14 friends and 2 teachers from school and I am on a pilgrimage in Israel learning about the land’s modern and ancient history and visiting the places. I will try to update with a post every day.
Woke up early set on attending sunrise… was rewarded with an hour between 5.50 and 7 with peace and quiet and the sun gradually rising behind the hills on the other side of the lake. Read some from the Gospels and it really dawned on me where I was.
A classmate warmed my heart at breakfast by saying that he admired my steadfastness in choosing the best – being vegan. 🙂
After a breakfast of fruits (for me) we left with the bus.
I saw a snow capped mountain in the distance. Maybe Mt Hemron.
Winding road passing Migdal (Magdala) in a valley. Gennesaret valley is fertile, plaintain grow here. Green everywhere. Not at all how I imagined it.
Mountains all around. Jesus had many to choose from when He withdrew to pray. Not at all just to stroll up on a hill though. These are mountains! Must have taken a few hours to get up here. And a few hours to get down before sunset and darkness at 6. Puts the need of the miracle of the bread and fish in perspective.
Mount of Beautitudes… a beautiful garden kept by Fransiscans and Clares. There are small tinplateroofed wallless structures scattered in the garden where groups celebrate mass. Round church with beatitudes in lation on stained/glass windows. A beautiful gold and blue cealing and cardinal virtues in floormosaik. Many groups from all over.
Primacy of Peter. Church on a rock. Beautiful garden. Beach with stones and shells. My favorite place I think.
Capernaum. Settled down alone on a stone by the sea and read the Gospel. Everything feels so real when read in this exact spot. Can’t express it. Remnant of a octagonal basilika built on the spot thought to be St Peters house. The synagogue is not from that time but built on top of it. Small houses can be discerned from the meter or so high stone walls.
Lunch at St Peters restaurant. 2/3 of the group ordered the local speciality Peters fish, a whole-fried fish they had to pick. I dont get how they can eat something with head and eyes and teeth still showing. For me its not food at all. But the sallad bufe was great. Pita with humus and a lot of vegetables. This must be the most perfect country to be vegan in! Beautiful view over the lake.
Its a rather small lake. On the other side we see the Gadara/Gergesa slopes where Jesus drowe out legion and permitted them to enter the swine. I took a quite moment resting against the trunk of a tree I recognise from India. Big leaves a bit leathery.
My travelmates are mostly somewhat younger than a few of us and they are rather boistrous. They are my friends and I like them but I would prefer a more Jesus/pilgrimagecentered group….
Ginnosar kibutz. Everyone who works here has the same salary and pocketmoney. They have a museum with the Jesus boat. The 2000 year old boat is carefully kept here. Whose it was is ofcourse a mystery.
A boat-tour on the lake took us closer to the other side. Nice to see all the places we have visited from the water. The first time in years that I was in a boat on water. Didnt think much about the depth of the lake tough so all went well. The lake feels safe and secure and not intimidating. As always I would prefer a more serious atmosphere in the group but…
Yardenit, the baptismal site of Jesus is our next stop. I touch some water on my head and read the baptismal story from the four gospels. The others go further on where a group from somewhere in Africa are singing gospel and many from different groups bathe and baptize. Steps down and metal railings remind of bathing gaths in India.
A quick imersion in the rather warm lake (I usually shower in colder water) ended a hot and intensive day.
A reflection today is that when roads were dirt and everything was made of unprocessed nature materials then there was no litter…
I bought a cap today (forgot to bring one and really need it). The shopowner gave me a few shekels studentdiscount and said that if he could help me to sucess in my studies he would be very glad.
Photos on the way, be patient =)