Day #5 Trip Report
It was indeed the Sea of Galilee through our bedroom window, and it was beautiful.
My mornings began the same every day - a cautious breakfast, a gradually reducing dose of loperamide "just in case" and a couple of migraleve pink, because they have an anti-nausea component, and I felt sickish most mornings. No, it's not morning sickness, believe me.
Then onto the bus, and off to Mount Tabor, the Mount of Transfiguration. We went up in mini-buses - 1/4 century ago (eep!) it was ancient taxis, the mini-buses were better. Once again, we were virtually the only group up there - great views of the Valley of Armageddon, and another beautiful church.
On to Nazareth, where we viewed first the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, then the Synagogue church, then lunch at a great restaurant called el-Mejana. This was my favourite of the lunches, because after the ubiquitous yummy bread and hummus and salads as a starter, they gave us rice with a chicken stew on top, and then fruit. Much more simple than some of the others. A lot of the group didn't like it that there wasn't the over-abundance of some of our lunch stops but it suited me fine. The owner was in the restaurant and once again, I was the only one apart from the actual group leaders who said thankyou. Don't know what motivated me to ask him also for a business card but he gave me the card, and a small bottle of genuine Palestinian olive oil as a gift! Nice of him.
We visited 'Nazareth Village' - I'd been afraid it would be Disneyish or Epcotty but actually it was very well done. A guide with fantastic English and an American accent showed us round. There was a shepherd with a flock of sheep and goats; a wine press; a watch-tower with a guardian; a carpenter and a weaver. They really were making the things they were suppposed to make too. I can imagine When I take my group (hopefully in 2013), the kids who come with us will love this place! It also had a great gift shop, with non-pushy sales staff!
Finally we visited the huge Church of the Annunciation, which was very beautiful. As we came back to the coach, we all turned to take a photo: In the centre of the shot, the beautiful church; in the foreground a huge billboard with a verse from the Qur'an in Arabic and English saying that whoever choooses a religion other than Islam 'in the hereafter he will be one of the losers'. In the photos, it looks like a caption for the church, and I guess that was the intention. I don't suppose it's easy for any group in the Holy Land but, certainly in some parts, Palestinians are the minority ethnic group; and then within that minority ethnic group Christians are the minority religious group. It is not easy.
Finally we visited the Church in Cana of Galilee, the town where Jesus performed his first miracle. It was a bit 'in-out-back to the bus' ~ by this stage, were all getting a bit tired. Still a wonderful tour though, I'd go back and repeat it in a heartbeat.