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Published: April 26th 2018
Departing from Jerusalem today so met at 7:20am this morning to get bags into the bus and we got away at 7:35am. This is the first day we got some proper rain and the sky was quite an unusual colour. Took about one hour to get to Jericho where we visited Hisham’s Palace. This is an Islamic archaeological site from the 8th Century. It was destroyed by an earthquake. It is famous for it’s intact mosaic “The Tree of Life” but we were not able to see it. In fact all the floors were covered by cloth and dirt so we couldn’t see any mosaics at all. However it was still very interesting and one of the rooms had multiple columns reminding me of Luxor temple but on a much smaller scale.
We then had a break before traveling along the Jordan Valley to the Sea of Galilee via Tiberias to visit Tabgha and the Church of the Multiplication. This is the claimed location of where Jesus multiplied the bread and fish to feed the crowd. The church floor is covered with interesting mosaics.
We then drove to Capernaum on the edge of the Sea of Galilee to see
St Peter’s Church which is a modern structure built over what is deemed to be St. Peter’s house arriving around 12:15pm. St Peter’s house is protected by a glass in the centre of the church. You can however see the ruins when you go back to the ground level. These ruins were discovered just 30 cm under the then ground level but the whole area has now been excavated back to the same level as Jesus’ time. There are also other excavations of old synagogues from the same era.
We then drove to Safad for lunch, Mahdi took us around to show different options and then split up into smaller groups to different places. We then had about one hour to look around the artist’s area which was a very cool area and we enjoyed looking at the various galleries. By now we started getting thuinderstorms and the sky was a red colour from all the desert sand. Luckily most of the artists precinct was under cover.
We then drove to our accommodation for two nights at the Sisters of Nazareth Convent which is situated up a hill next to the Church of Annunciation. It is not at
all what we expected. The building we are in looks old on the outside because it is clad with stone like most buildings in Israel but inside looks quite new and modern. Our room is sparsely decorated but the furniture is fairly new and the bathroom is excellent, so quite a surprise for a convent.
At 5:30 pm Mahdi convened “Happy Hour” and we all sat around drinking for a while. Mahdi disappeared for a while and we figured he wasn’t coming back so some of us decided to go down the hill to where we had some kanafeh again. After dessert some of us decided to get a proper dinner and we found a good restaurant a few doors down from the kanafeh place where I had a great chicken shish kebab meal.
Then it was a short walk back to the convent around 9pm. I then discovered before going to bed that I had somehow left one of my hiking boots in Jerusalem which was disappointing but not a disaster.
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