A Travellerspoint blog

Second day on the Jesus Trail

The sun is out again!

sunny 22 °C

Today was a beautiful sunny, and warm day! We started early this morning, after breakfast at the Leonardo Tiberias Hotel (on the Sea of Galilee), heading to the Arbel Cliffs to start today’s walk where we finished walking yesterday, and close to where we had lunch. We were bussed to the top, walked down the path in the brilliant sunshine and were on our way. The morning sun is always interesting when it comes to pictures, as it hits the subject at different angles. Similarly, the evening sun during the “golden hour” is also great for capturing stunning shots; these pictures are very different in character. I remember some amazing shots I managed to capture of the Cathedral in Leon, Spain, just because I happened to be in that square at that hour of the day. Next to the subject being photographed, I think light and shadows are the most interesting things to consider when composing a picture.

At the Arbel Cliffs we carefully picked our way down this very steep trail through gigantic boulders. The Park authority very thoughtfully sunk rebar “handles” into the rocks in strategic places to be used both as handles and/or rungs on a ladder to make the descent much easier. It was tricky, but if negotiated slowly and carefully, was not difficult. We all commented on how treacherous this would have been if trying to tackle it the day before, in the rain. Rocks are very slippery! In actual fact, they would have closed this particular part of the trail on a day like yesterday, as it would have simply been too dangerous. We all made it down, often passing our poles down to those below, as they became a bit of a hindrance when trying to grasp the handles in the rocks.
Once through the tricky narrow part, we found ourselves on a rocky, gravel path that wound its way through the valley. Looking up at the cliffs, we passed many ancient cliff dwellings and numerous caves. This is where people actually lived - or hid out in some cases. When we reached the bottom of the valley we continued walking, at times by the side of a road. Still on foot, we stopped for lunch at a small local place recommended by our guide. The most common lunch choices were either a Shawarma or a Falafel. I chose the former. It consisted of meat and veggies in pita bread. Very good!

After lunch our bus was there to pick us up and take us to nearby Tabgha, situated in rolling agricultural land. Before we went there however, we climbed up a very steep hill toward the Mount of the Beatitudes, the traditional site of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Unfortunately our timing was a bit off, and this place was not open yet. So our bus took us back down to Tabgha, where we explored the beautiful mosaics in this quiet peaceful church. This was the traditional site of the feeding of the 5,000. After that we continued around the northern side of the Sea of Galilee to visit the church of St. Peter. This was also a lovely peaceful site with a long walkway through tall trees, ending at the church which had the waters of the Sea of Galilee lapping at its foundation. We walked on the small rocky “beach” - a pebbly expanse, and dipped our hands in the warm water. A few of us might have even brought a pebble or two back with us from there! The church itself was a small tranquil building with stunning stained glass windows. From there we walked a couple of kilometres on a paved path to Capernaum. In Capernaum we wandered around the ruins of the city that was the centre of Jesus’ ministry. We also went into the ancient synagogue, and the church built over the home of Simon Peter. It was awe-inspiring to see the actual place(s) where Jesus interacted with people ... and taught those people with whom he came in contact.

After our time there we got on the bus and went back up to the Mount of Beatitudes, a domed church on a hill. It was open for visitors now. It too had beautiful mosaics on the floor of its tall, octagonal-shaped centre. Sunlight streamed in through many stained glass windows, high up on the walls. Many of these panes contained phrases in Latin pieced together in the stained glass. Outside the church, on the grounds and in the garden area, there were still more intricate pictures and stories depicted in mosaic in the pavement.

After this long, albeit very interesting day, we went back to our hotel in Tiberias. We were informed this evening that Jordan had also closed its borders to Israel, which means that we will not be going there afterward. Hmm. My return flight leaves from Amman, so I will have to think about an alternative plan.

Posted by Laura Walking 11:24 Archived in Israel

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.