Joe Hughes (jhughes) wrote,
Joe Hughes


I've finally decided to use my vacation from the kibbutz. I set out yesterday for Caesarea, the once-Roman capital of Judea. It is an amazingly beautiful place, with ruins everywhere. Looking at Herod's hippodrome, you can just picture the Roman bastards that used to sit in its seats cheering the horse and chariot races. The ruins of a synogogue in the Jewish quarter, desecrated by the Romans and a signifcant factor in what led to the first Jewish revolt, remains. remnants of a mosaic from its floor is still visible, and it adjoins a beautiful curving beach.

From Caesarea I travelled to the old city of Akko, where I spent the night at a family-run hostel. Akko was once an important Arab port, and was also significant during the crusader period. The city is renowned for having been the only place Napolean could not conquer besides Russia. The old city of Akko is amazingly beautiful. I ate some fish at a restaurant at the harbor where a restaurant-worker who sat behind me fished from his seat. In the background, people dive off a small cliff located right next to the restaurant. Although Akko is a beautiful place, it is really annoying being woken up at 4:15 in the morning by prayers announced from the local mosque.

After Akko, I really wanted to go to Peki'in, a small Jewish-Druze-Muslim village in the Galilee. Peki'in is famous for having an unbroken and unexiled Jewish community since the second temple period. (With a brief fleeing in 1936 due to the political situation at the time.) However, in order to get to Peki'in you need to take a bus from akko the nahariya and from nahariya take major detours, with buses not running often. So I tried striking a deal with a taxi driver, as Pek'in was not so far awa from Akko. The fucking driver was a con-man, from the start trying to rip me off totally because I'm American. When I argued, he said he'd prove to me that he was being fair. With that, he pulled along side a bus stop and asked someone how much a taxi should cost to get to Peki'in. The man said a price much lower then what the taxi driver said was "fair." The cab driver then proceed to argue with THIS guy, in Hebrew, and not knowing I could understand everything they were saying. I got really pissed off when the cab driver said; "But my passenger is an english-speaker! It costs more!" At any rate, I bargained it down from 320 shekels to 270, which ain't to shabby. After stopping at Peki'in, (which is a beautiful town not unlike Safed and with an amazingly admirable harmony of peoples,) I arrived in Tiberius.

After arriving in Tiberius, a beautiful city located on the sea of Galile,and one of the four holiest cities to Jews in the world, I took a bus to the ancient town of Cafer Nahum. I chatted with the bus driver, who asked me if I'm Jewish. I said yes, and asked him the same question. He said, "No, 'baruch Hashem! I am Muslim, although not religious." ("Baruch Hashem" means "blessed be the name," or "praised" be the name.) Why "baruch Hashem?," I asked. He said that after his travels to Europe he saw how many people hated Jews, and he did not know why. He said that being an Israeli, people who in the beginning assumed he was Jewish gave him much better treatment after discovering he was not.

Cafer Nahum, although also of interest to Jews, it is best known as a town in which Jesus resided with his first two apostles. Nearby Cafer Nahum I stumbled across the outskirts of a church in the location in which Jesus' apostles fished. I looked at the beautiful scene until a monk walking out of the church scared the hell out of me. He wasn't much for conversation, but he gave me permission to look in the church, where it showed pictures of the Pope kissing the stones on which Jesus walked. Then I decided, what the hell, I might as well check out the mount of beauttudes. After taking a long detour, I headed back to Tiberius. Tommorow I plan on heading to Nazareth. (Man, I'm beginning to feel like a Christian pilgrim.)
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