Israel!!

Israel!!
Ginosar, Israel

Ginosar, Israel


I’ve been here in Israel a few days…let’s backtrack a bit… Landed in Ben Guirion Airport about twelve midnight – a good eight hours after expected – long story, don’t ask. Got the dreaded Israeli passport stamp, darn! And was drilled for several minutes due to a UAE stamp… Missed my transfer to Galilee, and was going to catch a taxi the whole way but a bus driver, and later a Swiss girl with an Israeli boyfriend convinced me that it would be more economical to catch a shuttle bus to Haifa and then a taxi from there. A little wearily taking their word for it, I nervously jumped in to await my fate.”You’re sure I can get a taxi from Haifa at that time of night? It’ll be 3am!” All I got in return was “You’re wilcome, you’re wilcome” from my most obliging shuttlebus driver. I had been making small talk with these two Arab Israeli guys. All of a sudden, the bus driver yelled something and the two guys got up and the driver jumped out and they had a fairly aggressive sounding yelling match before they all stormed of in opposite directions. Later, the driver kindly explained later to me that these “Arabs” were “no good boys” and that they were looking at me inappropriately. I’m not sure that they had been, but I suppose that one doesn’t always notice these things? After a few hours, we were at Haifa, and I watched, again, a little wearily as one by one, each of the nine passengers got off, leaving me and my ever so friendly shuttle bus driver alone. Asking me where he was taking me, he explained that he was looking for a taxi for me, “you’re wilcome, you’re wilcome.” As we drove around who knows where at about 3:30am by this time, I popped my passport, mobile and 200 sheqels in my pocket, just in case. I can tell you there were a couple of nervously uttered prayers! He was making several phone calls, all in Hebrew or Arabic (in anycase, not English!) and my overactive imagination coupled with all the anxious motherly warnings of females travelling alone in the wee hours in a middle eastern country (and not helped by sensationalised media reports!) meant that I was imagining all sorts of terrible things! Anyway, he managed to find me a taxi, made me hand the money over to him and he would personally pay the driver, which I thought a bit odd. Anyway, jumped in the taxi, would have been over an hour, maybe 90mins, and I was there. The whole trip was 500 sheqels, which the guy on reception at the Hotel told me was rather good, especially considering it was the passover. He’d heard of 800 sheqel trips from the same spot! So the bus driver turned out to be the so good, he must have been calling and negotiating a cheap ride for me, bless him. The guy on reception, Allah, was so helpful, offered me wine (declined), instead got me iced water and a leftover passover dessert and also offered me his room to do my hair, brush my teeth etc. So kind! Sat in the chair from about 4:30am and waited a few hours for the group to join me. After meeting them all and sharing a lovely breakfast together, we started day one (Thusday 7th) with a boat ride in a “Jesus Boat” on lake Galilee. Just quietly, I hadn’t been to bed for two days but I reckon I held out okay!! From here, we jumped on the bus and went to a few holy spots – the hill where Jesus could have said the Beatitudes, the beach where he could have asked Peter three times if he loved him, and Caperneum where he lived for some time. We dropped in on a little Kibbutz in the afternoon. The day ended with a trip to where Legion was healed and the bigs ran down the hill and into the sea. The second day was Good Friday. We went to Hazor and saw the remains of a house which would have been similar to what the lame man was lowered into by his friends. I saw some rock rabbits which is this little native animal, that was cool! We also stopped where Joshua fought a battle. What was cool about this place was that (a) that you could actually see burned, cracked stones and (b)God told them that never again would people build a city there, and you look around, and it’s desolate.Plus you can see Lebanon! We walked down to this secret water source which was really cool, all tunneled out of rock. I feel a bit sorry for the poor women and children who would have had to climb their way up and down with buckets though! Stopped at a supermarket to buy some lunch. What was interesting was that because it was in a Jewish area and Passover, I think it must have been illegal to buy and sell certain foods, because half the supermarket was covered up with plastic sheets! We also went fromt the top of Dan, down to the waterfall, which was an absolutely beautiful walk. Included jumping over stepping stones and everything! Beautiful! On the way back to the hotel, I saw Golan Heights, which is a lovely lookout and you can see Syria and the UN from here.


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