Cape to cape and further

Richard is on the road for his major trip.

Destination: all the way..........

The “Jesus trail”, from Nazareth to Capernaum

Week 52, monday 26 December - sunday 01 January 2012.
On second Christmas day or boxing day, I went together with Nadia and Grant to Bethlehem to visit the church of “the Nativity”. This church is also known as the St. Catherine’s church and known for its midnight mass during Christmas eve. Every year there are hundreds of thousands of people coming to this place to join this midnight mass, which is broadcasted all over the world. I planned to go there as well, but because of the rain and the cold I decided to stay in Jerusalem and drink a couple of beers in the pub. But now on boxing day I visited the famous church in the place where Mary gave birth to Jesus. Bethlehem is not a beautiful place as you may think and the fact that it’s located in the West Bank doesn’t make it better at all.
The West Bank is Palestinian territory and there is a huge difference between Israel and the Palestinian territory. Where Israeli's have lots of money, the Palestinian people are poor. There is a huge difference between for example the transportation. It’s hard to find a brand new luxurious car in the Palestinian territory, while in Israel there are lots of them. After our visit in Bethlehem we took a local mini bus to Hebron. Hebron is known for the “Ibrahimi Mosque”. This Mosque is divided in to pieces, one part as a mosque and the other part as a synagogue. In the Moslim part there are the
tombs of Isaac and Rebecca and in the Jewish part you find the tombs of Jacob, Leah, Abraham and Sarah. Hebron is also located in the Palestinian territory but has a small Israeli settlement. In this settlement lives 500 Jewish people and is protected by 4000 Israeli soldiers to guarantee their safety. From the Israeli part of Hebron we took a bus back to Jerusalem. The bus we were using was an Israelis bus so this was a luxury bus instead of an old mini bus we used from Bethlehem to Hebron. Back in Jerusalem I went out with Kate to drink a beer to toast on our “Jesus Trail” adventure. On Tuesday I
reloaded my motorbike and headed towards Nazareth and within one and a half hours I made it to my next hostel. Not earlier then the third hostel had beds available. I had to pay 100 NIS, but because I had stamps of Iran and Syria I got the second night for free. The hostel “Fauzi Azar inn” provided also a nice Arabic breakfast in the morning. Later in the evening Kate also arrived with the bus from Jerusalem. We started to make plans for our “Jesus Trail”, and decided to stay one more day in Nazareth before we would start the trail. This extra day gave me the opportunity to walk around in Nazareth and visit the Basilica of  Annunciation and the St. Gabriels church. At night I cooked us a nice dinner with rice and lots of vegetables. On Thursday we started the “Jesus Trail” around 11.00am at the church of Annunciation. We headed to the north of Nazareth by climbing a stair for more than 150 meters. When we arrived at the top we had to take a rest first. From here on we walked further in the direction of Zippori and Cana. In Cana is the church where Jesus changed water into wine. The first piece of the Jesus Trail was both fantastic but also disappointing. In a big part of the woods we saw lots of rubbish left there by locals. It smelled bad and it didn’t do any good  to the
surroundings. It was still early in the day, so we decided to walk further to the next place with a hostel/hotel. Halfway through this walk we got lost and went further along the road. We tried to get back on track but unfortunately we couldn’t find any signs anymore. We decided to walk further to Kibbutz Lavi, a hotel on the track. This huge hotel offered us a private room far above our budget, but we did not have any other choice. We paid 200 NIS each and had a nice bed and an even nicer shower. At the end of the day I started to develop a headache and after taking two aspirins I went early to sleep. The next morning we went to the breakfast room and had an amazing breakfast. There was so much food that we were not able to try everything. All around us people
were preparing lunch packages and so did we. We made sure that we had enough food and water for the day and went out to find the signs of the trail outside the hotel. We had to search a while, but after fifteen minutes we found the trail again. Happy with the fact to be on trail again we speeded up and headed towards the “Horns of Hattin”. The “Horns of Hattin” is a volcanic hill where a famous Crusader battle took place, when Saladin defeated the Crusader forces in 1187. We spent around thirty minutes looking around and taking photos. After continuing the trail we reached an amazing area around the “Gate”. This is a gate between the Arbel cliff at the south side and the Mount Nitay in the north that gave the possibility to
enter the Sea of Galilee. We walked today till 16.00pm and reached the village of Arbel and stayed the night in a guesthouse. We had a private room again  and this time with a Jacuzzi. We walked around town and picked here and there some fruit. We went early to bed because we wanted to start the next day around 09.00am. After we were filled up with breakfast we started the last whole day of walking. We crossed the street and picked up the trail where we left it the day before. We entered Arbel National Park and had a fabulous view over the sea of Galilee. With a fantastic steep climb we left the Arbel behind us and during the climb down we visited “The Cave Fortress”. A fortress built in the caves of the
mountain Arbel. This fortress was built in the 17th  century to control the traffic in  the area. After a short rest at a fuel station we continued our walk to Tabgha. The last part of the trail went through orchards  and was in general flat surface. When we entered Tabgha it started to rain a bit. We managed to make it to the youth hostel and we booked here a room for the night. We celebrated New Years eve in the hostel with a beer. We hardly managed to stay awake till 00.00 and after a toast we went to bed. With a breakfast the next morning we walked the last additional five kilometers to see Capernaum, which is officially known as the city of Jesus. According to
different documents Jesus arrived in Capernaum by boat from Tabgha. This is the reason  why those last five kilometers were not a part of the original “Jesus Trail”. If you like to read more about this amazing trail called  “Jesus Trail”, please take a look at www.jesustrail.com.


I have never done a hiking for three days before and it was a really nice experience for me to walk those 60 kilometers. At the end of every day I had the feeling that I had worked for my dinner. There was not a religious reason for me to do this “Jesus Trail”, but I can now say that I have walked in Jesus’ footsteps. I would like to recommend this trail to everybody who has plans to visit Israel.


By now it’s the third of January 2012 and I wish everybody an excellent and healthy new year !!!! My next update will consist another week in Israel in which I will visit the Golhat Heights, the dead sea and Sinai.

 

Countries I have visited: