. So juicy and slightly salty and everything I
dreamed an olive could be. The brown ones were best. The sesame croissant was
kind of sweet and really nutty and lovely. The mushrooms were mushrooms.
Nothing new there.
Cookie was like shortbread with raisins in it. The dates were not like the ones
at home. Plump and kind of crunchy, slightly less sweet. Very good.
breakfast, it was off to our first stop of the day—a memorial on the Sea of
Galilee just outside the Golan Heights. Back when the heights were controlled
by Syria (which, by the way, I could possibly walk to right now…I didn’t
realize quite how close I would be), Syrians used to sit on the hills and
sniper shoot Israeli fishermen. There was a quick and fierce battle, involving
the IDF and the Navy SEALS (although the Navy SEALS quickly retreated, which is
an interesting event), Israel got back the heights. Now there’s a memorial to
recognize the people who died in the battle.
The memorial is right by an active mine field, so we couldn’t
really explore nearby.
Best part, though, was a little rock formation. Tradition
dictates that the little rocky slope is where Jesus put the demons into the
pigs and they all charged down the hill (see Matthew 8). First actual Bible
|You can see the cave where they would have been on the left|
From there we went up to the Mount of Beatitudes, where the
Sermon on the Mount is preached. There is a large monastery up there now, but
we can explore some of the area. They’ve done some tests and, indeed, if you
are preaching from the top of this mount, people can hear you down below—there is
natural acoustics at play. That explains how Jesus was able to preach to
|Overlooking the Sea of Galilee|
|Me on the church's balcony|
|Inside the church|
|What Jesus would have seen while preaching|
|Signs with verses were all around the monastery, most in Latin|
|Bread and fish|
Next stop was another church, where Jesus fed the 5000. We
got to see the actual rock where Jesus stood! (Traditional site, anyway.)
|The monastery is in the trees on the left, so people would have been all in the fields to listen|
|Door to the church|
If you see that fish mosaic, that’s a very famous design
commemorating the event. Note that there are only four loaves of bread; that is
because the fifth one is Jesus.
|The rock! Where Jesus prayed! AHHHHH|
Nearby is Capernaum, Jesus’ main home. It’s right on the sea
(makes sense for all those fishermen), and was a pretty large fishing village
back in the day that did quite well. The ruins are in pretty bad shape, but
there is a decent synagogue. However, that synagogue is from the 5th
century, but you can see the darker volcanic rocks at the bottom that would
have been the synagogue during Jesus’ ministry.
|The darker rock is the actual synagogue that would have been around when Jesus was there|
|Inside the synagogue|
Very close by is Peter’s mother-in-laws house, which was one of the first churches for Messianic Jews. Now it is still a church, which is pretty cool (building a church on the rock’s house), but the church looks a little bit like a flying saucer. Inside the church, there’s a glass floor where you can look down and see the remains of the house. It’s very close to the synagogue.
|Flying saucer-style church over Peter's house|
|Inside of the church|
|Hole in the ground over Peter's house|
|The synagogue is the building on the left, and the church is on the right. Peter lived just across the street!|
|Right by the Sea of Galilee!|
From here we went to lunch. At last, my fish and bread!
However, we ended up at an actual restaurant, so it wasn’t quite what I expected
(although it was filling). The pita bread here was super soft and chewy; it was
far superior to any sort of pita bread I have had in the US. And the hummus!
Nutty and creamy. I could probably have lived on those two alone.
|Pita, tomato, eggplant, Israeli salad, cheese|
|They literally gave me a full fish--tilapia|
By the restaurant was the docks where we got to RIDE ON A
BOAT ON THE SEA OF GALILEE. The sea was so calm and peaceful; there weren’t
really any waves at all, so you could sort of see how a person might be able to
walk on it if there wasn’t a storm raging around. Of course, there was a storm
when Jesus and Peter walked, but on a normal day you can sort of trick yourself
into thinking that it isn’t a miracle.
|Getting on the boat|
|I'm on a boat.|
|Such a calm day!|
|You could throw bed in the air, and the seagulls would grab it before it landed in the water. A few of them collided with each other and got into fights.|
|Mount of Beatitudes on the left|
Next stop—Magdala! This is where Mary Magdalene was from, of
course. A few years ago, someone bought this land for a hotel, but they luckily
did some excavating before building, and found the old city—including the
synagogue, which is in excellent shape.
|The water was SUPER calm|
|The synagogue would have been covered in that sort of art|
Final stop for the day was nearby, a place some people call
the Jesus Boat. This boat is dated from 100BC, and information (from Magdala
and elsewhere) confirm that it is the sort of fishing vessel used in Jesus’
time. It was huge; I always imagined these boats being pretty small, but now I can
see how filling up these two boats would create a ton of money for Simon Peter
|Magdala was a large village of about 10,000, mostly based in salting fish|
|The remains of the boat|
|It was fairly wide!|
|Mosaic of what the boat would have looked like, found in Magdala|
Back to the hotel! We passed the Jordan River a few times
today, going to and from places, but I was never able to get a good picture of
it. It is smaller than I expected; I always imagines something calm and large
for baptizing, but it moves fairly quickly. I will try and get some better
pictures when we properly visit.
Dinner wasn’t anything too Israeli; I actually got Thai Beef
curry and rice pilaf. But I did try a potato-y popover, and had a poppy seed
cake for dessert. All of these cakes are SUPER dense, and given that I just had
one out of poppy seeds, I’m probably going to fail a drug test if I have to take
one in the few days. Let me state now, for the record, that I am just eating a
lot of poppy seeds at the moment.
|Model of the boat|
|I still don't know what the jelly is|
I tried going to sleep after dinner—so sleepy!—but I woke up
around midnight, so I decided to write all of this down. Also, I must confess
that I now have a sore throat—it’s all swollen and scratchy. I don’t think it
is a cold; just the sore throat. So if you can send a few prayers/thoughts for
healing, I would appreciate it!
On to tomorrow! I might actually see the Syrian border
tomorrow. That will be interesting.
Periodic updates throughout the day are available on:
Keep an eye on my adventures!
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