Couple days ago I went to Galilee, by car. It was mostly “seeing” Galilee by car, with our longest break at the Banyas Nature Reserve. The trip would have been great if it wasn’t for the never-ending commentary on Europe’s immigration/multiculturalism problem by another volunteer from Ireland. Ok, white Europeans are feeling discriminated against all around the world, including their own country. Political correctness has gone haywire. Europeans are reacting with ultra-conservatism, etc, etc. But she couldn’t grasp the fact that she was talking to a child of immigrant parents who considers Canada as her home, NOT China. Sigh.
Anyways – Galilee
My first night at Ecce Homo was punctured by the Salat blasting through my open window. A couple of hours later I was up taking photos of the dawn-lit rooftops. We left the Old City at 7:30 AM, slightly groggy but ready to see. The highway out of Jerusalem was quiet, save for a herd of wild camels that we passed by. It took about 2.5 hours to get to Sea of Galilee a.k.a. Sea of Kinneret a.k.a. Lake Tiberias a.k.a. Lake Gennesaret a.k.a. where Jesus walked on water. Actually, a lot of Jesus’ activities were in this area. We drove through the city of Tiberias (a touristy beach town), and stopped at Capernaum. We then headed further north and had lunch and a little walk at the Banyas Nature Reserve.
The landscape in the North is more green, hilly, and with large swaths of farmland. On our tour, we saw the borders of Jordon, Lebanon, and Syria (from a distance). Our reaction: it all looks the same. And most of the borders we saw were barbed-wire fences. The most dangerous-looking were the ones that had “Danger – mine field” signs on it.
We drove through some small Israeli towns. Most of the homes/buildings looked to be built of stone or concrete, and boxy in shape. One of the villages we passed through is a Druze village. The Druze Community is one of Israel’s ethnic minority groups with a unique religion and culture. They are Arab but loyal to the government. They are also known for their olive, cherry and apple orchards. They are a closed community, meaning non-Druze’s cannot join or even marry in. You can imagine the health problems.
On the way back to Jerusalem, we swung by Jericho. Yes, the Jericho city. It was about 6PM, and the streets were fairly empty (i.e. all the tourists were gone). The two things we looked at was the new Orthodox Church that had the Zaccheaus Tree, and a cheesy entrance sign to an excavation site.
We finally got back to Ecce Homo, tired and hungry. There was a new group of American college students from a dig that just arrived. I also met a new volunteer for Ecce Homo. I felt sorry for the upcoming workload that she’ll have to face for the next few months (includes 6AM start times for breakfast – yikes!).
That’s all I can put down at the moment. Part two is my exploration of the Old City the next day.