Tiberias: Day 3

Our final day in Israel.  Hard to believe that it arrived already.  In some ways, it seems like we have been here for a month.  In other ways, it seems like we’ve just arrived.  We’ve seen and done so much in such a short time!

This morning we didn’t have to leave until 9:00 AM, which was kind of nice.  We bid our hotel farewell, and packed up everything to leave.  We drove first to Cana, a small town not far from Nazareth and our hotel where Jesus performed his first miracle (John 2).  There was a church commemorating the event, and it was nice walking through the small streets to get there and back.  
We drove next to Mt. Carmel.  We stopped at a scenic overlook of the massive port city of Haifa.  Then we drove over the mountain, where we had lunch before going on to see the church that commemorates Elijah’s victory over the false prophets in 1 Kings 18.  This Carmelite nun church also had an amazing view of the surrounding valleys all the way to the mountains of Samaria as well as the hills of Galilee.  Then we went to see Caesarea Maritime, or at least the ruins of it.  This was our first time actually on the shores of the Mediterranean.  We were able to get our feet wet in the water.  
Part of our time was spent watching the antics of a group of guys.  One of them had – shortly before our arrival – driven a van onto the beach with his boat launch on the back.  In backing the launch into the water, his van sank a bit into the soft sand and he was stuck.  By the time we arrived a pick-up was trying to pull the van out of the soft wet sand before the rising tide swallowed it.  They didn’t seem to have a proper tow cable, and their efforts to use ropes and other things were not succeeding.  But finally, by switching angles, the pick-up driver was able to pull the van out of the mushy ruts it was trapped in and the day was saved.
It was a gorgeous sunset while we were there, with lots of beautiful clouds that turned pink and red and orange in the setting sun.  We stopped on our way out of the area to see a massive mosaic that remains from a Byzantine estate that once stood on the hillside before it was destroyed by Muslim armies sometime in the seventh century.  
We drove in the dying light to Jaffa and Tel Aviv.  We dropped two of our travelers off and sent them by taxi ahead of us, as their plane left earlier than the rest of us.  Then we proceeded to our final dinner.  We enjoyed a variety of Middle Eastern appetizers with our fresh-baked pita, and then either a whole grilled fish or a shish kebab of lamb and chicken.  Followed by Israeli baklava and a shot of very strong, very hot coffee!
By this time it was going on 8pm and we were beginning to feel tired.  We drove to the airport where we bid our guide and driver farewell.  We made it through customs without too much difficulty, though one of our travelers – a young man in the Army reserves – received a lot of questioning by the security staff before they let him through.  We had heard of the rocket attacks in Gaza during the past few days, and what we hadn’t yet heard about were escalated Israeli responses, so I’m sure that security was a bit tighter than usual.  
Our plane departed at 12:40 AM.  We were pretty exhausted by then, so we ate our in-flight meal pretty quickly.  People were already beginning to fall asleep.  I was trying to stay awake a little longer, to push myself back onto a California time-cycle.  I managed to watch two movies before falling asleep.  
We arrived in New York City where there were a few piles of snow at the airport.  While we had a four hour layover, it took well over half that long to make our way through the long lines of customs and passport control.  Then it was a five and a half hour flight from New York City back to Los Angeles.  Having had some sleep on the earlier flight, I was feeling a little better on this flight – particularly since I’d been able to have a massive hot tea at the airport in New York City!
We arrived back to a slightly drizzly Los Angeles right about noon on Thursday.  The drive home was painful, as I was getting pretty tired by then.  But it went smoothly.  It was so good to be home and to see my family again – and I slept like a rock!  Thank God for an amazing experience and wonderful people to share it with.
There has been some discussion of possibly doing another trip in a couple of years – this time to see some of the New Testament sites of Paul’s journeys, like Ephesus.  If you’re interested, let me know, and I’ll keep you posted!

2 Responses to “Tiberias: Day 3”

  1. Lois Says:

    Welcome back! Did you really eat your inflight movie? ;)

  2. Paul Nelson Says:

    Correction made – thanks!

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