Day under the sign of “what we believe / believed as children,” and how does it relate to what we had to deal. I guess most of us still in kindergarten knew the story of Jesus, who multiplied the bread and fish to feed all those who gathered to hear his parable, who walked on water surprising everyone around, that sitting far away on the top of mountain over hill, over dale telling who is or will be blessed and why.
During our fourth day in Israel we had opportunity to be in all those places – those “over hill, over dale” materialized in the form of Capernaum, Mount of Beatitudes and Sea of Galilee, places where – according to the New Testament – Jesus lived and preach. I remember as a child I had imagined the place as magical land where unusual things happen. Something that really exist, surpassing time, space and the normal course of events and something that belongs to the world of dreams, the stories handed down from generation to generation. Something that did not have the right to happen, and yet happened.
Today, when we visited those places together with Mania, with this extraordinary world of children’s faith disappeared and left me with nothing. We saw a great prosperous places pilgrims form all around the world, managed by successive generations associated with the Church. Shops where you can buy various souvenirs and devotional items: Coca-Cola and potato chips next to magnets for refrigerator with Christ effigy. And in this point we could stop.
However, when we looked a little deeper, ignoring this whole pop-pilgrimage background, we saw that in each of these place is something that really attracts: peace and grandeur of the Lake, on which shore Mario taught Marianna how to skim stones, ruins of the synagogue where Jesus preached in which Mania by herself overcame next steps, or the light emanating from the church on the Mount of the Beatitudes, around which together diddling and looking for the orange trees. Surely the point at which we were, discovering for ourselves the places helped us – January is not in the so-called Holy Land the high season. It was not so crowded (in fact there was almost no one) could alone find our rhythm. And I think that is the point of traveling to all those famous form various important books and those less important place – on finding own way to experience them somewhere between the pages of the guide and “must see” places.
In addition to the places associated with stories of the Bible, that day we were still in two interesting points. The first is the nature park on the slopes of the Golan Heights, Banas Nature Reserve, where you can go pretty easy paths along the stream to a small waterfall (all takes about 45 minutes). It seems that is a must for all Israeli families and school trips ;-).
Second place, much more interesting because of its unusual location, the Mount Bental. On top on it, located near the border with Lebanon and Syria, there is a UN base. View point and eatery, where we ate lunch (Coffee Anan in honour of Kofi Annan) are located in the same spot from which soldiers patrol the area. We must admit that we felt there a little bit unsecured. On the one hand the beautiful views to Mount Hermon, on the other hand, a slight sense of danger (memorable Yom Kippur war).
In addition, during dinner we met two Chinese – slightly mad university reporters from Hong Kong, who travel around Israel, seeking confirmation of how safe the country is. These “journalists” asked us for favor, we had to stand almost on an edge overlooking to the Syrian landscape and greet (in Chinese) citizens of their country … :). All this was quite funny, we felt a bit like in Monty Python circus. Only thing missing was emerging from the trenches the Spanish Inquisition and the dead parrot, who languish the fjords :-).