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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Day of Firsts!

The Horns of Hattin

For the first time we spot the Sea of Galilee!

Hiking through cow patties.
 This is Day 3 on the Jesus Trail and we hike from Kibbutz Lavi to Moshav Arbel.
The sun breaks through the clouds and the sky gets blue. The weather, this week, is perfect for hiking.
But it is the first time we hike among cows and even the odd steer. They are huge, but just curious and we don't get charged.
We do follow their little, narrow trails through fields, among boulders and up and down hills.

It was the first day we had to climb up and up and up, rounding some high, rocky outcrops called The Horns of Hattim. Hard to imagine, as we walk the green fields with wildflowers, that the is the very spot where, in 1187, the army of Saladin defeated the Crusaders!



It was the first time ever I have visited a Druze site.
The Druze are an Arabic group of people, living in Israel, who are recognized as a separate religious culture. Check out this link if you want to learn more about them: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Society_&_Culture/druze.html

The Druze have ties to the Prophet Jethro and to Moses.
We visited their temple Nebi Shu'eib.
The men wear white turbans or a fez, while the women wear white headscarves. The temple dates back to the year 300, parts were constructed in 1187. Pretty darn old.
My one blister is getting bigger so I limped into the area and was happy to sit down for a little picnic lunch of fruit, pita and eggs.
First time we've visited a Druze temple.

We decide to take a short cut to the village Moshave Arbel, rather than hike the extra 10 KM through the hills. All day we had a view of our ultimate goal: the Sea of Galilee. As we enter the village in which we are staying tonight, I notice it is clean, with wide streets, sidewalks and lots of greenery. Turns out this is a Jewish village, as opposed to the many Arab towns in which we have stayed. I didn't know this but Arab Israelis don't pay local taxes and thus their villages don't have the services of villages like this one.

The word I have perhaps heard most of, here in Israel, is "welcome"! Everyone is incredibly welcoming. The hosts at Arbel Guesthouse welcomed us with a jug of lemonade. We have the top floor of the house, with a jacuzzi, bed and small kitchen. First time ever I have seen a simple hole in the wall serve as bathroom vent.
And, first time ever, we were given the key to the house but also the key to the gate that blocks access to the entire village! When we walked past, I wondered why there was a huge gate that could close off entrance to the town. Things like war or invasion of tanks crossed my mind. Never did the real reason occur to me. Our host explained that nearby farmers will come and steal sheep. That's why we now have a key to the village! We and the sheep will be safe tonight!
First time we've had a short piece of pipe as bathroom vent. It works.

Addendum: tonight we enjoyed the best possible dinner. In such a small village nears the shores of Galilee we 'discovered' that the owner of our guesthouse, Arbel Guesthouse, is an amazing chef. Yishmael served us fresh mousse of mango, followed by delicious soup. Then the best roast chicken we've ever had (hope Karla doesn't read this!!), with salad with cranberries and nut and FIVE different vegetables, mashed potatoes topped with sweet potatoes - all beautifully served. Then we had homemade strawberry and lemon sherbet, followed by homemade limoncello. OMG - fabulous meal worthy of any 5 star restaurant. Moshev Arbel should be on the map just for this!

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