This was our first full day in Israel. Yesterday we drove through the Jordan, where Moses stood at the top of Mount Nebo, and saw the promised land. Then we drove North to Lake Galilee, where we are staying for a few nights.
Today we visited some significant Galilean sites - the mount of beatitudes, site of the multiplication of the loaves & fishes, and the church of the primacy of St. Peter. Most of the places we visited today have volcanic geography, so the landscape actually looks pretty similar to what I'm familiar with in Australia. The gum trees add to that effect as well.
Attached are some pictures of the landscape, ancient ruins of a Jewish town, and the church of the primacy of St. Peter.
It's even hotter here than in Jordan - 38 degrees celsius, and very high humidity. This isn't so bad once you get used to it. But in Australia, this kind of weather would mean a certain storm in the afternoon. In Israel, not a cloud in sight.
To make things worse, the air conditioning wasn't working on the bus for the first half of the day. Imagine 50 people in a hot bus with no windows to open, driving for half an hour in the Sun. It was actually hotter on the bus than outside!
Heat issues aside, the food here has been amazing. Breakfast this morning had your choice of omelets, toast (with cheese), sweet bread rolls, chocolate croissants, various dips & spreads, a rice-based slice of some sort, yogurt, custard, and a choice of cereals. I'm sure there were half a dozen other things I didn't see. Then Lunch was eaten at a restaurant near the lake. For US$18 we got a salad entree, then rice & chicken on a huge plate, with dates & arabic coffee to finish up. The picture below shows my plate - after I've finished eating!
This afternoon we got back to the hotel early, so there was a chance to swim in the lake. This was perfect after a hot day, and the (fresh) water was still quite warm. We had a little incident where a tractor nearly ran over our clothes, but otherwise it went without mishap. There are heaps of mussels on the bottom of the lake, and a kind of muddy sand on the shore.
After the swim, we had tea which was equally impressive. Plus, there was a trolley with serve-your-own ice cream (complete with cones). I guess you can take that part of the Bible pretty literally when it says the land will be "flowing with milk & honey".