Jesus Trail, Israel
Day 01 (Nazareth to Cana)
I had trouble sleeping last night on account of my roommate munching on food, gulping his drink, typing on his laptop, and opening the window (allowing the outside noise of rain and loud pedestrians to enter in to our dorm room); I didn’t get much sleep and ended up not getting out of bed until 09:20 (despite my best intentions of setting my alarm for an earlier wake up). When I did get up, I finished packing my bags, dressed, put my sandals on, and dropped my book bag (with unneeded electronics and my laptop) and extra clothes off at the hostel reception. I then suited up with my backpack and camera and dropped my key off at the reception; after I had told then my original intention (to hike the Jesus trail in 1 AD clothes and little else – something that did not come to fruition on account of the cold, wet weather and lack of stores selling such clothing), they told me that a while back some Americans did the exact same thing (crazy Americans) and the villagers loved them for it; although they did it in the summer and the weather was much more amiable for them. Then, after saying my “goodbyes,” I started on the Jesus trail. I first walked through the Old City of Nazareth, climbing up many steps to the top of the adjoining hill, to a street, which I then followed did sometime. I then walked along the trashy outskirts of Nazareth before crossing a major highway and a stream; it then started to rain and I had to pull my umbrella out to try and keep dry, next, I walked through some farmland and the trail (a dirt road) was mostly mud and pools if water; the Israeli mud was thick and sticky, and soon my sandals were covered in mud and twice as big (I also gained two inches in height thanks to the mud); I didn’t mind the extra weight, but soon, and over and over again, the back-strap on my sandals kept on becoming undone; it became incredibly slow going as I had to reattach my back-strap and knock as much mud off as possible after every few steps – it was unbearable as my feet sank into the stagnant muddy water and my sandals kept coming undone. Finally, I passed through the muddy farmlands and hiked up to Zippori National Park (the rain stopped and was mostly pleasant weather from here on out); even with the late start and shitty trail, I decided to go inside. Zippori National Park is home to ancient Roman and Byzantine ruins; I walked around the site and saw the old street network, the Orpheus House (so named due to mosaics of Orpheus leftover), the Nile House (so named due to the largest mosaic (depicting the Egyptian celebrations when the Nile overflowed) leftover in the house), the ruins and mosaics of a public building, a Roman theater (though modernized for present-day performances), some dwellings, a fortress originally built by Crusaders though rebuilt a number of times by the Ottomans, the Dionysus House (so named on account of its large mosaic), and ruins of a Roman building. I then walked to the old Roman water reservoir (a large tunnel built in to the rock); I followed the steps and wooden platform inside, but was dismayed when I realized the wooden platform was just floating in the pooled water inside the reservoir; each platform I stepped in sunk into the water (thoroughly covered in bird droppings), thus soaking my feet in the wretched water; I then came to a slim tunnel in the center and could not fit through with my backpack (which I had been wearing the entire time); defeated, I turned around and sloshed through the bird shit water, back the way I came. I then exited the park and continued on the Jesus Trail. I passed by a herd of cattle with dome herdsmen, horses, and dogs, and continued through some scenic woods along a rocky path (thanks to the rocks, it was not very muddy). I then walked to and through the town of Mash’had (which is associated with the city of the Prophet Jonah’s birth). Next, I followed an eroded dirt path covered in trash, through many olive groves, to the nearby city of Cana (the city where Jesus Christ performed his first miracle of turning water on to wine at a wedding celebration). I then walked through Cana, to the Wedding Church, a beautiful church where married couples can renew their wedding vows and where a nice nun looked after my backpack while I walked around; I went inside the church, looked around, prayed, and then went downstairs to the ruins below that held a large container, most likely used to keep wine. After touring the church and its premises, I grabbed my backpack and continued on the trail through Cana (it was now 16:00). I then came upon a guesthouse that I thought was the one recommended to me by the hostel I stayed at in Nazareth (the names are almost identical) – the son of the couple who runs the guesthouse lied to me when I asked him if it was the one I was looking for. I then entered the guesthouse, had some nice tea and bits of cake, talked to a Canadian woman there, and was then showed the dorm room; once I confirmed that this was the wrong place, I left a ten shekel tip for the tea and cake, and then continued in the trail to find the guesthouse I was determined to stay at. I walked all the way to the edge of town and didn’t see it; so I walked back to where I first saw a sign for it and then followed what few signs and markings they did have, along the main road through town, to try and find it; eventually, I ended up back nearly where I was before (at the edge of town) without finding it; I then decided to just head back to the guesthouse I was at before; on the way, a group of kids began to follow me, asking for money (third world kids with terrible parents are the same everywhere); I shook them off and then continued on through the Islamic part of town and then back to the Christian center. I came back to the guesthouse I was at before, was given a bed in the dorm room, and I then went out to do done shopping. I first bought some Israeli red wine, beer, and pistachios; then u bought some hummus, bread, and chocolate, finally, I bought a small salami and olive pizza. I then brought all these goodies back to the guesthouse, ate my pizza, had most of my hummus and bread, finished the pistachios, downed the wine (it was made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Argaman; it was a light fruity wine and tasted if plum and grapefruit), and ate my chocolate. I then had the German wheat beer and typed today’s journal entry (on my iPhone, which sucks ass). I then went to sleep.