10.10.2008 - 14.10.2008 25 °C
Well, I left Akko one day early it seems, there were riots there just one day after I left. Oh well, maybe next time. Anyway, I stayed in Haifa during Yom Kippur. That was quite eerie, there's not one car moving in the city, only some children on the streets.
On the next day I moved to Tiberias, a small town at the shore of the Sea of Galilee (I don't know why they call it a sea, it's just a small-medium sized lake). Tiberias is a kind of holiday town for Israelis. Many come to the Golan area during summer to escape the heat and take a bath (which is probably one of the reasons they won't give it back to Syria, it's their only cool place during summer).
I met 2 Germans and an English girl here, and the former having a car we decided to drive around the Golan Heights together. Here are some pictures:
The Oh so mighty Jordan River, object of so many tales and stories, so many times mentioned in the bible. I couldn't believe it! This ridiculous stream would barely be mentioned on a Swiss map. But then again they call the Galilee lake a sea, I guess in this region anything that doesn't dry up during summer is special...
The Hula-Valley. There are old Syrian minefields all over the Golan. The Israelis keep them in case of a Syrian attack.
A kibbutz. The Galilee and Golan region are the last places where many kibbutzes are still operating.
Here we're tasting wine at a winery-kibbutz. It's quite ok.
The disengamenent zone, a 5 km wide strip between Syria and Israel. I wouldn't like to live there...
An Israeli artist created sculptures out of old weapon parts
A dead horse lying around.
The Nimrod Castle, and old fortress
A failed attempt at being artistic.
The border to Lebanon. There seemed to be no one there, but since it was dark we decided not to go past the sign. You never know what trigger-happy zealot might be lurking behind some night vision device...
So, I'm in Nazareth now. It's a really great city with the best hostel I've been in so far. The city is full of israeli arabs and christian churches, it's an interesting mix. The Jews decided to build another city for themselves outside. The Basilica of Annunciation is also located here. It's very beautiful. Here are some pictures:
Old Nazareth with the Basilica in the middle.
The altar inside the Basilica.
"And a great sign appeared in heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars." (Apocalypse 12:1)
There are many mosaics, painting, and sculpture of Mary and Jesus displayed all around, donated by different countries all over the world. I really liked this one.
Rick (an Australian I met in Haifa already) and me tried to go to Jenin in the West Bank today. We didn't get in, however, because the Israelis have closed the border until next week. So we went hiking around Nazareth:
This guy told me about a (fun-)race on rafts down the Amazon river that takes place next September and asked me if I wanted to join his team. It would completely screw up my travel plans, but it sounds like so much fun that I might very well send all my previous plans to hell and make new plans. I will be in Mauritius until February. Then, for example, I go to India for 3 months and then Japan for 3 months and then Peru. Of course this way I'll miss all South-East Asia. I'll decide next year...
Anyway, I'm off to Jerusalem tomorrow. Everybody says it's much easier to enter the West Bank from there.