Friday, July 25, 2008

Thursday - Jordan River

One more early start; we were picked up from the hotel at 8 am. This time we had 19 people in the bus and Boaz was again coaching us. Only part of us left from the hotel, we picked up more people on our way. Here is finally a good picture of our guide Boaz.

The first interesting place to me was Magdala, because it (probably) is the place where my name comes from. Wikipedia says:
The reason for interest in a place called Magdala is that all four gospels refer to a follower of Jesus called Mary Magdalene, and it has always been assumed that this means "Mary from Magdala", though there is no information to indicate whether this was her home, her birthplace, or whether she had some other connection with the place. Most Christian traditions assume that she was from the place the Talmud calls Magdala Nunayya, and that this is also where Jesus landed on the occasion recorded by Matthew.
Magdalene is translated in Finnish Magdaleena or regarding that gd does not appear in Finnish: Matleena. Matleena is very rare, but the end of the word Leena has been commonly used. Many people seem to think that the origin of the name Leena is Saint Helena, but I think that is not possible. The Lutheran church has no saints.

Our first stop (except for coffee) was Capernaum and the Church of the Multiplication.
"In the same place (not far from Capernaum) facing the Sea of Galilee is a well watered land in which lush grasses grow, with numerous trees and palms. Nearby are seven springs which provide abundant water. In this fruitful garden Jesus fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish."

From there we went to see the Sea of Galilee, and some of us took a shower under a waterfall. I was also walking in the water so at this point I got to use my most natural way of walking barefoot.

The next stop was not very far. This was one of the things I was thinking to pass, but Dave and Boaz got me convinced that I should try it. We were rafting the Jordan River. We did it in boats for 2 people and I shared a boat with Dave. Actually rafting is not the right word for it; most of the time we had to paddle and the water was very shallow. In real rapids we got stuck in the middle! Mostly we concentrated on keeping the boat on the deeper part and getting us out with the paddles when we hit a rock and got stuck :) Dave also had to climb of the boat occasionally and he showed how easy it is to walk on water. The images in Wikipedia don’t look at all like the reality was. Even though, because of my inexperience in steering, we made some 360 degree turns we managed to be the first to arrive to the destination. In the rapids our boats always took some water and our clothes were wet. I enjoyed the refreshing coolness of the wet clothes while we were waiting for the others. When they finally arrived we changed for a dry set of clothing and continued.

It was time to eat and we went to a restaurant which served St Peter’s Fish. I think to most people the fish was hard to handle but to me it was easy. I have eaten perch prepared grilled and because it is much smaller, it has smaller bones which can get stuck in your throat. The fish was really good! The yellow thing on the plate is a potato.

After eating we continued the trip to Golan Heights and visited a winery and did some tasting.

The Golan heights have different rocks from the other parts of Israel. The landscape is full od dark geay volcanic stones of basalt. The most common stone in Israel is the beautiful light yellow lime stone.

On the way back we stopped by in a brewery also and tasted some original Israeli beers which were produced on the spot.

In the evening we had dinner again with Dave, Anna and Igor and enjoyed our food outside in the garden of the restaurant. In Finland we have problems with birds but here we had to have big umbrella’s over our table to avoid bat shit :)

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