|After our luxurious stay, which we could have stayed at forever, we headed out across to Jaresh and the ancient ruins of a Roman settlement. It was spectacular. Unlike the broken ruins of England that I have seen, they were so much intact! We stood in the meeting square looking down the roads adorned by huge columns, visited the temple of Juiter and listened to a bagpipe trio in the amphitheater - who played a rendition of Amazing Grace and some other popular tune and went into the chariot racing arena. It was incredible to stand in such an ancient place and imagine what it was like in it's heyday. On the bus again and we heeded out across to the River Jordan border control. Here we spent time checking out, checking in and yes, the camels were a problem again! It is a great story and they will take pride of place on a bookshelf when we get home. Finally we made it into Israel and to our accommodation on the Sea of Galiee in Tiberius. Dinner, shower and off to bed.
The next day we woke and headed off to the Church f the Transfiguration. Here we held Mass in the Church. It was beautiful. We then went to a recreation of a Nazareth village. We had a wonderful and very tasty traditional lunch before walking the grounds of the village. Our guide was fantastic. She walked us through the many features if the village explaining the lifestyle, clothes, tools and jobs of a Nazarene in Jesus' day. I took many photos to use with my students back home. We ended up in a synagogue and were given a pottery lamp to take home. It was quite a moving event. We were able to get some oils, books and wine that are made at this venue to bring home.
After this we headed over to the Basilica of Mary - recognizing the annunciation. This is our guide's parish church! Below the church which is magnificent, is a cave said to be the cave. Mary where she spoke with the angel Gabrielle. It was a very holy place and I enjoyed it's quietness and atmosphere. We also got to see the church dedicated to St Jospeh across the road. Not as glamorous but just as sacred. It is said to be built over the huse of Joseph where the holy family lived. Finally we went to Cana. I was a little disappointed with this church and it's memorial being a 4 th century water pot. Here wedded couples renewed their vows and a quick blessing for ' others' was tagged on the end. It was very tacky, and many of us who are without spouses etc for whatever reason felt very uncomfortable, especially for those who had only just recently lost their partners.
Home time and I got walk the markets before hiring the sack. It was nice to be amongst the locals and getting a taste if their lifestyle.
Yesterday was a lovely day. Probably my first real spiritual moment of the trip. Waking a little bit later in the day we headed off to the Church if St Peter, where Jesus met the disciples and had breakfast with them and asked Peter if he loved Him. I didn''t think much about this on the bus or even when the guide was speaking, but as I walked into the church and saw the rock it hit me that here Ainwas standing on the sea, by a rock, where Jesus would have spoken to Peter, my name sake for confirmation. I knelt at the rock, put my hand on it and could hardly breathe! As I prayed I felt tears run down mum cheeks and I remembered back to being 11 yrs old and choosing Peter because he was just an ordinary bloke who made lots of mistakes, loved Jesus and was forgiven for the three times he denied him at this very spot. I was very moved and overwhelmed. After leaving the church I waded into the water and stood in the Sea. I imagined Peter and the disciples fishing, seeing Jesus and having breakfast with Him. It was very peaceful and lovely. I didn't want to leave. But we had other things to do. We went to a number of places- mandala which is still being uncovered and walked around the ruins of Capernumn. Here Ai spent time by myself as I had a headache and enjoyed looking at the ancient rocks buildings, white synagogue and the house of Peter. It was very relaxing and peaceful. After this we headed out to Sea in a boat. It was lovely. The waves lapping a the edge of the boat and the sun shining brightly, warming us up. It was great out there as the boat moved with the cool breeze in your hair. In the centre you could see 360 all the shores and mountains around. It was Greta. One of the funny signs we have seen was on the bow of the boat - no titanic poses! We had Mass, danced to some traditional music and headed back to land for lunch. A traditional lunch of St Peteer's fish and chips and sallads and dips. It was beautiful! I enjoyed every bit and teased Catrina with the fish head and it's eyes! She had a crumbed fillet, while I had the whole fish! A real brothers sister moment! It was all in good fun. Finally w heads off to another ruined city of Jesus' time and traversed the grounds of this city of 3000 whde they have recreated the synagogue and buildings out of the basalt stone of the area, before heading home for a nana nap, dinner and stroll through the markets.
Today we head off for Jerusalem!