Thursday, May 1, 2014

Day 109 - Haifa, Israel

Tuesday, April 29

Another early morning with the tour "Leisurely Galilee" meeting at 7:30.  Once again Lynn and I were on the same bus.  Our guide was Bonnie who was originally from California.

Today we headed towards the east to the Sea of Galilee (which is actually a lake - in ancient times the word for sea and lake were the same).  Much of the ministry of Jesus was done in this area and many of His miracles took place here.

Our first stop was the Mount of Beatitudes which is where the Sermon on the Mount took place.  We visited the Roman Catholic Church which was built by Mussolini (who was trying to get in good with the Vatican) in the late 1930s.  It was built in the location of a fourth century Byzantine church.  There are beautiful views of the Sea of Galilee from here as well as a beautiful garden.

Next we went to the Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha.  The modern church is built on the site of two former churches.  Inside of the church are some restored mosaics dating from the fifth century.

We rode around the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee in the area known as the Golan Heights.  This is an area that was Syrian but has been occupied by Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967.  It continues to be a bone of contention between Israel and Syria and discussions of the future of the area are on-going.  We were within a few miles of the present-day Syrian border.

The baptism site on the Jordan river came next.  It is probably not the actual site of Jesus' baptism but is used today for those who wish to be baptized in the Jordan.  It was very beautiful and serene in this area.

It was then time for lunch.  Once again we ate at a kibbutz which has a hotel along the Sea of Galilee and is a popular resort location.  Next week is the Israeli Independence Day and our guide said the entire area will be packed with people enjoying the holiday.

On the way back to Haifa we stopped at an outlook to view the current city of Nazareth.  We were able to see the Church of the Annunciation which is on the site where the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary.  At the time of Jesus, Nazareth was a village of only 400-500 people who lived in caves.

There were a number of Arab towns and villages on the journey back to Haifa.

When we returned to Haifa we travelled up to the Mount Carmel Mountains.  We stopped to get a panoramic view of the city including the Baha'i Temple and Gardens.  Looking down on the port we could see QE.

Today was much more leisurely (and less tiring) than yesterday.  After getting back about 4:30, I changed for dinner and went up to deck nine for the sail-away.  We were a little late because there was a missing couple.  It was very windy and cool up on deck.  Talked with my CC friend John as we sailed away.

Went to the 7:45 trivia and only had nine correct.  There were four of us for dinner.  Lynn and I kept Hilda and Keith amused by our discussion of the order of our tour yesterday (we couldn't agree on the order of our stops).

Did not go to the show because I wanted to work on the blog.

Roman Catholic Chapel at the Mount of the Beatitudes

view of the Sea of Galilee
in the gardens

in the gardens

in the gardens

fountain in the gardens

interior of the Church

interior of the Church

Church of the Multiplication

part of the mosaic floor

in the Golan Heights

Jordan River baptism site

four pictures from lunch at the kibbutz
another view of the Sea of Galilee

present day Nazareth

Church of the Annunciation (black conical roof)

Smooth sailing until next time!

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