Continuing on through Tiberius, there was found in the Sea of Galilee a boat from the time of Jesus; people called it the Jesus Boat. We took a ride on a boat that was a replica of the Jesus Boat.
So many things happened on the Sea of Galilee during the time of Jesus, making it a very moving experience. It was absolutely awesome.
Our days began each morning when we got a wake-up call from the hotel office at 6:15 a.m. Breakfast followed at 7 a.m., and then we got onto the bus and were ready to leave on each day's excursion by 8 a.m.
Two things that were a must or Walter wouldn't let us on the bus were -- everyone had to wear a hat and sunglasses and everyone had to take a bottle of drinking water with them and keep it filled. That Walter was a wise ole guy! He didn't want anyone to faint or have a heat stroke.
As we observed the countryside, we noticed that all of the houses and buildings in Israel were made of concrete, stone or stucco. In fact, the whole country is rocks, stones and mountains and desert.
They get such small amounts of rainfall there that water comes from mountain streams, mainly Mount Hermon, which is covered with snow through most of the summer. This snow melts and comes down mountain streams and springs into aqua ducts and flows down into the Jordan River that flows into the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. Most of Israel gets its water supply from the Sea of Galilee.
They had already gotten their spring rains before we were there in the middle of April, and that year they hadn't received much rain at all, so it was very dry. The temperature was in the 80s and 90s when we were there. In summer it can get as high as 120 degrees. We were glad we went in the spring.
Their currency is the shekel that, at that time, was four shekels to the dollar. This took a while to get used to. Most places had their prices posted both in shekels and dollars, and they really like American dollars.
They raise lots of fruits and vegetables, and nothing grows unless it is irrigated. They have olive groves, banana fields (mainly in Jericho), cypress trees, sycamore trees (not like the ones in the U.S.), lots of palm trees and date palms. Israel's main industries are salt and minerals mined from the Dead Sea. They don't have diamond mines but do diamond cutting and refining, and this is one of their biggest exports.
There is also excavating and ancient "diggings" going on all of the time. They are continually finding ancient cities, buildings, temples, houses, etc.
One of the biggest hotels has a golf course that is the only one in Israel.
On our way to Nazareth from Tiberius, the road passes through an untidy little village once called Cana, now known as Kafr Kanna, where Jesus attended the wedding feast with his mother.
We saw the Carmel Mountain Range that was very majestic. Mount Tabor was to the east and Mount Hermon to the north. The abrupt mound that rises from the flat land is Megiddo, and it holds the dusty ruins of Solomon's stables.
Upon a platform of white rock in Nazareth is the sacred grotto which tradition claims to be the place of the Annunciation. In the course of the last 13 centuries, four churches have occupied this site. The fourth church is the largest and replaced the Franciscan Basilica of 1730.
To be continued.