Friday, June 5, 2009

Jesus Trail - Day 4

(click pictures for a larger size)

The final day, the hardest day. From Arbel to Kfar Nahum (Capernaum) on the Sea of Galilee. It is all downhill, they say. It is, if you don't count having to walk up to Arbel from our B&B at the moshav. And if you don't count the widowmaker hill there at the end. And, as an extra treat when you do go down, the temperature goes up, and up, and up. Minor details you may think, but details some of us obsessed over for many a hot hour that day. Nevertheless, we'd come this far and nothing was going to stop us. The male ego would not allow such thoughts (at least out loud).

The battered body was near revolt. A wonderful Israeli breakfast sure helped to at least to get it out onto the trail.

In order to remain motivated, one sets goals. At Capernaum is an idol, I mean, STATUE of Saint Peter holding his over sized key to the Kingdom. (Actually, the Capernaum site is a Catholic-run park, so these things are to be expected.) Our goal was to touch the key of the idolstatue.
This was our goal, albeit a lame one. But a goal nonetheless which helped us press on.

So, as we mindlessly throw on our backpacks and leave behind the jacuzzis and gourmet food, we start walking to Mount Arbel.There is no other place on the trail that has a view like Arbel.

Then we start down with a little climbing.About half way down, we rest in some caves in the mountainside.These caves were written about by Josephus, where the Jewish zealots hid and fought the Roman army, who unsuccessfully tried to take the caves from below and ended up lowering baskets from above and slaughtering the rebels mercilessly.

Anyway, it was a nice place to rest.If you don't believe me, just ask the cow(!) in the back of the cave.(look closely, it's there)

After our descent we began the long walk among the various orchards. While orchards are sure beautiful, there is no wind in among the trees. Much sweat was secreted here. But, thankfully, we found a nice shady spot next to a pool of water. Lunchtime entertainment was provided by some local Arab visitors.
Then, with the Sea ever closer, we pressed on.
Just before the final stretch to Capernaum, we stopped at Taghbah, a church where Jesus did something, I don't know, and we really didn't care at that point about the signifigance of the site. All we could see or think about was cooling our weary, burned bodies in the water. And we did.

Though we could have floated there for hours, days, we still had our goal to accomplish. So briefly refreshed, we dressed our wet and blistered bodies and pressed on for the final stretch to Peter's key. But apparently this day it was not meant to be.Yes, by a mere 10 minutes too late Capernaum was closed. Closed! It was the stuff of nightmares: a bunch of Protestants arriving at a gate after a long journey, locked out and Saint Peter inside holding his key and ignoring our pleas to be let in.

Well, they do say that it is not the destination that matters, but the journey. I think they are right.

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